Organic Pest Control

ORGANIC PEST CONTROL-Ants, Aphids, Spider Mites, Whitefly.

 

Aphids with their Ant partners

Aphids with their Ant partners

 

Aphids-Don’t waste time. Get rid of aphids the first time you see them; these pests reproduce rapidly. They not only suck the nutrients from a plant but can also spread many deadly plant viruses, including bean mosaic virus and cucumber mosaic virus.

-A simple effective spray for aphids is 120mL (4oz) of dishwashing liquid in 3.8L (0.83gal) of water. For another good spray, mix 15mL (1tbsp) liquid soap and 240 mL ( 1 cup) vegetable oil, then add 10mL (2tsp) of the blend to 3.8L (0.83 gal) of water—but don’t use it on squash, cauliflower, or cabbage, which can suffer leaf burn. When using either recipe spray the plants with the mixture and follow with a spray of water. Wait about 15 minutes and repeat.

  • Blender sprays. Use your blender to make organic aphid killers. Puree three or four jalapeno peppers, three cloves of garlic, and 950mL (1 qt) of water; strain and use as a spray. A mixture of mineral oil and garlic also works. Better still, blend 120mL, (1/2 cup) of aphid bodies with 480mL (2cups) of water; strain and spray. To avoid gathering aphids by hand, simply blend a generous bunch of infested leaves with water.
  • Concerning chemicals. Rotenone-and pyrethrum-based sprays are effective against aphids and relatively harmless to humans (unless ingested or dust exposure). But using them will kill the beneficial insects and earth worms so I don’t advise using them.
  • Sprinkle wood ashes over bushes and low lying plants; they are caustic and will dehydrate and suffocate aphids. Use large-hole shaker—the kind for grated cheese works—or sprinkle them by hand. After a day, wash away the ashes with a hose.

Ladybugs, also called Lady beetles or ladybirds dine heartily on pests in flowerbeds and vegetable gardens yet never damage the plants. But don’t expect them to cure all: their appetites are limited primarily to aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, scale, thrips and whiteflies.

  • Attract ladybugs to your flower beds with marigolds, angelica, butterfly weed, yarrow, roses and goldenrod. In the vegetable garden, good lures include cucumbers, peppers, eggplants and tomatoes.
  • Praying mantises, Hover flies and wasps kill aphids.
  • Lamb’s quarters, a common weed, is an effective aphid toxin.
  • Birds, especially chickadees and house wrens, consume aphids by the thousands.

A rhubarb insecticide. Soak 1.4kg (3lbs) of rhubarb leaves in 3.8 L (4qt) of water for 24 hours. Bring water to a boil for 30 minutes. Add 28g (1oz) of laundry soap flakes and let cool. REMEMBER RHUBARD LEAVES ARE POISONOUS TO HUMANS IF EATEN.

 

ANTS- If you get rid of ants you won’t have aphids!

Pros and cons. Gardeners usually consider ants to be pests. Ants can loosen the soil around youn plants, causing them to die. Some species shelter and protect aphids, who honeydew they feed on. On the positive side, ants can improve air circulation in heavy soils, and their burrows improve water drainage.

  • To get rid of a colony, cover the anthill with a large flowerpot whose drainage hole has been plugged with a cork or wadded plastic wrap. Heat a bucket of water to boiling and flood the surrounding soil, reserving a few gallons of the water. Wait a minute or two for most of the ants to find shelter in the overturned pot, then turn it upright and pour in the remaining water.
  • A mash of hot chilies and water will keep ants away. Another home made repellant is a mix of orange peels and water pureed in your blender and poured diredtly into an anthill early in the morning.
  • Hominy grits work too. They expand in ant’s bodies and finish them off. Leave the grits in piles near insect’s pathways. To make hominy,field corn (maize) grain is dried, then treated by soaking and cooking the mature (hard) grain in a dilute solution of lye, slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) or wood ash, a process termed nixtamalization. The soaked maize is washed, and then ground into masa. When fresh masa is dried and powdered, it becomes masa seca or masa harina.
  • Inside the house, safely repel ants by sprinkling pennyroyal, camphor, clove oil, tansy, spearmint, or broken egg shells on a dish in closets and on shelves.
  • Wrap bands of paper coated with non-drying glue around the base of fruit trees to prevent ants from reaching the fruit. An easy way is to simply fold in half a sheet of adhesive paper-the kind used on shelving-with sticky side out.
  • Ant’s hate aromatic plants like mint, lavender, chives, and garlic. Install these along borders or spot them randomly in clumps and pots around the garden.
  • Create an ant barrier around plants, on front steps, and between garden rows with a sprinkling of agricultural lime, bone meal, or powdered charcoal.

