The Q&A Archives: Insects and Vegetables

Question: What do I need to buy so my veggies won't be eaten by insects? They never get to develop all the way.

Answer: If there were a miracle spray that would take care of every chewing or sucking insect, the manufacturer would become an instant millionaire. Insects of all kinds are beneficial in some way, so killing them all off would be a disservice to mankind and to the plant kingdom. Rather than eliminate insects from your garden, try working them to your advantage. If you have a variety of plants flowering at one time, your garden will attract predacious and parasitic insects who will feed on the more destructive types of insects. You need insects in your garden to help pollinate the flowers which will develop into fruits. So, instead of spraying everything and thereby killing off the good guys along with the bad guys, identify the insects and treat them individually - either by hand picking, or with a biocontrol like a bacterium or a botanical (plant derived) spray. These are environmentally friendly products with little residue left to harm beneficial insects. Insect control is not an easy task, but if you're persistent you'll eventually win the battle against the more destructive pests in the garden.

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