Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Permaculture Projects: Structures for Overwintering Insects

I was going through some photos of a trip we took to Germany.  We brought the kids to a wildlife park.  In Germany, the wildlife parks are large, relaxing managed forests with extensive paddocks for animals.  They are a great place to leisurely enjoy nature while seeing a lot of animals.  The kids and adults love it.

One of the things we saw was this structure pictured at the top of this post.  It is a collection of insect homes.  The small burrows drilled in wood or crevices in brick, straw, pine cones, and sticks are a fantastic place for beneficial insects to overwinter.  

You can see in this close-up that some of the ends 
of the small bamboo sticks are covered with mud.
These sticks are currently inhabited!

We often keep our yards and gardens so tidy that our beneficial insects have no place to go for the winter. They end up either freezing to death or migrating out of our yard and into a place that is more suitable... never to return.  

By providing homes like these, we can increase our chances that the beneficial insects will stick around year after year.  This reduces our pest issues, and it reduces our need to import beneficial insects.