A request from your local rabid naturalist - yes, that's me (hmm, that would make a great, feisty name for my blog - therabidnaturalist.com - instead of the wimpy 'vignettes'!):
Please stop killing our young invertebrates!
The insects we need to pollinate our flowers and crops also need a place to develop and mature, so give them a chance to finish their cycle and hatch. Don't clear up your yard of hollow stems and thatch yet - it may look untidy to you but it's a long term investment for these little creatures, and the payoffs contribute to our futures too. Wait a bit longer before 'sanitizing' your yard and picking up winter debris. The twigs, leaf litter, hollowed stems and seed pods are their wombs, their homes - try not to destroy them, and be patient, waiting till we have continuously warm weather to have allowed them the conditions they need to hatch and emerge.
We get upset about habitat destruction that displaces polar bears and jaguars. I'm sure many of us would hesitate to deliberately kill a freshly hatched chicken, or burn a village to the ground, because we can see, relate and empathize. When things are miniscule, and not obviously visible to us, we tend to act as if they're not there. And yet there is a whole secret community functioning right under our noses. Every year we decimate entire habitats with our rakes, blowers, fires and mowers. Different from rainforest destruction, how? Being more mindful of the insect world might hold us back from destroying their habitats so injudiciously.
Refraining from clearing your yard requires personal sacrifice beyond avoiding plants infused with neo-nicotinoids. You will get to see and appreciate an amazing diversity of insects if you learn to view the debris as functional and useful, part of the process, and of ensuring a healthy future for all of nature. If you can't bring yourself to wait, and are focused on neatness, select a portion of the yard, at least, that you'd be willing to 'sacrifice' as the hatchling nursery. Maybe that area will expand each year as you see results ....🤞 I choose to feel flattered that a diverse community of insects have chosen to grace my yard and make it their winter home.
This is what Xerces.org (https://www.xerces.org/blog/dont-spring-into-garden-cleanup-too-soon?fbclid=IwAR0cpgK6MvNyJrTw3fDvS6w7ixGHwEVBHmmTsEFjz9QOTZ7hemsWQg8NQTk) has to say about it:
Ok, time to get off my soapbox ... oh, wait, maybe not yet ...