Most of us routinely swat bugs away as mere pests. But in sustainable farming, bugs serve a real purpose.
That’s the case at Trout Lake Farm in Washington state, the largest certified organic herb farm in the United States.* Operated by Amway, Trout Lake Farm supplies raw botanical materials for processing and use in Nutrilite™ supplements.
Obviously, a great place to learn about the value of bugs in farming.
Turns out, some bugs – ladybugs and green lacewings, for example – are beneficial for plants, while other bugs do great damage.
The idea is to use an integrated pest management system, providing a diverse environment with habitat for beneficial insects that go after the harmful ones.
Does it work? During a recent outbreak of two-spotted spider mites on lemon balm plants, the Trout Lake farmers used beneficial predatory mites for whom the two-spotted pests are food. The “good” mites’ munching reduced the harmful mite population to a more manageable level.
“The main advantage of using beneficial insects to control pest bugs is to avoid chemical pesticides,” says Danielle Hawkins, Trout Lake Farm manager. “It keeps our fields natural, so we work to create a habitat that encourages beneficial insects to live here.”
This time-honored method of farming helps the crops at Trout Lake Farm flourish naturally.
These nutrient-rich crops then become ingredients for Nutrilite supplements.
So next time you’re tempted to swat away a pesky insect, remember this: To a sustainable farmer, that bug might be good!