Monday, June 4, 2012

Sometimes - Pesticides

 Sorry, these pictures are icky but you need to know.

Spider Mites
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we need to resort to pesticides.  I like to stay as organic as possible in my garden, but hand-picking bugs just isn't my thing.   I don't mind sharing some with birds and bugs however there is a limit.  (Note:  all pictures are generic but I got them from
Scale Bugs
Earlier this spring in Albuquerque we had an infestation of moths.  Now that wasn't too awful - but remember that then they lay eggs - the damage occurs when the things hatch out and are hungry.  I've had hole and leaf damage on plants that were never bothered before.  Often with just a little trimming and time the plants will recover.  Sometimes more active measures are needed.
Colorado Potato Beetle
Japanese Beetle


Some of the best and safest helps are insecticidal soap, BT, diatomaceous earth and pyrethum.  Here's a run down on each:

Insecticidal Soap
  • most effective on soft-bodied insects:  aphids, white-flys, spider mites
  • also gets rid of boxelder bugs and Japanese beetles
  • ladybugs and pollinating bees are not very susceptible so they are pretty safe
  • Squash Bug
  • applications only last for about 4 days 
BT  - bacillus thuringiensis
  • a naturally occurring bacterial disease of insects
  • commonly used against caterpillars
  • safe for non-target species
  • degrades in sunlight so only lasts a few days
  • essentially non-toxic
Diatomaceous Earth
  • fossilized remains of marine phyto-plankton
  • works on all hard-shelled bugs (kinda dries them up)
  • has to stay dry to work 
  • also works on spiders and scorpions, ants and roaches
  • so non-toxic that its even allowable as 'organic'
  • try not to breathe it in
  • extracted from flowers in the chrysanthemum family (African daisy)
  • one of the safest pesticides world wide
  • considered organic
  • helps flush insects from their hidey holes so they can get the full effect
  • causes some insects to leave the area
  • degrades in sunlight
  • often combined with insecticidal soap or neem oil
  • use with care as this can also hurt beneficial bugs

No comments:

Post a Comment