Meet BUG!

Meet BUG, the friendly, active beetle that can tell you everything about how organic farmers work together with Nature. At Nature & More we are packing our organic oranges with special wrappers that can be turned into an active beetle. All you need to do is twirl four legs, place the wrapper gently over the orange and give your new friend a small push.  It will certainly put a smile on your face and is already a big hit with kids … and cats! Below you can learn more about how fascinating beneficial insects and other animals help organic growers. It all goes to show that organic farming is all about collaborating with nature instead of trying to fight it!

Check the video!

 

We are the friendly BUGS!
In organic agriculture, growers do not use chemicals against pests (harmful insects and other animals) but they try to work with their natural enemies: other insects. For all pest insects there are one or more insects available. They are deployed as soon as a pest insect is detected.

What is our job?
Nice to meet you! We are the ichneumon wasps, lacewings, predatory mites and ladybugs. Together with our cousins in the soil, beneficial fungals and bacteria, we help to combat pests naturally.  We crawl over the leaves, looking for our natural enemy. This is how we assist the grower and keep the plant healthy in a natural way. Another friend of us is the bumblebee, at the moment very busy to pollinate many flowers. He will introduce himself later on. What are pests in fact? A pest is an excessive amount of harmful insects, such as aphids, who damage the plants. This does not make the grower happy. The harmful bugs suck juices from plants, leave waste behind and / or use the leaves for their meal. The result is that the plant becomes weak and sick.

Aphids and other pests
Aphids multiply quickly which may result in a plague very quickly. Natural enemies like the ichneumon wasp, the ladybug and the lacewings can combat the aphids. The ichneumon wasp is looking for the aphids in order to reproduce, puts the eggs into the aphids and the aphid will be eliminated. The ladybug is fond of aphids for dinner. By consuming the aphids, she makes sure that your fruit remains healthy and chemical-free, because the farmes does not need to spray with chemicals.Spider mites are a pest as well. The predatory mite is the natural enemy of spider mite. He kills the spider mite and and sucks the mite empty. The predatory mite can only live in the neighbourhood of its victim.

Bumblebees in action
Bumblebees are used to assist with the pollination of flowers. Good pollination is required for beautiful and plentiful fruits. The bumblebees fly from flower to flower. For agriculture special bee boxes have been developed, for example by Koppert Biological Systems, in order to transport the bumblebees to the growers. These boxes can be placed in the greenhouse or the orchard of the grower. The growers do not have to look after the bumblebees, they do their work by themselves and are totally dedicated.

Of course other bees, hover flies and other insects help with pollination too!

Soil bugs
The majority of bugs does not live on plants, but in the soil! In a handfull of soil there can be more microscopic organisms than the total number of people on earth. And many of these critters are very useful. Did you know that many plants take a major part of their food, namely nitrogen, from thin air? But they need the help of fungi and bacteria around their roots to get it. And of course there are many other bugs to be found in the soil. Can you think of some? Yes, earth worms. And nematodes, mites, wood lice, insect larvae and many more. Inside the soil they fight, they work together and they create a stable natural balance.

Thank you!
You have now learned how nature remains balanced thanks to bugs. Pollination by bumblebees and other insects, natural predators and micro-organisms in the soil (fungi and bacteria) all contribute to healthy farming and healthy, chemical-free food. 

We thank Koppert Biological Systems for information and pictures (© Koppert Biological Systems).

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Make your own friendly BUG!
We have developed a wrapper so you can make your own BUG! We wrapped the juicy organic oranges from our grower Gerasimos Karantinos in them. You can check out Gerasimos and his farm here. If you buy the oranges at your supermarket or health food store, you can make your own pretty bug. This is how you do it. It's very easy: you unwrap the orange from the wrapper. Flatten the wrapper out and twist the four points into little "paws". Then put the wrapper back on the orange. If you then push the orange gently, it will "walk" through the room in a funny way. So let your bug go and search for other bugs! Have fun!

Grower Chris from Holland talks about bugs
Chris van der Sterre grows Brussels sprouts in Bleiswijk, the Netherlands. He went organic in 2015: "I am noticing a natural balance with the insects: when there are more lice, we see the population of hover flies increase who then take care of the lice. The biggest difference for me between organic and non organic agriculture is how you deal with insects and pests. As a conventional farmer it was very normal to spray ten times a year, each time with three different chemicals. In organic agriculture you have to work with nature and are dependent on “insect friends” like the parasite wasps and other natural predators. I often go into the field to check out how the population of the hoverfly is developing. This is important because this species of fly eats the cabbage lice. To be honest, I had never noticed these insects in the years that I was growing conventionally and in that sense a whole new world has opened up for me!" Chris has Nature & More grower code 139.  

The Sustainability Flower

The Sustainability Flower is the core of our business. Every Nature & More grower has a personal Sustainability Flower. It points the way to a greener and more social economy. More info here.