My neighbors, Vladimir and Olza of Stadnikov Farm, provide Headwaters with a strong honeybee presence, which adds a steady hum to our farm soundtrack on sunny days. But there are also lots of native insects out there who benefit gardens, either because they help pollinate crops or they eat harmful insects, like aphids. Hoverflies, parasitic wasps, and bumblebees are a few of the natives I hope to attract with my insectary.
|phacelia and a volunteer sunflower will soon be providing pollen for insects|
And finally, I have some food crops that serve double duty. Dill and cilantro are both in the plant family Apiaceae, which takes its name from bees because they love it so much. (I'm pretty sure the feeling is mutual.) After I have finished harvesting those herbs, I will let them go to flower and provide more pollinator habitat.
Headwaters Farm is host to a number of pollinator strips, planted in collaboration with the Xerces Society. The Xerces Society is a cool nonprofit organization headquartered right here in Portland. It's working to protect and restore native invertebrates worldwide.
While I know that agricultural land will never provide the variety of habitats needed to support a healthy insect population, I am excited to do my part to make my land as insect-friendly as it can be. Long live the bees! (And the parasitic wasps, too.)