Organic Pest Management 101
It’s getting warm out there and that means all those little critters are out and about trying to destroy your garden…
What’s an organic gardener to do, when we don’t believe in poisons or pesticides? Well here some of the typical pest you are bound to see this season, and some of the best know remedies to combat them organically.
In your arsenal you should have a Pump Sprayer, Neem Oil, Citrus Oil, Doctor Bonner’s Liquid Peppermint Soap, Liquid Seaweed, Liquid Molasses, Diotomatious Earth, BT – Bacillus thuringiensis, Garlic-Pepper-Seaweed Spray, Slug-O, and Vacuum Cleaner. With a combination of these items you can defend your garden from almost any pest! Here’s how to conquer each one…
Aphids- Those tiny little green bugs on the back of your veggie leaves sucking out the juices, causing leaf curling and stunted growth.
Solutions – Strong blast of water, garlic-pepper tea, liquid seaweed, and ladybugs. Citrus oil can be used in extreme cases.
The Cabbage Loopers – aka. The Inch Worm, know for eating all your brassicas, as well as, parsley, peas, potatoes, lettuce, beans, and tomatoes. They are known for making your veggies look like swiss cheese.
Solution – Spray with BT and liquid molasses once a week in the evenings.
The Cucumber Beetle – Looks like and elongate yellow ladybug. Know for eating veggie flowers and foliage, as well as transmitting bacteria wilt and cucumber mosaic. Adults eat plant leaves, while larva attack the roots.
Solutions – Garlic-pepper-seaweed spray. For extreme cases use neem oil or citrus oil.
Fire Ants – Ow! Although fire ants bit and are know for damaging electrical devices and killing baby animals they also have some benefits. So think about it before you use these methods… On the plus side, they eat ticks, chiggers, termites, flies, fleas, and cockroaches as well as many other things. They also help process organic matter.
Solutions – Diatomaceous Earth on dry days and a mix of compost tea, molasses and citrus oil anytime.
The Leafhopper – Cute little wedge-shaped insects with triangular heads, generally brown or green but sometimes brightly colored. Know for sucking the juices out of stems and leaves causing a mottled appearance.
Solutions – Strong blast of water or citrus oil.
The Mexican Bean Beetle – Looks like a yellow ladybug but don’t be deceived they are after your beans. They will eat all the leaves creating a skeleton effect.
Solutions – Garlic-pepper-tea or neem oil.
The Roly-Poly – Also very cute and fun to play with. They mainly eat organic matter and are beneficial to your garden ecosystem, but sometimes they get hungry and go for young plants.
Solutions – Sprinkle coarse red pepper flakes and Diatomaceous Earth around the base of your transplants to prevent possible attack.
The Snail and the Slug – Slimy little critters with or without shells, that eat mostly decaying organic matter but also will go after your favorite veggies.
Solutions – Crushed red pepper, Diatomaceous Earth, citrus oil, and coffee grounds sprinkled over mulch. You can also create snail traps with banana peals, apple cores, or beer left in pie plates at ground level. But the easiest solution is to go out and get some Slug-O!
The Spider Mite – Effected leaves turn silvery yellow and are covered with a thin web.
Solutions – Water properly. If you have good soil and your plants are being watered properly you shouldn’t have a problem. Spraying just about any organic solution every three days for with a total of four application should knock’em out of the park!
The Squash Bug – Looks like a longer version of the stink bug. Know for attacking cucumbers, squash, and melons.
Solutions – Crush the copper colored eggs found on the back of your veggie leaves. Spray with compost tea or molasses for more serious infestations.
The Squash Borer – A pretty narrow winged black and red moth with white caterpillars with brown heads. The larva are know for tunneling into the base of your squash vines, causing the whole plant to wilt and die.
Solutions – Look for the larva regularly. Then cut it out of the vine with a sharp knife. Or option two plant more squash… For some reason squash bores only attack small crops, you wont find them on production farms.
The Stink Bug – That bug your little brother taunted you with… brown, gray, or green shield shaped bugs. Know for going after you beans, peas, cabbage, corn, okra, squash, and tomatoes.
Solution – Squish it or suck it up with a vacuum cleaner.
The Tobacco Hornworm & The Tomato Hornworm – Both of these big, green caterpillars are know for going after your nigh shade veggies, aka tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. The Tobacco Hornworm caterpillars are big and green with diagonal white lines with a red tail. The Tomato Hornworm looks identical but has a black tail. These buggers can defoliate a plant over night!
Solutions – Go out at night and look for these feeders. Squish them! If you have an extreme case spray with BT and molasses.
Well that’s all folks… We hope that helps with your organic pest management. Let us know if you would like us to hook you up with any of the above mentioned solutions. OR you can always schedule a maintenance visit and we’ll gladly come out and attack your bugs for you!
Happy Pest Free Gardening!