To improve the abundance and diversity of beneficials consider native vegetation as part of pest management, in particular the health of individual stands of native vegetation and how they are placed within your landscape.
- Beneficials need habitat to persist during periods of fallow, drought and insecticide spraying.
- Native vegetation in the landscape can provide this habitat.
- Patches of native vegetation need to be linked to each other and cropping areas to assist movement of beneficials across the landscape.
- Consider a range of scales e.g. individual patches of vegetation, crops and entire landscapes. How well are these areas connected and how healthy is the native vegetation.
Use planning tools such as myBMP to develop a map of native vegetation surrounding cropping areas on the farm and in the local area.
> Assess the size, distance from crops and health of native vegetation on the farm and within the local area.
> Identify areas between or around native vegetation which could be planted with trees, shrubs and grasses or protected to allow natural regrowth to occur.
> Include areas such as fence line tree plantings, wind breaks, riparian corridors, open grasslands and roadside verges as they all provide habitat for beneficials.
> Plan plantings of crops to maximise natural pest control value. Will this crop require intensive pest control and what implications does this have for other crops and native vegetation?
> Contact your local NRM Body, CMA or Landcare Office. There may be incentive funds to assist you.
Many beneficials have limited dispersal ability and can only move up to 1km from native vegetation. Consider linking patches of native vegetation such as riparian corridors or fence line tree plantings to assist beneficials to move between patches of native vegetation and crops.
|| Beneficials like this spined predatory shield bug, feed on native plant feeding insects to sustain their population in areas of native vegetation. (Photo: S. Gamez)