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Category — Bugs

The Living Landscape


Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden

By Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy
Timber Press

A home garden is often seen as separate from the natural world surrounding it. In truth, it is actually just one part of a larger landscape made up of many living layers. And the replacement of the rich layers of native flora with turf grass greatly diminishes a garden’s biological diversity and ecological function.

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February 18, 2015   Comments Off on The Living Landscape

New urban agriculture policy starts buzz in Vancouver city parks

This spring, adults and children will be “buzz-scaping” at Strathcona’s 3.5-hectare Trillium North Park. That is, the Strathcona Food Security Committee is constructing a pollinator house frame.

Get ready for innovative community food and agriculture uses in parks

City of Vancouver
February 17 2015


Everyone’s a foodie nowadays, and the Vancouver Park Board recognizes that.

To reflect the growing and diverse interest in local food production and cultivation, we have adopted a new Urban Agriculture Policy that aims to broaden the types of food-related projects considered in parks, including one-off and pilot projects.

The policy also:

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February 18, 2015   Comments Off on New urban agriculture policy starts buzz in Vancouver city parks

Big Cricket Farms – the only farm in America to raise crickets exclusively for human consumption


Big Cricket Farms holds nearly six million crickets in a compact, urban setting, raising and slaughtering them without a single complaint from the next-door neighbors.

By Nicola Twilley
New Yorker
September 16, 2014


Big Cricket Farms, of Youngstown, Ohio, opened six months ago. It is the first (and, so far, only) farm in America to raise crickets exclusively for human consumption. The farm, which was founded by Kevin Bachhuber, is housed in a formerly abandoned warehouse in the Rust Belt city. Inside, several hundred white reinforced fibreglass troughs sit on the floor, housing between three thousand and four thousand crickets each.

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September 19, 2014   Comments Off on Big Cricket Farms – the only farm in America to raise crickets exclusively for human consumption

Insects to Feed the World Conference 2014

The first international conference on insects for food and feed brought over 450 participants from 45 countries together to discuss the state of the art in edible insect research, business and policy. Feed industry leaders, insect breeders, universities, NGOs and other stakeholders gathered for the first time, with a clear message – insects for feed and food are viable solution for the protein deficit problem.

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September 14, 2014   Comments Off on Insects to Feed the World Conference 2014

Fire ant infestation complicates Vancouver community garden removal

fireantIn the four years since European fire ants were first discovered in B.C., their presence has been confirmed in at least 25 locations throughout Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

Canadian Pacific rail has ordered encroaching gardens removed but city worries ants will spread

By Randy Shore
Vancouver Sun
July 7, 2014


Canadian Pacific orders to dismantle and remove community gardens along the Arbutus Corridor could be delayed by an infestation of European fire ants in the garden plots near East Boulevard and 68th Avenue.

These tenacious pests are nearly impossible to eradicate and are being spread throughout southwestern B.C. by the movement of infested plants and soil, said Rob Higgins, a biologist at Thompson Rivers University.

About 30 colonies have been identified near the CP rail right-of-way in Kerrisdale, but the rest of the corridor should be surveyed before any plants or soil are removed, he said.

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July 8, 2014   Comments Off on Fire ant infestation complicates Vancouver community garden removal

‘City Farmer’ featured on Easy Organic Gardener Radio Show

Listen here to archived recording.

With host Sheri Frey

Guest Michael Levenston
June 22, 2014

About Sheri:
Since 1979 Sheri has been co-owner and vice president of ARBICO Organics. ARBICO Organics produces and markets organic and natural products for home, business, garden, lawn, farm and pets. Products include beneficial insects and organisms, fertilizers and soil amendments, weed and disease controls, composting supplies, insecticides, critter controls, horse care, traps, lures, pheromones, botanicals and more.

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June 23, 2014   Comments Off on ‘City Farmer’ featured on Easy Organic Gardener Radio Show

Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control

There are 19 detailed bug profiles and 39 plant profiles

By Jessica Walliser
Timber Press

It may seem counterintuitive to want bugs in a garden, but insects are indeed valuable garden companions. Especially those species known for eating the bugs that eat plants. Assassin bugs, damsel bugs, and predatory stink bugs are all carnivores that devour the bugs that dine on a garden.

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March 28, 2014   Comments Off on Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control

McGill Students Win $1Million to Farm Insects

The Desautels team includes Mohammed Ashour, Zev Thompson, Shobhita Soor, Gabriel Mott and Jesse Pearlstein.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization reports that insects are eaten seasonally by 2.5 billion people worldwide.

CTV Montreal
September 23, 2013


A group of McGill students has been awarded $1 million to help create a company that will farm insects.

The Hult Prize was awarded to McGill University’s Aspire team by former president Bill Clinton Monday evening at an event in New York City.

