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Paper wasp's nest - Photo by Richard McBride

Pests can include pathogens, parasites, predators - and that list can include humans! Pests are often controlled with pesticide, usually a chemical or mix of chemicals designed to kill whatever we consider a pest. Insecticides are designed to kill insects, herbicides unwanted plants and fungicides undesirable fungi/spores.

But pesticides do not solve pest problems - otherwise people wouldn't be using them time and time again. Solving a pest problem means changing the condition that allows a pest to thrive.

Pesticides are hazardous to our health, as well as the health of our environment. They cause special problems for children and often contaminate food and water, fish and birds, or are hazardous to pets.  We need to understand that using pesticides is a very short-term solution and indeed creates many other problems.

To encourage butterflies and moths in our gardens we firstly need to understand that it is often through our own behaviour that pests are encouraged. For example, if you have many milkweed (swan plants) you are going to attract more aphids than if you had one swan plant. So we have to be smart!

We need to improve the health of our plants and soil, and use biological controls for the beneficial action of parasites, pathogens, and predators to manage pests. We need to understand that nature does not intend to have a predominance of one species - that there is a balance in the ecosystem.

Biological control provided by living organismscan reduce the numbers of pests. And with a little bit of common sense we can reduce the numbers that see our moths and butterflies as 'food'.

Through our e-news, blog and social media posts we share with our members timely warnings of how to reduce pests in your butterfly garden, of new ideas and systems... anything to help you make your garden or habitat more butterfly/moth friendly.

Guava moth, source unknown
Cermatulus nasalis, photo by David Riddell
Swan plant flower moth and aphids on monarch pupa, photo by Albertien Chignell

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