Collier and Lee Counties Edition

Flower Power

Farms Test Low-Tech Pesticide Alternative

Potapov Alexander/Shutterstock.com

To make sure more beneficial bugs come to their crops to feed on pests, farmers are planting flowers in the middle of their fields. On a farm near the town of Buckingham, England, a crop of oilseed rape is planted amidst rows of wildflowers. It’s one of 14 sites in a study testing the wildflowers’ efficacy in attracting pest-eating bugs, and how well they would perform in replacing toxic pesticides.

The study also includes the use of borders of wildflowers around each field, a technique farmers in the area have used for the past two decades to promote general biodiversity, though not specifically for pest control.

Researchers Ben Woodcock and Richard Pywell, of the UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology, write, “The crop protection ‘toolbox’ is becoming smaller and more vulnerable, so now is a good time to rethink our future crop protection strategies to consider the use of alternative pest control measures alongside conventional pesticides.”

Pesticide use probably won’t be eliminated completely, they say. However, by attracting pest-eating bugs—along with other techniques like breeding plants to better resist pests, using technology to better diagnose and forecast pest behavior and application systems that can apply tiny amounts of pesticide more precisely—pesticide use could be dramatically reduced. Harsh chemicals can then serve as a last line of defense, rather than the first thing farmers reach for.


This article appears in the September 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Building a Bridge of Awareness Over Southwest Florida’s Troubled Waters

The numbers of individuals and grassroots organizations championing clean water as a human right continue to expand, so too do the visible actions taken by local residents who are passionate about not only cleaning up Southwest Florida waterways and estuaries, but also about drawing down the level of CO2 in our planet’s delicate biosphere.

Organic Skincare & Bodyworx Takes a Gentle Approach to Healing

The mission of Organic Skincare & Bodyworx is to create a safe space for clients and staff to breathe, relax and rejuvenate not only healthy skin, but also the body, mind and spirit.

A Love Affair with Food

On Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, For Goodness Sake customers chat with Lisa Ji, while she whips up their tasty sandwiches, wraps, soups or chili choices on the café menu of the popular health food store in Bonita Springs.

Meditation CD Showcases Southwest Florida Healers and Spiritual Teachers

Gulf Coast Meditations will premier in outlets such as Amazon, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube and Apple Music. CDs will also be available at locally frequented spiritual outlets, yoga studios, wellness centers, spas and more.

Calusa Waterkeeper Hosts Movie Premiere and Panel Discussion

The nonprofit Calusa Waterkeeper will continue its series of forums about the negative public health effects of harmful algal blooms with Public Health Alert – Florida Water Summit 2 from 5:30 to 9 p.m., August 5, at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, in Fort Myers.

Add your comment: