Probably since the very beginning of human crop production farmers have been struggling to destroy all harmful crop-eating insects that gather around weeds growing wild within the crop in order to allow their harvest to reach a healthy maturity. However, the problem here lies in the use of pesticides. Pesticides are every farmer’s best friend, and exterminators love and depend on them as well. Not to mention the consumer who regularly feasts on crop-produced vegetation without worrying about eating bugs along with their carrots. Long story short–insecticides are a good thing. However, insecticides may protect the consumer, and insecticides serve as a tremendous convenience for farmers looking to raise their vegetarian food stuffs without having their product undergo damage caused by crop-eating insects, but how can a farmer manipulate his farming practices so that the good bugs live, while the bad bugs and bad weeds die. This is the modern farmer’s dilemma.
The squash bee is perhaps the most beneficial insect to a crop that is growing squash. The squash bee, as can be guessed, pollinates squash. If insecticides were to kill harmful crop-critters, like aphids, then that would be seemingly beneficial, as the insecticides make it so that your family will not have to share their crop-born veggies with aphids and other unpleasant insects that accessed crop produced food before it even reached the dinner table. However, insecticide use will also kill the squash bee that is responsible for nourishing squash until it reaches maturity. If insecticides are used on squash crops, then the bees will die before they get a chance to pollinate the squash, and, therefore, no squash!
Luckily experts have found a solution, and that solution is mulch. More specifically, mulch that is made of shredded newspaper and grass clippings. By spreading this mulch concoction on over the soil where the crop is growing, harmful weeds will not be able to penetrate the mulch barrier, and consequently, the weeds will not grow through and penetrate the special mulch concoction, as regular mulch does. Also, this unique mulch concoction allows for squash bees to nest beneath the shredded newspaper and grass clippings. Once the squash bees establish their nest, they will be able to successfully pollinate the squash. And since the mulch will prevent the growth of unwanted weeds, then naturally no harmful pesticides will need to be used to kill the weeds, therefore saving the essential population of squash bees. It‘s a win-win.
Do you think using this new type of mulch to protect crops and bees is a good option for farmers to use? What possible downsides might it have?