Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Saturday 20 August |
Saint of the Day: St. Bernard of Clairvaux
Aleteia logo
Lifestyle
separateurCreated with Sketch.

Centuries-old practice is proving effective as a pesticide

ECONOMICAL FARMING

Albinivik | Shutterstock

Cerith Gardiner - published on 07/13/19

Farmers are turning to nature to maintain a healthier ecosystem.

One of the big issues farmers have to contend with is keeping their crops pest-free. It’s so easy for an infestation of insects to wipe out a harvest, which then has a huge impact on the farmer’s food production and income. Although the agricultural industry has turned to pesticides, some farmers are looking for ways to control their crops in a way that is healthy for the environment and the consumer. In fact, organic farmers are now turning to practices carried out by previous generations by actually using flowers as a means of pest control.

The idea, according to a report in Fast Company, is to line the field of crops with strips of flowers that act as a “bug highway.” Insects like parasitic wasps, which are useful as they eat crop-destroying aphids while they are still larval, can find a home among the flowers and can act as a natural pest control.

In the past it was common practice for farmers to surround their crops with flowers to boost biodiversity. However, innovative farmers are adding these strips of flowers in among the actual crops, allowing the useful insects to be more effective and cover a wider area.

View this post on Instagram

Thinking Spring! We have a couple 10 and 15 week CSA spots! Sign Up today! #choicecsa #selectabledelectables #oakhartfarm #organicallygorgeous #grownwithlove #nourishingourcommunity #grownwithlove #covercrops #localfarmers #organiccsa

A post shared by Oak Hart Farm (@oak_hart_farm) on

Experts at the Center for Ecology and Hydrology in the UK Ben Woodcock and Richard Pywell are studying the most beneficial planting techniques to make sure the right balance is created, and introducing the right sort of bugs in the right area.

Thankfully, modern technology is assisting the researchers in their work, and through GPS mapping and precision application technologies it is possible to maximize the effects of flowers as a natural pesticide, according to Green Matters. Woodcock and Pywell recognize that although there will probably still be a need for pesticides, through this more natural approach “pest populations are maintained below levels at which they cause damage to crops for longer periods, thus reducing the number of pesticide sprays applied.”

The use of flowers also has an impact further along the ecosystem. With the disturbing rise in beehive death — a phenomenon that is put down in part to the overuse of pesticides, and that saw America’s beehives nearly halved in recent years — providing bees with more flowers to pollinate, and using fewer pesticides, might have a positive impact on the bee population.

So as ecological farmers all over the world experiment with different mixes of flowers and bugs, let’s hope they can use the natural remedies God initially provided us with to help both the agricultural industry and the damaged ecosystem.


MORGAN FREEMAN

Read more:
Morgan Freeman turns his 124-acre ranch into a bee sanctuary




Read more:
The Pope’s Prayer for Small Farmers

Tags:
Environment
Support Aleteia!

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Thanks to their partnership in our mission, we reach more than 20 million unique users per month!

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Aleteia with a gift today!

jour1_V2.gif
Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Entrust your prayer intentions to our network of monasteries


Top 10
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.