Life Hacks

Farmers are getting rid of chemicals and using only flowers to fight pests

May 20th, 2021

If you see pests on your plants, one of the first things you’d do is get pesticides. These chemicals are made to get rid of harmful bugs and make sure that they won’t cause problems to plants.

While pesticides are effective, they come with a long list of harmful effects.

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Unsplash-Stella de Smit Source: Unsplash-Stella de Smit

They can cause air, water, and soil pollution. Plus, they can lead to several health problems, too.

Several organic farmers are turning to older practices in keeping their crops free from pests.

Instead of spraying harmful chemicals, they are growing flowers. Their aim is to create a place where beneficial bugs, like parasitic wasps, can thrive.

Usually, farmers grow flowers around their land.

However, they’re also trying to grow strips of flowers within their crops. This will allow the beneficial bugs to travel farther, helping them cover a wider area to control pests.

The experiment requires precision.

Obviously, too much of anything isn’t good. That’s why researchers are being extra careful in using the right kind of flowers in the right amounts. For them to achieve that, they rely on modern monitoring techniques, like precision application technologies and GPS mapping.

In Switzerland, a couple of researchers tried planting dill, cilantro, poppies, and other flowers in fields of wheat.

During the experiment, they found out that the growth of beneficial bugs was encouraged by the flowers’ growth. Believe it or not, the experiment showed a 61% decline in leaf damage. That’s a huge help in keeping crops and plants healthy.

The key is finding the right mix of plants.

A few years ago, this would have been very hard. However, with today’s technology, it’s something that can be achieved.

The technique doesn’t promise the complete elimination of pesticides.

At this stage, it’s not likely to eliminate the need for pesticide application in farms. However, by growing flowers, pests can be kept at a level in which they won’t be able to damage crops and plants. Ultimately, this will reduce the amount of pesticide required to keep plants and crops healthy and safe.

It’s more than just keeping pests away.

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While growing flowers can help drive harmful bugs away, they can also help make farms look beautiful. The more colorful the flowers are, the better farms will look.

Now, take note that you don’t really need to have big farms to give this technique a try. There are a lot of plants that can naturally protect crops from pests. Good examples include marigolds, catnip, lavender, and petunia. Sunflowers are also great in driving pests away.

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Source: One Green Planet, CDPR