These actions focus on doing something that directly helps insects. This could be an action in your garden or at another space.
There are many simple ways to help insects! Our collection of ideas shall inspire and support you to take action for insects! Explore our collection of actions that benefit insects in your environment directly (direct actions) and actions that can help insects on a larger scale (indirect actions)!
Allow and create diversity in your garden
To support a broad diversity of insects, it is important to have a broad diversity of plants and structures.
What makes a garden more diverse? Having native plants as bushes or hedgerows, small trees (e.g. fruit trees), a diversity of wildflowers, herbs and vegetable plants, open ground for insects to nest, piles of dead wood, a compost heap, and much more. Here you can find various possibilities to support wildlife:
Mow parts of the lawn less often
The easiest and most effective way to help insects in a garden. Let flowers (e.g. clover, dandelions) bloom to attract insects!
Short cut lawns appear “green” and many people like that it looks “tidy”. What most people do not know, is that a short cut lawn is like a “desert” for insects, without any food or place to live. When you let the lawn grow for a longer time, flowers (e.g. clover, dandelions) for insects can start to bloom and insects feeding on grass have time to develop. There are many different ways to transform your lawn: You can leave patches or stripes unmown or leave the edges of the lawn unmown, or even transform the whole lawn. The following sites provide some concrete ideas and how-to-guides:
To fight aphids, it is best to support natural enemies such as ladybugs or the larvae of hoverflies.
Some insects (e.g. aphids) can occur as “pests” in a garden. Using pesticides is a problem, because they kill other insects, such as pollinators and the natural enemies of the pests. This can lead to a bigger “pest-problem” than without pesticides. Another problem is that the pesticides can harm other animals who feed on insects (e.g. birds). To fight aphids, it is best to support natural enemies such as ladybugs or the larvae of hoverflies. Be a bit patient, the natural enemies need some time to reproduce! If there are many pests on a plant, you can reduce the number manually (e.g. with a water jet). If you need to use pesticides/herbicides, follow the following guidelines:
Give “weeds” a chance
“Weeds” are often native plants that can be very good for insects.
People often fight “weeds”, sometimes even with poison. These weeds are often native plants that can be very good for insects. Maybe you can leave some “weeds” and see, if they flower and attract some insects. If the weeds take over too much, you can “weed” manually (cut or pull out), but avoid poison (=herbicides).
Grow beneficial plants
If you have few flowers in your garden, it is good to grow additional plants that flower from early spring to late autumn. You can grow flowers from seeds or buy fully-grown plants.
The simplest and cheapest way to grow flowers is to grow them from seeds. You can collect seeds yourself, ask others for seed, or buy them. When you want to buy fully-grown plants, take some time to observe which plants attract many insects.
Native plants are often best, because the insects are adapted to them, but some non-native plants can be good as well (see herbs section) as long as they are not invasive! Some traditional gardening plants (daffodils, tulips, petunia,…) do not have much nectar and are not helpful for pollinators. Maybe you can find plants where you have an additional benefit (e.g. herbs, vegetables, fruit trees or bushes).In the following link, you can find some information to plant for insects:
Make your balcony or windowsill more insect-friendly
You can provide boxes and pots of insect-friendly plants
Even when you do not have a garden, it is possible to support insects directly. You can provide boxes and pots of insect-friendly plants. In this way, even a city with many buildings can support pollinators and other insects. Video on how to plant flowers in small boxes:
Plant insect friendly herbs
Make live tastier for you and for insects!
Herb plants are great: They are beautiful, smell good, you can use them for cooking and their flowers provide good food for insects. Examples are Oregano, Borage, Chives, Lavender, Rosemary, Sage and Thyme. You can even plant them in a pot or in a box on your windowsill or on your balcony!
Create a meadow
Give wild flowers a chance and enjoy the colorful beauty of a meadow.
One way to start a meadow is to let the plants in your lawn grow and mow it only once or twice a year. This works, when the lawn contains some wildflowers. If the lawn only consists of grass, it is necessary to take away the surface of the lawn to start a meadow. This is necessary, because the grass grows faster than the wildflowers. It also needs a soil that is low in nutrition (do not fertilize it!). Then you can sow a seed mix of native plants on the soil.
Create nesting sites
So called “bee hotels” can be a nice way to observe some solitary bees. Holes in dead wood and patches of bare ground can support insects.
Bee hotels only support some wild bees, that naturally nest in hollow stems (e.g. of raspberry and bramble) or in dead wood. So you can also leave some hollow stems or a pile of dead wood at a sunny spot, which helps also other insects (e.g. hoverflies, beetles). Another option to make self-made bee hotels is to drill small holes in old wood. If you plan to buy a bee hotel – bigger (and more expensive) is not always better. The size of a bird house is sufficient. Put your “hotel” at a sunny spot in spring, because solitary bees start to lay their eggs then. Most bees nest in the ground, so it is even more important to keep patches of bare ground and places that are not disturbed (e.g. edges of a garden; herb-garden with sandy soil; cracks in old walls).
Avoid invasive plant species
Some species spread very fast and other plant species cannot grow.
Examples for invasive species in Sweden are large-leaved lupine, canadian goldenrod or himalayan balsam. Invasive species can turn diverse meadows or road verges into a monotonous landscape. This is a big problem for specialist insect species, which need specific plants. So make sure that you do not spread or plant these plants. You can also report invasive species.Here is a list of invasive species to avoid in Sweden:
These actions focus on doing something so that other people/institutions behave in a way that helps insects. In other words, these type of actions try to include others to solve a problem.
