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Where the smallest are the greatest

How Val Venosta’s apple producers cooperate with useful insects

As you already know, apple orchards do not only host annoying pests but also many useful insects such as bees pollinating flowers or beetles eating parasites. They all help to keep nature in balance. But what do Val Venosta’s apple producers do to attract them? The answer is simple: They try to make it comfortable for them, which, however, is not so easy. This is their contribution to maintaining the ecosystem.
Nesting facilities
Habitat for crawling animals and the like
Nesting facilities
Generally speaking, crawling animals and flying insects are not so popular. These prejudices, however, are unfounded because these animals play an important role in the apple orchards. They balance the ecosystem and curb pests in accordance with the principle of eating and being eaten. Every insect has its own strengths: Some are pest exterminators, others are pollinators. This is why it makes sense to protect biodiversity.

Pest hunters at night

So much for scary: Val Venosta’s apple producers like bats in their orchards. They are an indispensable link in the ecological chain as they hunt tiny insect troublemakers every night. These insectivores have their own nest boxes in the orchards, but they also feel at ease in open roof trusses.

Check-in at the insect hotel

To be honest: Insect hotel sounds more like a joke than an ecological measure. But the idea behind it is brilliant. Val Venosta’s apple producers build a “hotel” for insects and hope that as many insects as possible will check in. The guests settle their invoice by eating as many pests as they want in the apple orchards. It’s a fair deal, isn’t it?
Sowings & flower strips
Where there are plants there is life
Sowings & flower strips
Insect hotels and nesting facilities are a great thing but isn’t something missing? Exactly: Food and space for everyone! Val Venosta’s apple producers make their trees and the surroundings bloom and thus create both a habitat and a source of food for their tiny useful insects that can hide in the herb layer of the lanes or at the edges and enjoy lots of flower pollen and nectar.

Furthermore, sowings and flower strips improve soil fertility in a most natural way. The consequences are less pesticides and the preservation of biodiversity. Because in the end, apple orchards are above all habitats and not just pure production areas.

Alternating mowing: What’s that?

Apple producers have several possibilities to ensure that there are always blooming herbs somewhere. They can either plant the edges of their orchards or let it sprout in the lanes. It should, however, not grow rampant there. So the solution is „alternate mowing“. This means that the flower strip is only removed in every second lane and remains untouched in the other one.

Sunflower project

If you believe that Val Venosta’s apple orchards are lifeless production areas, you are completely wrong because there are numerous insects, amphibians, birds and small mammals on and around the trees. Val Venosta Apples started the sunflower project a few years ago to make apple orchards visible as a habitat. Yellow sunflowers have since bloomed every year in late summer and autumn. Val Venosta’s apple producers sow these colorful flowers in June and thus see to it that their orchards are full of lively colors after the apple blossom as well, which is a pleasure for both the animals and the many passersby.
25-50 plant species
grow in a single orchard
More than 4,000 soil organisms
live on every square meter!
5,200 sunflower seeds
bloom in Val Venosta in autumn


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