 

excepts from Reader’s Digest, 1001 Hints & Tips for your Garden.

Reader’s Digest Association (Canada) Ltd, Montreal

Spider Mites

Spider mites are tiny sap-sucking pests with red, yellow, green or brown-colored bodies, and typically appear as microscopic spiders or dots that move across the leaf surface. They tend to congregate on the undersides of leaves and insert their mouthparts into tender areas within the tomato plant, sucking out the cell content. White webbing on the leaves, stems and fruit is a sign your tomato plants may be hosting spider mites. Plants under water stress are more likely to come under attack by spider mites than plants with proper irrigation. Spider mites also are most prevalent in hot, dusty conditions and can overwinter under fallen plant debris

 

A simple way to control spider mites is to wash the annoying pests off the tomato plants with a water hose. The strong stream of water will forcefully remove the mites, keeping their numbers under control. However, you may have to repeat the treatment every few days to eradicate the mites from the tomatoes.

When spider mites strike, you can fight back without resorting to strong chemicals. Mild dish soap mixed with water is an insecticide that coats soft-bodied insects, such as spider mites, essentially suffocating them.

  1. Spoon 2 tablespoons of a mild, liquid, non-detergent, non-degreaser dish soap into a 1-gallon jar. Fill the remainder of the jar with warm tap water.
  2. Secure the lid on the jar. Shake the jar thoroughly, blending the soap with the water. Pour the mixture into a clean spray bottle.
  3. Spray a plant leaf’s spider mite infestation directly with the dish soap-water mixture until the pests are saturated and the mixture drips slightly from the leaf. Repeat the procedure for other spider mite-infested leaves. Avoid spraying healthy parts of the plant.

4 .Allow the dish soap-water mixture to sit on the sprayed leaves for two to three hours. Rinse the mixture from the sprayed leaves with cool, clean water.

  1. Discard the leftover dish soap-water mixture. Prepare a fresh batch of the mixture just before each future application. Reapply the dish soap-water spray once each week until no more spider mites are on the plant.

Another non-chemical method to controlling spider mites is utilizing beneficial insects that prey on the mites. Spider mite destroyer lady beetle and minute pirate bug are a few of the insects that attack spider mites. Adding annual  — such as parsley (Petroselinum crispum) and sunflower (Helianthus annuus) — will lure beneficial insects to your garden.

As the spider mites feed upon the tomato plants, small dots will appear where the mites inserted their mouthpart. Their feeding results in poor plant growth, loss of vigor and discolored leaves that may drop from the plant. Thankfully, damage is rarely life threatening to the tomato plants unless the infestation is severe. However, if the infestation is large and the loss of leaves is significant, the plant may experience poor yield.

 

Organic Whitefly Control

  • Aluminum reflective mulch repels whiteflies by making it difficult for them to find host plants. This is a good way to protect tomatoes and peppers from diseases spread by whiteflies. Here is a video re aluminum silver reflective mulch. Not sure if you would be able to buy it there? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INtYkPN30Bg
  • Use yellow sticky traps to monitor or collect whiteflies lurking among tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes or cabbage family crops. A half-and-half mixture of petroleum jelly and dishwashing detergent, spread over small boards painted bright yellow, is sticky enough to catch little whiteflies.
  • Blast whiteflies from leaf undersides with a strong jet of water. Then apply a weak solution of insecticidal soap, preferably late in the afternoon. Repeat after one week. Insecticidal soaps don’t contain the same chemicals as those environmental nightmare pesticides you’ve probably heard about. Most are made with potassium salts, which are much safer than organophosphates and other neurotoxic pesticides linked to environmental and health problems. They’re actually much more similar to regular old household soap than anything else, and some formulations are even listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute, which means that they’re allowed for use on certified organic farms. They’re not completely without downsides, though. They can irritate your skin and eyes, and if you overuse them, they might end up killing your plants, so make sure you follow the instructions.
  • A small vacuum is the best way to remove whiteflies from plants because it will remove both nymphs and larvae. If you have chickens, allow them to peck through infested plant foliage before you compost it.
  • Never use chemical insecticides in attempt to control whiteflies. Many strains are pesticide-resistant, but their predators are not. You may accidentally kill many beneficial insects, and the whiteflies will bounce right back. Neem oil also works to control white flies but does not harm beneficial bugs like lady bugs.

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