#FarmToFood: Insects lend a helping hand

Insects lend a helping hand

Insects, bugs, or a nuisance, what ever you call them; insects play a major role on the farm. The most common example are bees. Bees are crucial for pollinating many of the crops we grow.

Bees + Canola = Honey

Canola and Bee | www.canolaeatwell.com

There is a mutual relationship between farmers and bees. As the bee collects nectar it also pollinates the flower. This helps to produce more food for us, while feeding the bee’s hive. As a side benefit, if this bee belongs to the hive of a beekeeper, then that nectar is eventually turned into honey!

Good Bugs

Bees are just one of many insects that are beneficial for our crops. Lady Bugs are a common sight in the field.  They like to eat aphids, which can be very damaging if their population gets too large. Lacewings also help to keep the aphid population in balance. Their teamwork helps protect the crop and that means we don’t have to spray as much.

Parasitic Wasps, although they sound scary, are actually very good. They lay their eggs as a worm, and when they hatch the larvae feed on the worm. It sounds like something out of a horror film, but this is how nature helps to maintain a balance.

Every once in a while there are new insects that we come across. Last year I found a Leafy Spurge Hawk moth caterpillar. The caterpillar feeds on Leafy Spurge, an invasive weed that is not native to Canada.

Keeping Balance

There are many wonderful things that occur in a farm ecosystem. It is our job to ensure the ecosystem stays healthy. A healthy ecosystem helps grow more food and is beneficial to everyone.

Eat Well…Simon Ellis  

Farmer Simon Ellis | www.canolaeatwell.comSimon Ellis is a proud farmer, seedgrower and husband. He grows crops in Wawanesa, Manitoba to help feed the world.

Deep farm roots, a passion for fitness, health and getting in the kitchen.

Read more about Simon in Meet Farm Family The Ellises or follow along with him @FarmLifeMB