What is the 10-step solution to insect problems?

Insects have been eating your plants! What to do? Insect experts recommend this 10-step solution:

Take 10 steps away from the affected plant, and look for any damage.

Plants are meant to be eaten. It is their function within the food chain. Unlike animals, plants can tolerate having quite a large amount of their body eaten, and they continue to be just fine.

From close up, your plant may appear to be in tatters. But from ten steps away – the distance from which we more typically look at plants – you probably cannot see any evidence that the plant has been munched by insects or other hungry animals. If this is the case, then the plant is fine and so is your visual enjoyment of it. There is no need to reach for pesticides.

Remember that when you decided to put native plants in your yard, your goal was for them to form the foundation of a healthy ecosystem. This means that the plants will be eaten by the insects that have evolved to eat them. It also means that bees and butterflies will arrive to collect nectar and pollen from the plants. It means that predatory insects will come to hunt the insects that are eating the plants. It means that birds will be able to feed themselves and their young on all that plentiful insect life. And it means that you will be able to enjoy watching many species interact and thrive in your yard.

Take 10 steps back. Take a deep breath. Your garden is functioning exactly as intended.

What is the 10-step solution to insect problems?