Isn't this homemade "bug box" cute? Wouldn't it make for an attractive vignette near a potting shed or work table in the garden? Yes, and yes, but first the serious business of biodiversity...
The International Year of Biodiversity is more than half over. I know! Gosh, I didn't even put up any lights. All joking aside, it's not to late to celebrate or support a cause that's near and dear to everyone of us, even if many people don't realize it.
Biodiversity is the rich web of life that makes our existence possible. Here's a quick summary of the "goods and services" rendered to us by ecosystems all over the planet.
- Food, fuel and fiber
- Shelter and building materials
- Purification of air and water
- Detoxification and decomposition of wastes
- Stabilization and moderation of climate
- Moderation of floods, drought and wind
- Generation and renewal of soil fertility
- Pollination of plants, many of them crops
- Control of pests and disease
- Maintenance of genetic resources for crop varieties and medicine
- Cultural and aesthetic quality
Yet we are losing that diversity at greater rates than ever, much of the cause, man-made. Overwhelming, I know. But there is potential in single individuals joining together for the great good. Close to home, creating habitat corridors is a simple way to help nature along.
Gardeners are more in tune with these issues already. One way is to encourage and support beneficial insects. These "good bugs" prey on "bad bugs" eliminating the need for pesticide and increasing crop yields. They in turn attract more birds and frogs and other animals that make up the vast food chain. Examples of good bugs are to name just a few; bees, ladybugs, parasitic wasps and lacewings.
Faced with more and more vast manicured landscapes and tidy yards, these insects find it hard to find suitable habitat to survive.
Constructing habitat where these insects can overwinter and reproduce is as simple as leaving brush or woodpiles around. However some of us, (and our neighbors) would like something a little more deliberate and well-designed. This "insect tower" features holes, hollow tubes and cavities where nesting can occur. With a little woodworking ability or a handy husband, using recycled lumber and scraps, this looks plenty doable. Art and habitat all in one.
Thanks to my favorite newspaper, The Times and The Sunday Times, of London for the photos!