Pests come in all shapes and sizes – flies, bees, bats. But there’s only so much one can do in order to control the population and you may want to think twice before doing so. While you’re looking up reviews and the phone number of the best pest control business in the area, it’s important to consider if those “pests” might just be helping you and your environment.
We live in an ecosystem that relies on balance in order to keep all biotic and abiotic elements in harmony. This past week our company, NPK Associates, Inc., partnered with a local pest control company, Rose Pest Solutions, to promote pollinator awareness. Pollinator Health Awareness Month, celebrated during the month of August, is very important to both of our businesses. The National Community Day of Service is August 22nd, but pollinator health is important year round! One may find it funny that a pest control business and an interior plantscape company would want to promote longevity for bugs and critters, but there’s much more about these pests than meets the eye.
According to the Pollinator Partnership, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and promotion of pollinators, many of these pollinators bring us one in every three bites of food as well as help us to maintain the environment. In recent years, the population of pollinators has been on a steady decline which will bring about substantial negative impacts to sustainable food. Pollinator Awareness Month promotes discussion about using pesticides only as intended, rather than totally eliminating all so called pests.
Here at NPK Associates, Inc., we do not use pesticides to handle horticultural pest issues. Live plants may sometimes host insects but there are ways to control their population without hurting the environment. We use a gentle soap, leaf shine and water mixture to rid our interior plants from spider mites, mealybugs and other interior pests. By using this method we are able to control the infestation before it gets out of hand without harming the overall health of the environment.
At Rose Pest Solutions, the exit from the term “exterminators” is in full effect. Not in the business of killing, the company prides themselves on being guardians of the environment, taking special care to determine the root of the issue before applying pesticides. It’s a science to maintain public health while balancing the benefits for all other living creatures. Janelle Iaccino, Rose Pest’s Marketing Director, has a passion for protecting and maintaining what these pollinators do.
“While we work every day to keep insect and rodent invasions from entering homes and businesses, it’s still important to make sure that these creatures are able to play their instinctual roles in our ecosystem,” said Janelle.
Rose Pest Solutions is helping to raise awareness about the effects of parasites, predators and improper usage of chemicals that are affecting pollinators. They also want people to know that they understand the definition of “pest” is an individual preference.
“Generally speaking, an insect, rodent or animal becomes a “pest” when it finds its way into structures or habitats that are unnatural,” said Janelle. “For example, ants belong outdoors. When they find their way inside homes though, and begin to interfere with our living conditions, we take measures to get them back outside where they belong.”
The difference between Rose Pest’s tactics in pest control and other companies is that they take the time to discover the root of the problem and how effectively they can control the situation without a prolonged use of chemicals. Rose utilizes Integrated Pest Management methods to ensure that they try all options before using pesticides. For example, like we do at NPK, simply adding a layer of sand to a potted plant can prevent fungus gnats rather than using harmful chemicals.
An important aspect of these full time pollinators and part time pests is that some of them are natural pest controllers. In our installation at Rose, we included a mason bee house, a hummingbird feeder and a bat house. Hornets and wasps are predators along with bats, helping to naturally control the pest environment. Although these may not be wanted, they have a huge impact on the environment. All of these animals play a pivotal role in our food chain – enjoy them!
Leah Rogers, sales representative at NPK Associates, Inc., knows how important each pollinator is to our environment. She encourages allowing pollinators to cross-pollinate to create a stronger plant and ecosystem. Strengthening our native environment is vital, and NPK Associates, Inc. together with Rose Pest Solutions wants you to join us in doing so! Our installation in Rose’s storefront windows is meant to show urban homeowners how easy it can be to attract the desirable pollinators with plants and feeders – check out the guide below to learn how you can create a pollinator garden right in your back yard.
Pollinators are attracted to plants that have nectar, fragrance and color. Try these plants in your garden at home!
Bees love plants that are yellow, blue and purple.
If you have a dead branch hanging around your yard, add it to your garden! Native bees can nest in
these limbs and stick around to help make your garden healthy and beautiful.
Try these plants:
Butterflies love red, orange, yellow, pink, and blue plants. While they love plants, they are attracted to salty and decaying elements as well. Putting a sponge soaked in sea salt in your garden or bits of overripe fruit will help to attract butterflies to your home garden.
Try these plants:
Hummingbirds have long beaks that allow them to suck the nectar from cone-shaped flowers. They are attracted to red, orange, purple, and red flowers that have lots of nectar. Be careful not to plant hybrids as they do not have fragrance or nectar to bring hummingbirds to your garden!
Try these plants:
Bats are blind but are attracted to large, light colored plants. It is also beneficial for bats for these plants to be night blooming, as this is when they are out flying about. They are great for pest control, so having these around your house will help keep the mosquito population down!
Try these plants: