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Farmers Are Fighting Pests By Planting Flowers Instead of Using Chemicals

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  • The continued use of pesticides has brought detrimental effects to the environment as a whole.
  • Farmers are now going for an eco-friendly, safer approach – biological pest control method.
  • This method involves planting flower strips to naturally deter pests with the help of pest-eating insects.

Conventional farming practices use pesticides as a way to control pests and other insects that might interfere with the growth and yield of agricultural crops. However, it can’t be denied that there are several problems brought about the continued use of chemical insect-killers.

These chemical agents are harming bee populations and the health of farmworkers. Pests have also become resistant with continued exposure to pesticides. Also, don’t forget that these crops will then be used for human consumption. But farmers and agricultural experts have recently used a natural method to beat pests without harming the environment as a whole.

Farmers are growing flower strips to encourage pest-predators to thrive.

Planting flowers around crops is a biological pest control method. Farmers are going back to this older practice by growing flowers in and around farm property. These flower beds will serve as homes for beneficial insects like parasitic wasps, which eat aphids and aphid larvae.

Agricultural experts are now experimenting with a new tactic – by planting flower strips. These flower strips (or “bug highway”) are planted in between crops. This method has also been used in a study, which found that mixing varieties of wildflowers and herbs, like cilantro and dill, can help reduce leaf damage in crops.

While this method increases biodiversity and promotes a safer, natural pest-control, it doesn’t mean the end of pesticide use, according to Center for Ecology and Hydrology’s researchers, Ben Woodcock and Richard Pywell. Woodock and Pywell explained that the flower strips method can only control the pest population so that they remain at levels that are not detrimental to crop growth.

This means pesticide use can be drastically reduced.

The researchers want to continue the study using this method on other farms to see its economic value and also see if it will work with modern farming technology. They said:

“Ultimately, if it only functions in one farm, this is of little value. We want to know if this type of ‘ecological farming’ is generally beneficial and practical on most farms.”

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