I want to give beneficial insects the best possible opportunity to survive the winter in my yard. For the past several years, I've been leaving most of my perennials stand over winter and clean them up in the spring. I'd like to clean the dead plant material up as the new growth is starting in my yard, so the beds look nice in the spring, however it is usually cold enough yet in my climate when that happens that we aren't seeing many insects yet. My solution for the past few years has been to cut back the old growth and leave what I cut in loose piles in a corner of the yard, hoping that will give the insects a chance to emerge. I've seen advice to look for signs of overwintering insects to judge whether you're cleaning up too early, but I've never actually found any. I'm still worried, though, that I'm giving the insects a place to overwinter only to kill them in the spring by cleaning up too early.
What is the best way to balance out yard cleanup with insect preservation?