How you can help beneficial insects survive winter

How you can help beneficial insects survive winter
Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Laura McKenzie

While a decrease in insects as the weather cools is a plus to many people, greenhouse growers should keep in mind that beneficial insects could use a little help.

“Although many insects die off in the colder months, some hibernate while others are still active as needed,” says Sonja Swiger, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Entomologist and Professor in the Department of Entomology in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in Stephenville.

Some insects have it harder than others depending on where they are. Some also migrate south to locations where the climate is typically milder. Whether you do a little or a lot, protecting beneficial insects benefits everyone, Swiger says.

Swiger shares five things that growers, both professional and hobby, can do right now to help beneficial insects stay safe and survive the winter months.

Keep Some Weeds

While preparing for late autumn and winter, you may be tempted to eliminate weeds and prune back as many plants as you can. Don’t give in to temptation.

“Weeds, perennials, and grasses all provide shelter for beneficial bugs in the winter,” Swiger says.

If you’ve already started to prune, pile up cuttings in a corner of the yard or garden and allow it to compost over the winter while providing insects a home.

Some beneficial insects including bees and wasps need the hollow stalks and stems of plants to lay their eggs.

Continue reading.



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