What’s bugging you?
Bugs! Love em’ or hate em’, they are nature’s
buffet for fish and wildlife and this summer, the supply chain is full. But, buyer beware, things are not as they seem.
Insects are the base of the food web and are a great indicator of environmental health. Our turf battle with even the smallest of critter is proof that our ability to control nature can often be futile. For
example, mosquitos or no-see-ums. They have ruined several evening campfires this year and if you’re like me, you can’t find a swatter big enough or justify why on earth these little buggers even exist. Some insects are like invasive species: with the right conditions, and few natural predators, their population can explode. And despite our efforts to control them, they just keep coming.
Did you know there are nearly 1 million documented inspect species in the world? Scientists are discovering new species every year. However, insect populations around the globe have declined by 80% in the last 30 years. Directly related is the massive decline in bird populations. Why? Habitat loss and misuse of agricultural insecticides and pesticides. But don’t go pointing fingers, there is plenty we can all
do to help.
Here are a few ideas to practice backyard conservation for bugs and birds.
1) Plant a diverse native pollinator garden. Heck, ditch the grass yard and go big! Pollinator gardens and prairie plantings support tremendous amounts of insects and birds; even the ones that eat mosquitoes. They’re also easier and
less expensive to maintain.
Prairie City USA® is Wildlife Forever’s habitat division working with communities to convert green space into pollinator and prairie habitat.
2) Reduce the use of products like Roundup, lawn foggers, and insecticides. These chemicals are showing up in drinking water and seriously affect fish and wildlife, even whitetail deer.
3) Keep cats inside. House cats kill millions of birds each year. Birdhouses, especially in urban areas, are a great way to create critical nesting habitat.
As summer advances, I am humbled as we celebrate our 35th year of conservation. Because of you we continue to develop
programs to help all fish and wildlife. Our staff is small but mighty, and through innovation and hard work, we remain dedicated to conserving traditions like fishing, hunting, and birding. Sometimes the small things in nature connect us the most, like simply enjoying the glow of fireflies as they fill a summer sky, knowing deep down, our work together is for future generations.
Enjoy the summer and thank you for your support.