How To Help Insects This Summer – And Start Averting Ecological Disaster

Insect numbers are plummeting, but you can do your bit at home.

According to a major UN report nature is in crisis because of our human impact on the planet – with 40% of amphibian species, 33% of marine mammals and reef-forming corals, and at least 10% of insect species threatened.

This is bad news for people as well as bees. We rely on insects for survival as an important part of the ecosystem and they are vital for pollinating crops.

Disaster could be averted – but only, researchers say, if we drastically change our habits. And there are some things we as individuals can do to give nature a helping hand – starting with helping insects at home here in the UK.

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How To Help Bees

The sound of bees buzzing around the garden is a familiar one throughout spring and summer but they are under threat due to pesticides and the destruction of natural habitats. They love nectar-rich flowers and weeds – and you can help whether you have a garden, balcony, or window sill.

The easiest thing to do is buy a pack of assorted wild flower seeds and scatter them in the soil. Bees like lavender, borage, dandelions, thistles, brambles and buttercups. Open flowers such as daffodils and tubular-shaped flowers including foxgloves and honeysuckle are also bee-favourites, according to Gardener’s World.

If you have a pond, or can give over some outdoor space to a bird bath or a DIY water tray, the insects also need access to water. Adding a few floating corks can help to make it ultra-insect friendly, as it gives them somewhere to land.

How To Help Butterflies And Moths

Beetles, butterflies and moths in the UK are all under threat, according to a separate recent study published in the Biological Conservation journal. But the UK’s 24 million gardens can act as important refuges for butterflies, moths and other pollinating insects, according to the charity Butterfly Conservation.

“If you have space, leaving a patch of your garden to grow wild [by letting things like grass, weeds and flowers grow freely] will provide butterflies and moths with places to shelter and lay eggs,” charity spokesperson Liam Creedon recently told HuffPost.

He recommends ditching insecticides and pesticides and planting lavender, oregano and mint plants, which are a good source of nectar for insects. Planting spring, summer and autumn flowers will also give butterflies and moths a year-round energy supply – choose a sunny spot though, as they like the warmth.

How To Help Beetles

A major problem facing stag beetles is a lack of rotting wood to lay their eggs near and for their young larvae to feed on, according to the People’s Trust For Endangered Species.

If you have access to outdoor space, you can help by setting up a pile of logs and keeping your garden as wild and untidy as you can, which will help create a diverse habitat for stag beetles and other species, too.