Constance: Five tips on how to turn your garden into an insect paradise

It buzzes and buzzes again in the meadows, trees and gardens. But it’s quieter than it was a few decades ago. There are about 33,000 species of native insects in Germany. But many of them are considered vulnerable or extremely vulnerable.

As the most species-rich group in the animal kingdom, insects perform important functions and maintain many ecosystems. That’s why it is so important to protect them, says Gregor Schmitz, head of the Botanical Garden at the University of Konstanz. Can anyone help. Schmitz offers these five tips on how amateur gardeners can give bees, butterflies and beetles a home:

Only a lawn mower has something to eat: the useful little bugs can't do much with simple lawn.

Only a lawn mower has something to eat: the useful little bugs can’t do much with simple lawn. | Photo: Evelyn Pfefferkorn

1. Stay away from the football field

Leafy green, cut to the nearest centimeter – many front gardens resemble a lawn or a football field. The whole thing is not very attractive, especially for insects. According to horticulturist Schmitz, what they need is an abundance of flowers and places to hide so they can thrive and overwinter.

Instead of an intense lawn or gravel garden, a lush flower meadow is needed. “The more species, the better,” emphasizes Schmitz. In this way, many insects can be provided with a food source.

“Necessary gardeners should use a seed mixture from a specialty retailer that contains many species of local origin and can be selected according to site conditions in the garden.” So Schmitz.

Certainly eye-catching: if you do not want to give up your monotonous green garden, you can still do something for insects ...

Definitely eye-catching: If you don’t want to give up your monotonous green garden, you can still do something for the insects by planting small sections with flowers and mowing them around. | Photo: Evelyn Pfefferkorn

2. Less is more

The botanist assures that flower meadows are not only friendly to insects, and therefore more ecologically valuable, but also easier to care for. Unlike lawns, where a lawn mower is used about 20 times a year, it is enough to mow wildflowers once or twice. Ideal between mid July and late August, late September and late October.

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If you don’t want to turn your entire garden into a flower meadow, you can also design smaller plots accordingly. Not only will the neighbors be happy if the lawn mower stays in the garage more often, but also all kinds of animals.

In addition, spontaneous nature should be able to appear in a corner of the garden. Meaning: Just let the weeds out and notice the bugs that congregate there.

With this self-built insect hotel, you can provide a haven for insects.

With this self-built insect hotel, you can provide a haven for insects. | Photo: Evelyn Pfefferkorn

3. Lend a helping hand

If you have the time and desire and want to test your hand skills, you can build your own insect hotel. “Prefab houses that you can buy at hardware stores are more of a decorative value and less beneficial to insects,” Gregor Schmitz says.

“It is important that you dig cleanly and across the grain. Otherwise, mulch can stick out, which the animals can use to slash their wings.” It should also be noted that holes of various diameters (from three to twelve millimeters) are drilled deep enough that Insects of all types have enough space.

According to Schmitz, bamboo and reed are particularly suitable. This provides many wild bees and digger wasps ideal breeding grounds.

The expert shows it with a pen: Simply cut less when pruning trees.  In the prominent hollow stems can...

The expert shows it with a pen: Simply cut less when pruning trees. Digger wasps can nest, for example, in hollow, protruding stems. | Photo: Evelyn Pfefferkorn

4. Wild is better than precision

Gardeners can also create a habitat for these groups of insects, for example by pruning shrubs with hollow branches, such as summer lilacs, without the need for gardening. Gardening expert Schmitz suggests: “Simply leave the hollow branches about ten centimeters away and don’t cut them directly over the shoots.”

Insects can nest in the protruding ends and deposit their brood cells. As insects use the stems that contain the pulp. Instead of discarding old blackberry stems, you can simply tie them together in a bouquet and hang them on a gazebo, for example to provide a breeding opportunity for wasps that hunt aphids.

Famous for insects and birds: ivy bush.  During its flowering period in the fall it is visited by many insects.  in spring, ...

Famous for insects and birds: ivy bush. During its flowering period in the fall it is visited by many insects. In the spring, when you bear the berries, they serve as a food source for birds. | Photo: Evelyn Pfefferkorn

5. Plant treats

If you want to do something good for both the little helpers and the birds, you can have an ivy bush in the garden. Ivy is not only found in the climbing plant version.

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“It is the only tree that has berries in the spring and thus provides the returning migratory birds with adequate food” because it ripens during the fall and winter. An analysis conducted at the University of Konstanz showed that an impressive 293 species use ivy as food and 89 for hiding.

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