National Pollinator Week: How IPM helps pollinators

Jun 17, 2015

June 15-21 is National Pollinator Week, a time to highlight the crucial role that pollinators play in producing food for our nation. Something you may not know about pollinators is that many of them, including beetles, flies, and wasps, are also beneficial natural enemies of many garden and landscape pests!

A good example of a pollinator that is also a natural enemy is the syrphid fly, also known as the flower or hover fly. Syrphid fly larvae prey on aphids and other soft-bodied insects, potentially consuming hundreds of these pests in one month! As adults, syrphid flies move from flower to flower feeding on pollen and nectar, assisting the process of pollination.

Help protect pollinators and the other beneficial insects in your garden and landscape by using Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Here is a quick reminder of many IPM tactics that, when used in combinations, can help solve your pest problems.:

  • Use barriers and screens to block pests from reaching your plants.
  • Squash, trap, wash off, or prune out pests.
  • Discourage pests by modifying the way you design, water, and fertilize.
  • Rely on natural enemies in your landscape to kill pests.
  • Plant pest-resistant or well-adapted varieties such as native plants. Many flowering plants also attract beneficials to your yard!
  • If pesticides must be used, choose less-toxic materials that are soft on the beneficials and pollinators, yet effective against the target pest. Always read the pesticide label to learn about negative effects on bees and other environmental hazards.

Consult the UC IPM Home, Garden, Turf and Landscape page for information on correct pest identification, IPM methods, less toxic pesticides, and natural enemies. The Natural Enemies Gallery is a great resource for learning about beneficial predators, parasites, and pathogens. Click on the name of the natural enemy you want to learn about to see photos and a description.

Beneficial insects and pollinators are an important part of our ecosystem. Celebrate National Pollinator Week by learning about IPM and the non-chemical methods you can use to help allow both pollinators and natural enemies to thrive in your garden!