Bug Wars – How Windmill Heights Is Going Insecticide Free

Looking to start a pollinator garden?  Shop the Heights!

Photo Credit: Kim Jefferson

You can shop with confidence knowing that once plants arrive at Windmill Heights, they have not been sprayed with insecticides.  Starting in 2016, we’ve been using beneficial insects to battle the pest species…and we’re happy to report: it’s working!

The success of the program (known as integrated pest management) has kept us insecticide free this spring!  This not only limits human exposure to insecticides, but we see populations of native beneficial insects like praying mantises making a comeback.  Another side benefit: we get to host a honey bee hive in partnership with Felicia Chavez from “La BeeDa Loca”!

How does it work?

Every week shipments of our tiniest employees arrive in the mail and are released at the time best suited to their life cycles / habits.  Some insects even like being released with Christmas lights aglow!  From mites that control thrips larvae to aphid-eating ladybugs, these little guys clean their plates / our plants.

An Entomologist based in Kentucky prescribes the insects we need, then a hatchery ships them to us directly.  Regulations allow the sale of native and exotic beneficial insects, but exotic species can only be sold where they won’t survive the winter.  This prevents a species from becoming invasive / too much of a good thing.

We’ve enjoyed learning about our insect ecosystem and thought you’d enjoy reading about what’s bugging us too!

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