Thursday, February 25, 2016

What is an Insectary? By Joyce D’Agostino

Photo by Joyce D'Agostino
We are all aware now that some benefical insects like the honeybee are endangered and need to be protected and nurtured. Some areas are dedicating space to growing plants that attract beneficial insects but for the home gardener, we may not have large spaces of land just to dedicate to this effort. Some may also feel they want less bugs, not more in their garden but the key is finding the right plant for the right place in your garden to bring in the ones that are helpful rather than harmful.

 The good news is that you can do a smaller scale insectary in your own garden and landscape by following a few guidelines. You will first need to select seeds and plants that will bring these insects into your garden. One step would be to research native plants for your area. This helps you attract the insects that are also native to your area. These garden notes publications will help you choose some of these plants: 

Photo by Joyce D'Agostino
To create your own insectary, look for seed packets that say that the plant is attractive to bees and butterflies for example. Finding just a corner of your garden for these plants is very helpful or even mixing flowers into your vegetable garden. As you bring more pollinators to the flowers they will also help pollinate the vegetables as well. You may have also seen the term “butterfly gardens” and this uses the same concept to choosing the right plants that bring them into your garden: 

Keep in mind as you choose your plants, be sure to include those that flower in the early, mid and late times of the season to keep a steady supply of pollen and nectary. Having your own insectary is easy and very important. Just a few plants in your yard and your neighbors can transform your area into a beneficial insect sanctuary.