Beetle banks provide habitat for beneficial insects.
Beetle banks are permanent linear mounds, planted to a mix of perennial grasses and flowering plants, that surround our fields. They provide habitat for beneficial insects, such as predatory beetles and pollinators.
The beetle banks were seeded to a Beetle Bank Blend, developed by West Coast Seeds, that contains the following species:
|Western Blue-Eyed Grass
|Nodding Wild Onion
|Farewell to Spring
|Black Eyed Susan
|Russell Hybrid Lupins
The banks also contain self-seeded volunteers endemic to the site. These are encouraged to promote biodiversity. The grasses out-compete most weeds, but routine maintenance involves removal of particularly competitive invasive perennials, such as Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), Himalayan blackberry (Rubus armeniacus), reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea) and field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis).
The raised banks provide good overwintering habitat for ground-nesting beetles and pollinators because they do not flood and they are never disturbed by cultivation. These beneficial insects can spread across the crop in spring to keep pest populations in check. Ground beetles are voracious predators that feed on insect eggs, aphids, caterpillars, and many other pests.