The Dene Farm has partnered with the University of Vermont to conduct a beneficial insect study. Beneficial insects eat the bugs that harm and decimate food crops. Certain types of beneficials, like hover flies, offer pollination services as well. In our Hildene garden we've established a row of various flowering plants that include sun flowers, zinnias, allysum and cosmos. The flowers are meant to attract beneficial insects for our garden like hover flies, soldier beetles, and lady bugs. This tactic of incorporating beneficial insects is known as IPM, Integrated Pest Management. The IPM process enables our farm to be a more sustainable model by mimicking natural ecosystems. Having beneficial insects eating the destructive bugs allows us to reduce our off farm inputs. Cheryl Sullivan is the Greenhouse IPM Research Specialist at UVM who has initiated this three year project. This project allows our summer crew to better understand how these beneficial insects can play a crucial role in the sustainablity of our farm system.
During Cheryl's first visit the Dene Farm staff observed and captured insects attracted to the flowers in the pollinator row.
Cheryl comes to the farm at least once a month to take note of insects and collect data on the garden's progress. The project has proven to be very successful so far as Cheryl observed a flower that hasn't appeared in any other IPM gardens she's worked with!