Attracting Beneficial Insects
As habitats of native bees, beetles, and butterflies are sometimes scarce, or in the way of cultivation, it is important to preserve refuges where these creatures can hide, and continue to symbiotically interact with your local ecosystem.
A number of solitary bees, and beetles like ladybugs–which pollinate fruit crops, and control aphids, respectively–live, have their young, and/or hibernate in hollow biological structures.
Dried “tubes” can be found all over the place in the spring, and are unfortunately often cleared from cultivated spaces: grasses, rushes, sedges, ferns, and flower stalks often leave behind a reasonably sturdy, dried hollow structure; I’ve also used cardboard tubing.
These materials can be packed into a frame of sorts (I used a length of PVC pipe), along with things like bark, clay tiles, and conifer cones for spiders, in order to provide an array of habitats.
The insects and arachinids will move in and do the rest.
Beside the home-made “bee hotel” above, I’ve also hung up an old butterfly house. These kinds of structures provide shelter for migrating and local butterflies, and mimic the crevices in trees and rocks in which these insects would normally find shelter.
Between the bees, beetles, birds, moths, and butterflies, and the worms in my compost system, there is a house or habitat for almost every local beneficial creature: except for bats. As soon as one of my trees reaches a sufficient height, I will be putting in a bat house as well.
The benefits of having a biodiverse forest garden system are manifold: these organisms pollinate, decompose, control pest populations, and deposit both seeds and fertiliser. It is in my best interest to have them around, filling out their ecological niches.
Related: Insect Hotels