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September 27, 2013   Comments Off on McGill Students Win $1Million to Farm Insects

The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook


Revised: 40 Ways to Cook Crickets, Grasshoppers, Ants, Water Bugs, Spiders, Centipedes, and Their Kin [Paperback]

By David George Gordon
Ten Speed Press
2nd edition (July 16 2013)
136 pages

With its stylish new package, updated information on the health and environmental benefits of insect eating, and breed-your-own instructions, this new edition of The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook is the go-to resource for anyone interested in becoming an entomological epicure.

For many Americans, eating a lowly insect is something you’d only do on a dare. But with naturalist and noted bug chef David George Gordon, bug-eating is fun, exciting, and downright delicious!

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August 30, 2013   Comments Off on The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook

Canada Post produces ‘Beneficial Insect’ series

The golden-eyed lacewing (Chrysopa oculata), the paper wasp (Polistes fuscatus) and margined leatherwing (Chauliognathus marginatus).

The bugs are back — it’s a philatelic infestation! This fall, Canada Post has issued a special souvenir sheet with selected Beneficial Insects low value definitives.

Oct. 16, 2012

Issued in honour of the 125th anniversary of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada, the souvenir sheet is aimed at young, beginning collectors. “The Society has always been committed to passing on knowledge about stamp collecting to subsequent generations, which is no doubt a factor in its longevity,” says Canada Post’s Director of Stamp Services Jim Phillips. “You could say we’re helping the Society pass on the collecting bug.”

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November 24, 2012   Comments Off on Canada Post produces ‘Beneficial Insect’ series

Chickens and Residential Pest Control: The Importance of IPM for Urban Agriculture

It’s important to achieve a good ecological balance when raising chickens; otherwise, the chickens could actually be a cause of residential pest control problems

By Mike R. Davis
Eden – Advanced Pest Teechnolgies
March 20, 2012


From an Integrated Pest Management perspective, backyard chickens bring both advantages and potential problems. The residential pest management benefit of raising chickens is obvious: They eat the common insects that might otherwise pose a pest control problem. Indeed, urban farmers often discover that their garden pest issues are completely resolved once chickens are introduced.

On the other hand, pests are often magnetized to grains and other food sources that are left out in the open. To an ant or mouse, a full bowl of chicken feed looks like a buffet. And once rats, mice and other pests know where you keep the chicken food bowl, they’ll return to it time and time again for a fresh meal.

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April 5, 2012   Comments Off on Chickens and Residential Pest Control: The Importance of IPM for Urban Agriculture

Giant wasp nest found just in time for Halloween at Vancouver’s Compost Garden

Maria holding wasp nest. Photo by Michael Levenston.

Sheryl: “… A dark shadow that looked like an alien head.”

When staff aren’t giving tours, answering the Compost Hotline, or talking to the media, they are gardening our 1/4 acre ‘office’ in Vancouver. Our front garden is landscaped with native British Columbia plants that we don’t have to water in the summer.

This week Sheryl was doing some Fall clean-up out front on an attractive bush. “It was quite the feeling to be pruning away and then to reveal this dark shadow that looked like an alien head, but upon closer inspection it was a beautiful, perfect, huge wasp nest.”

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October 29, 2011   1 Comment

‘Dreaded’ Wolf Spider at our Compost Garden in Vancouver

Watch Heidi catch a Wolf Spider!

I spotted a rather large Wolf Spider in the compost toilet shed yesterday and knew that the gardeners wouldn’t be happy to come across it unexpectedly. Heidi volunteered to move the unwanted eight-eyed Arachnid and I caught the daring act on video.

During my 30 years at the Compost Garden, various staff have shared with me their fear of the spider, a great insect hunter. Theirs is a common phobia, some feeling it more than others.

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July 29, 2011   Comments Off on ‘Dreaded’ Wolf Spider at our Compost Garden in Vancouver

Fruit flies be gone – eaten by carnivorous Sundew

Ma, of Pops Predatory Plants, holds a bug eating Sundew, while her frightened niece looks on. Photo by Michael Levenston.

Sundews (Drosera): These sticky plants are great for trapping fruit flies and fungus gnats.

At City Farmer, we get a “horde” of calls about fruit fly problems on our Compost Hotline. The staff have a variety of answers and some of them were reproduced in the Globe and Mail newspaper last week. (See below.)

Our Bug Lady, Maria Keating added one more excellent suggestion, a small Sundew, a plant trap, that can be kept in the kitchen right next to your food scraps bucket. It’s sticky tentacles are ready and hungry for those annoying insects, which often show up on rotting food.

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July 25, 2011   2 Comments

Bees Please – Mason Bee Castle

‘Bees Please’ box is in harmony with its surroundings in Vancouver BC

By Chloe Bennett Design
May 2011

From her blog:

Life has been busy since the last post. This April, we finally installed the ‘Bees Please’ Mason Bee Box in the roundabout at Yew & 6th in Kitsilano. The design process was fast and furious, as we raced to meet Mother Nature’s deadline (mason bees emerge from their cocoons late March / April). Thanks to Doug Patterson, Landscape Architecture professor at UBC, for his support and guidance.

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May 26, 2011   1 Comment