Inform other people
Most people do not know much about insects, the problem of insect decline, or possibilities to help insects. You can make a change by informing these people!
You can start informing friends and family about these issues. Share your knowledge or show them informative websites (see also links on the website). The more people are informed, the more people can take action to help insects! You can talk to people, write on social media, and much more. Find your personal way of informing other people that fits best for you!
Some useful links:
Buy insect-friendly products
One important way to support a more insect-friendly agriculture is buying more insect-friendly products from ecological farming or from small-scale farms.
One of the main reasons for insect declines is intensive agriculture. However, farmers and companies will only produce what people will buy. An easy possibility to help insects is to buy ecological products, because ecological farming avoids chemical pesticides and supports a higher biodiversity. It is also good to support small-scale farms, which support a higher diversity in the landscape. You can buy farm products from small-scale farms at farmers markets.
Promote positive attitudes towards insects
You can help to create more positive attitudes towards insects, so that people are more willing to help insects!
Many people do not like insects and have negative attitudes. That is one reason, why people do not help insects or even take actions that affect insects negatively. You can help to create more positive attitudes towards insects! Show, how important insects are for the daily lives, tell fun stories about insects, share your attitudes, recommend books, share beautiful pictures of insects… That does not mean that you have to love every single insect at every moment (a mosquito that bites you is of course annoying). It is more about promoting a general positive picture of insects. Be creative and find your own ways that fit best to you and the people you know.
Ask and support others to take action
You can support others in their actions to help insects - many small actions together can lead to a big change together.
It is easier, when more people take an action – it is hard to be the only one who is doing something different. On our website, people can find helpful information on how to take action. Every person can take action in an own specific way, depending on what they like or do. It is possible to take action in private gardens, sport club areas, farms, companies,…
A great source is “The Irish pollinator plan”, which provides ideas for all types of actions (e.g. for private gardens, businesses, sports clubs, faith communities, farmers,…):
Demand better products from companies and supermarkets
Let the producer and the supermarket know that you want more insect-friendly products (e.g. ecological products; products from small-scale farming)!
Some of the products you buy and like could be produced in a more insect-friendly way. This will only happen, when many people say that they want such products. One way is to buy better alternatives (see buy insect-friendly products). But what can you do, when there are no alternatives available? Let the producer know what you want! Check the mail-address or the website of the producer and send a message about what you want to have.
An example: You love eating pasta, but there are almost no ecological alternatives. Write the company that you would like to have an ecological alternative for your favorite pasta. You can also contact the supermarket selling the product. Ask your friends and family to the same for products they like. In this way, the companies get informed, what people would like to buy. This change of product options takes some time, but it is important to start this change!
Support science by engaging as a citizen scientist
Citizen science can be an easy way for you to provide data for insect conservation scientists – join our “Actions for Insects” project in iNaturalist.
Observing insects helps you to identify species and increase your own knowledge. With a higher knowledge, you can take better actions, and inform and inspire other people. It is also fun to see, which species you can attract with your insect-friendly actions. Motivate others to join our “Actions for Insects” citizen science project in iNaturalist so that they can learn more about the insects in their surroundings and appreciate them! You can also use iNaturalist to identify plants where you can find many insects! In this way, you learn what is good for insects! There are other citizen science platforms and possibilities to get active in science about insects and observation.
Our project in iNaturalist:
Link to iNaturalist:
Swedish Citizen Science platform:
Support environmental organisations or other initiatives
Share the information of environmental organisations, support initiatives, take part in projects, or donate to them.
Many environmental organizations are active to help insects. These organizations provide information, involve the public, interact with politicians and companies, or take direct actions to help insects. There are various ways to support such organizations. You can share their information, support initiatives, take part in projects, or donate to them.
Become active in an environmental organization
You can also engage more actively in environmental organizations that support insects.
A first possibility is to join activities or projects they offer. This is a good way to learn more about the topic and to take action. You can also become a member, to meet other people that are engaged in environmental topics. They offer a good opportunity to share your ideas and make ideas possible. Through their big networks, it is often easier to reach responsible groups (e.g. politicians, companies, communes) and to achieve a bigger impact. Many organizations have local youth groups. Here you can find some information on ways to become active in various groups.
Engage your school community
Explore what is possible at your school!
Schools have some special features: They are big, bring many people together, and these people spend a lot of time there. Together, these people have a broad spectrum of strengths, likes, and people they know. Starting actions collectively at school can have a huge positive impact! Teachers can support students with their unique skills – all disciplines can contribute! Students from different age groups can get involved and support each other. Schoolyards are often big and could be transformed into insect-friendly places. Insect-friendly schoolyards are a great place for learning about diversity outdoors (e.g. observing plants and animals). Schools are also powerful to communicate with other audiences (e.g. communes, media). Explore what is possible at your school!
Make or support e-förslag on the webpage of the commune
An e-förslag is a very simple way how you can realize changes in your kommun – so take your chance to make or support an e-förslag for a more insect-friendly kommun!
Every citizen, including children and youth, can either leave an e-förslag or support an existing förslag. In our case, it could be an idea to create more diverse public green spaces, grow insect-friendly plants,… One person makes an e-förslag online on the communes web-page. Then, others can support the e-förslag by signing it. When there are sufficient supporters (50 in Karlstad) in 90 days, the kommun will process the suggestion further. Be creative what could be a good way to make the place where you live more insect-friendly! Talk with others to develop ideas and concrete e-förslag! You can also check out, if already relevant e-förslag are ongoing and support them.
Check out the webpage of your own kommun to find e-förslag possibilities.
Take actions and let us now via social media where you can also find more inspiration.