Natural Pest Control? - Knowledgebase Question

West Salem, Oh
Question by captarlo5
June 30, 2010
Hi. I am trying to grow a vegetable garden and we live in the woods. My efforts are thrwarted by bugs and I need a natural method to protect what is still growing. Any suggestions are welcomed and thank you.


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Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010

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I apologize for the delay in responding. We were flooded with questions and are working to catch up! In most gardens there's a balance of beneficial insects and destructive insects. Once a population of bad guys gets established, a crew of good guys usually shows up. Since you're growing organically, you'll probably want the insects to battle it out, with the good guys gaining control. You can encourage beneficials by having something in bloom at all times (herb flowers are great for attracting beneficials), and by avoiding the use of pesticides (which will kill good guys as well as bad guys). Even organic (botanically derived) pesticides can harm beneficial insects and should be used only as a last resort.

I always start with the simplest method first, and if that isn't successful, move on from there. For example, aphids can be controlled with a blast of water from the hose. Ladybugs and their larvae are voracious eaters of aphids, which often attack veggies. They often "arrive" a week or two after the aphids, so not spraying with chemicals is a good idea if you'd like to attract them to your garden to consume aphids for you. If that doesn't work, insecticidal soaps are made from plant-derived fatty acids and target soft-bodied insects. Check your plants out carefully (you may even need a magnifying glass) and write back describing what's eating them, and we can provide you with a more specific answer that targets that insect. Good luck!

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