The current decline of insects

It was alarming to read recently of the decline in populations of flying insects in Europe. Studies in Germany alone have seen a reduction of 76% since 1989 in nature reserves. The reasons for the die off are thought to be manifold. Although the exact cause of the die off is not known, amongst the theories are an increase in the use of nitrogen fertiliser as well as the overuse of pesticides. Here we discuss Insects that benefit for Garden.

Bumblebees are beneficial insects - Reds Landscaping & Design
A Bumblebee pollinates a flower.

Insect Habitat

Loss of habitat is probably also a factor. Not only is this a reduction in pollinating insects, but also the loss of a valuable food source for many animals, especially birds. In the US, it is estimated that wild insects contribute $57 billion to the economy due to their role in the ecosystem and as pollinators. It is important to consider the role of insects in your garden both as pollinators and in attracting birdlife, keeping in mind the fact that many of the insects in your garden have a direct benefit to your plants.

Pollinating Insects

In urban environments as well as rural and semi-rural areas, domestic gardens have been identified as important habitats for animals, especially insect diversity. Domestic gardens occupy a large proportion of land use in urban areas and contribute greatly to urban green space. Gardens and other urban green spaces, as well as providing valuable ecosystems, also help with habitat, cooling, flood mitigation, and support human health and well-being.


A well known beneficial insects. a bees pollinates a flower - Reds Landscaping & Design
A well known beneficial insect a bee pollinates a flower.

habitat for insects - Reds Landscaping & Design
Not all pollinators are bees. Some plants are pollinated by beetles or birds.


Pollinators are not just bees.

There is no doubt that the primary driver for plant selection in urban gardens is the attractiveness and aesthetic appeal of plants and flowers. Flowering plants provide valuable food resources, including both nectar and pollen, for invertebrate insects, as well as birds and mammals. Some of these animals might, but not necessarily, pollinate the plant. Most of the flying insects that visit flowers are potential pollinators.


Supporting Pollinating Insects

Scientific studies in the UK have shown that gardeners can support pollinating insects in gardens by planting a mix of flowering plants from different regions. This might not be the case in Australia, with its unique ecosystems. In some cases, using a mix of plants may give your garden a steady supply of flowering plants all year round.

butterfly - Reds Landscaping & Design
Butterfly gardening is an easy way to attract butterflies to your garden.

Supporting Bees

Studies also found that in the United Kingdom, with its short summers, the more flowers a garden can offer throughout the year, the greater the number of bees and other pollinating insects it will attract and support. This is regardless of whether the plant is native or non-native. In South East Queensland, it is probably better to select a higher quantity of indigenous plants and a lower number of exotic plants for colour contrast.


Densely Packed flower gardens

A densely planted flowering garden with a variety of local and exotic flowering plants will provide both food and habitat for insects and small animals.

Densely packed flower garden - Reds Landscaping & Design
A densely packed flower garden provides food and habitat for insects.


Non pollinating Insects

Are non-pollinating insects also important in the garden? The invertebrates in your garden are either predators, omnivores, herbivores, or detritivores. The detritivores play an important role in your garden as they are animals that feed on dead organic material, helping to break it down to feed the plants. The predators, like the lady bird but also including other beetles, wasps, and spiders, help to control some of the garden pests.


ladybird eating aphids - Reds Landscaping & Design
A ladybird eating aphids

Coccinellidae, or ladybug family, ladybirds or lady beetles. This carnivorous insect loves to feast on your garden pests such as aphids and scale insects. It even lays its eggs in the pest insect colonies. Where possible, aphids should be controlled by using the garden hose rather than insecticide. Any insecticide spray used on aphids will probably harm your ladybirds as well.

Other insects in your garden will attract birdlife, so consider planting at least part of your garden with insects and animals in mind.

A blue fairy wren - Reds Landscaping & Design
Birds like blue fairy wrens are attracted to gardens with insect life.

Related Landscaping ideas from Melbourne Landscaper Red’s Landscaping and Civil Pty Ltd

Wildlife In The Garden. Choosing Plants To Help Create Food And Habitat

3 Living Christmas Trees

Eco Pools: Nature pools for the eco conscious

13 Best Reasons To Preserve Balwyn Urban Wetlands

Neonicotinoid Pesticides Banned by Bunnings and the EU

7 best Eucalyptus trees for your Melbourne garden

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References and further reading.

A list of Beneficial Insects

Beneficial Insects

How to encourage the good bugs in your garden

Enticing Insects into your Garden

Garlic and Mint Insect Spray