If you garden, you must wonder what to do when the Bugs invade!
It is a dilemma, let them eat the fruit of your labor…or…fight back! The only problem is, is that most advertized bug killers are poisonous chemicals. So what’s a gardener to do?
The Permaculture Institute of Australia offers the following natural remedies to bug infestations.
This in depth article is too long to paraphrase. It is full of information concerning the natural order or things in a garden. Well worth the read…
What are other Organic Pest Controls available for you to use?
Everyone I talk to have their own method of pest control. One swears by dish soap, another mixes a concoction of vegetable oil and water, so and so uses peppermint oil mix and another uses a light vinegar spray. So who is right and which ones are just witch doctor remedies?
Organic Gardening magazine has an article that identifies the 7 most popular organic methods of pest control. Their website wants you to subscribe and if you are really serious about gardening you may want to!
The Seven Methods are;
1) Floating Row Cover – Light, white, polyester fabric. This method provides a physical block for bugs to get to your veges. Just hope the wind doesn’t blow.
2) Pheromone Traps – It’s all about sex. Lure a poor sex starved bug into a trap and kill it. Sounds bad, but they further explain that this is an early warning sign of an infestation that will allow you to go to a plan B.
3) Sticky Traps – Sounds like the old Roach Motel to me. You can check in but you can never check out!
4) Insecticidal Soaps – This type of soap dissolves the skin of insects and I presume leads to their untimely death. Somehow I hesitate to put something on my garden that dissolves skin!
5) Oil Sprays – Most horticultural oils are petroleum based. If you think of it they should kill insects quite well. But at what risk? These oils tend to suffocate the insects. They talk of summer or lighter oils that can be used on growing crops. I wonder if that means 5-10-30 weight? The lighter oils tend to evaporate more quickly and do not harm the plant.
Organic Gardening explains where you can get organic plant based oils that might be a better choice.
6) Bacillus Thuringiensis – BT is a naturally occuring bacteria found in the soil. Somehow it has been refined down to be specific types of insects and one type of BT cannot be used for an insect it is not specific for. Uncontrolled use can kill beneficial insects and therefore remove any potential benefit they may have for your garden. Therefore this seems to get into the realm of scientific research and if you garden like me stay away from this laborious task!
7) Parasitic Nematodes – I don’t like the name of this. Now a nematode sounds like a worm. Regular nematodes would be great if they could defend your garden, but a parasitic nematode sounds like what it is…a parasite that once it gets inside an insect releases a bacteria that kills the insect within a day or two! You must read about these guys however as they sound pretty good on paper. They come shipped in a moist medium and will stay alive for 4 months in your refrigerator. Mix with water and apply. They recommend you apply millions of them so my guess is that they are pretty small. Ask your wife or husband or partner first if you can put parasitic nematodes inside your fridge!
Rule number one – Do Not Harm Your Plants!
Check out the 7 methods at the Organic Gardening site!
Try the Age Old Method – By Hand
One other method you can try is to remove bugs manually. You can pick the big ones off, take the leaves of your plants that are infested and keep an eye out for bugs in general. If you can spray them away with water that’s even better. Barring that and if your infestation is so large you can’t control it. Go to a Plan B. Select the method that most appeals to your gardening skill level and go forward!
Fruit Trees Can Be Difficult To Protect
Mother Earth News gives a good breakdown on actions you can take to produce healthy fruit in an organic manner. Many of the methods they talk about are similar to those identified in Organic Gardening but are more tree specific.