Manitoulin Eco-Hero: Important Insects

by Anika Smith
Insects are the backbones, without backbones, of our ecosystems, and recently we have been breaking some vital vertebrates. Insects are pollinators, decomposers, aerators and impressively fascinating versatile pan-crustaceans. Sadly, the population of these meagre creatures has been plummeting since the industrial age began; however, we can help our minuscule friends. Deforestation, light pollution, pesticide use, urbanization, and habitat loss all add to a bug’s struggle for its life and ours. 
Light pollution is the effect unnatural light has on a surrounding environment. This is the fault of urban centers leaving neon lights on all night. Not only does this obstruct our view of the stars it furthermore attracts a harmful amount of insects into the light, literally and metaphorically. This is especially harmful to the migratory bugs.
Insects have many habitats, and many of those habitats are in green spaces that we adore. Forests, swamps, fields, ponds, lakes—need we continue? Many of these wonderful habitats are being destroyed every minute for the purposes of urbanization, farming, resource access and lumber, leaving less and less living space for these little critters. 
Pesticides are never the solution. Yes, some bugs can be pests, especially when growing something, but instead of making the former habitat unlivable to all insects and kind of harmful to some humans and definitely the surrounding wildlife; instead, encourage your bird and bat population to flourish by providing habitat and houses. They will not pick too much on your product if you really have a pest problem. If they do then thin the numbers by encouraging owls and other big birds.
‘No Mow May’ is now in progress. Reserve your lawn for the insects that need it and allow your dandelions to bloom and your milkweed to start. This attracts the bugs and gives them full stomachs. This is extremely vital this year due to excessive bee loss over the winter. At Manitoulin Secondary School the SHARE Go-Green committee is instituting a No-Mow-Zone (a bug buffet) and encouraging diversity by sprinkling wildflower seeds everywhere (thanks to the generosity of Manitoulin Streams). We hope to see more bees, butterflies, wasps, and others as we enter our last month of school. 
Bee an Eco-Hero and skip mowing for a few weeks!