Through the Pollinator Awareness through Conservation and Education (PACE) initiative, Butterfly Pavilion seeks to increase awareness of the importance of pollinators and promote habitat and species conservation. This includes educating community members on how to protect pollinators in their own backyards.
There are many ways that you can protect pollinators. Limit or don’t use pesticides, plant flowers that provide nectar and pollen and extend the blooming season by deadheading old flowers to produce new flowers. You can provide trees, shrubs and ground-covers for shelter and learn more about bees and other pollinators, and more!
Integrated Pest Management Techniques
Who doesn’t enjoy beautiful landscaping around their home, business or community gathering spots? It’s easy to enjoy the benefits of landscaping – sights, smells and wildlife being just a few. But did you know that our backyards have more stakeholders than just the human occupants? Invertebrates share these homes with us, and a well-managed yard keeping them in mind can make for a thriving ecosystem.
Each gardener must take into account all the factors that are affected by the pest control method in question: cost, effectiveness, appearance, and risk to the environment. This is part of the Integrated Pollinator and Pest Management, or IPPM, approach.
Integrated Pest and Pollinator Management, or IPPM, does not necessarily mean pesticide-free gardening. IPM is a thoughtful evaluation of the damage caused by a particular pest, based on a cost/benefit analysis, while making management decisions that support a diverse and abundant pollinator fauna in the environment.
Physical Controls – Barriers and traps work against a wide range of vertebrate and invertebrate pests. One example might be the use of floating row covers to keep grasshoppers out of the lettuce crop. Or, sticky traps can keep meal moths from becoming a nuisance in the kitchen. Many weeds can be hand-pulled or grazed effectively.
Cultural Controls – Healthy plants, with proper amounts of light, water, space and nutrients, are able to fight pests off with their own defenses. One can also avoid pests by growing a crop slightly earlier or later than a pest’s appearance, or by choosing a different site. A gardener’s pest problems can also disappear with wise plant choices. “Problem plants” are not worth cultivating if they attract too many pests that threaten the rest of the collection.
Biological Controls – Pests and weeds have their own enemies, and a gardener can make use of these predators and parasites to keep the garden community healthy. Ladybird beetles are the most famous examples, of course, but parasitic wasps and predaceous mites are available for gardeners to buy and apply in their own gardens. Gardeners can also encourage pests’ natural enemies by planting favored nectar sources, such as yarrow and dill. Increasing biodiversity in the garden will usually attract beneficial predators; some of these predators, such as parasitoid wasps, may pollinate at the same time.
Chemical Controls – Integrated Pest and Pollinator Management does not necessarily forbid chemical use in the environment; it only encourages a thoughtful evaluation whether a chemical pesticide or herbicide is the best technique. Could a systemic pesticide enter the nectar of a plant and poison pollinators? Is there the chance of drift to a neighbor’s property or open space? If a chemical pesticide is used as a last resort, IPPM mandates that it be used according to product safety regulations, with minimal harm to the environment.
Recent work has demonstrated that even at recommended application levels, common chemicals such as Sevin or Roundup often reach waterways and have a significant negative effect on aquatic invertebrates such as damselflies. There is also evidence that neonicotinoids may build up in the soil and kill off soil invertebrates, such as earthworms.
For this reason, Butterfly Pavilion horticulturists do not apply chemical herbicides in the gardens or in situations in which drift or run-off might enter bodies of water such as Big Dry Creek. When herbicides are used, they are in lawns that are too large or too close to traffic to manage manually, and the applicator is responsible for following best practices. Because there is a great deal of uncertainty about possible risks to pollinators, chemical insecticides are not used in any situation in Wings of the Tropics, outdoor gardens or nature trail.
Integrated Pest and Pollinator Management encourages gardeners to weigh all their options and to look closely at their situation before deciding upon any pest control technique. This same approach may be applied to weed management as well. Healthier environments and healthier people result from this balance. Our plant collections at Butterfly Pavilion provide a potential model and teaching tool for more harmonious landscaping for local gardeners.