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Thread: Pest Control Without Pesticide

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    Future Senior Member? Rollicks's Avatar
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    Default Pest Control Without Pesticide

    I've read about putting straw or mulch down below your plants to create a home for spiders and other bugs that eat bad bugs. Anyone know about this or other practices that might help out?

    I've released ladybugs, and they seem to work on some bugs, but not all. I have a number of them and some adolescent ones hanging about.

    I've also read about spraying your plants with soapy water, something about it clogs up the exoskeleton of insects making it hard to breathe and they just die. Sounds good, but I don't want to kill the ladybugs.

    Then I heard about putting down oats, something about it makes slugs get sick, but I'm worried that it will attract the rabbits and squirrels.

    In the apple orchards that I visit, they put pantyhose on the apples to prevent pests from burrowing into the fruit.

    There's also a bug called an Aphid Eater, it's a wasp that likes to sting and paralyze aphids and stuff 'em into a teeny tiny hole so the baby wasps have live food when they emerge.

    Are there any weeds that all the bad bugs are attracted to that I could plant, so that they leave my garden alone? For that matter, are there any plants that deter bugs. I'd gladly sacrifice my time and some plants that I don't care about to protect everything I do care about.

    What are the things that you've tried, that you swear by?


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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    I don't know if you have cut worms...that will "cut" off a pepper tomato plant when young...planting in a can ring or even placing a nail along side stem works well.
    Pick off potato bugs and drop in can with a little kerosene.

    If you have slugs....many people put out shallow pans with beer.....I would rather drink the beer while walking around with a flashlight, and salting down any slug I see...the melt.
    Boards laid between rows will collect slugs under them.....turn them over and salt.

    Marigolds and nasturtium planted around garden does repel pests.......seems to work.
    Marigold do attract earwigs though......pieces of conduit piping laid in tween rows will attract earwigs....dump out a smash.
    Conduit used as plant or row markers will house spiders, whose webs will kelp with cabbage worms....as do the larger hornets.

    Oak leaves buried in a trench under carrots, radishes will keep out root maggots...

    A cat will keep out mice.....mice stripped my sweet corn the year after the last cat died....and every year since.
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    There are all kinds of things you can do. Do they work? Only sometimes.
    I use marigolds but mostly to draw in bees.

    I companion plant onions and carrots together which seems to confuse the root maggots and the onion thrips.

    To keep cabbage moths from laying eggs on the broccoli and cabbage, I strew ground up peppermint and spearmint leaves. Grind em up good though because a stem will root in a couple days and once mint takes off, it takes over. Also to get rid of cabbage moth worms, I encourage paper wasps and yellow jackets to hang around the garden. I've actually seen yellow jackets patrol the broccoli plants looking for the worms. They fly up and down all along the stem and leaves and will dive in to grab the worms. Fun to watch. To keep the wasps around I keep some old pine boards along the fence and keep them kind of moist so the grain raises. The wasps like to chew them for paper-making.

    I plant radishes in with my cucurbit plants (squashes, pumpkins and cucumbers.) I let them bolt and flower to bring in bees and the seed pods are pretty tasty. Not sure why the radishes keep the potato bugs away. You could also plant a sacrificial crop outside the garden to draw them away too. The potato beetles love the 6 ground cherry plants I put against the house every year and most go there. I just scrape them off into a can of soapy water when I get home before sunset. So who knows if it is the ground cherries or the radishes...

    Birds will be more attracted to mulberry fruit than they are to other soft fruits so having a fruiting mulberry may save your cherries, raspberries and blackberries - if you can live with the mess. Might want to get white mulberry so the birds aren't crapping purple all over your or your neighbors' car. Gotta be careful you don't end up attracting more pests into your garden. Plant such things far away from your crop area.

    Diotomaceous earth works on slugs. But it also kills beneficial insects. Wood ashes will work too if your crop can take a lime soil. I salted a slug once. Horrible way to go. Beer in a shallow tray works pretty good, but I put the tray well outside the garden. Last thing I want is a bunch of slugs traveling through the good stuff to get to the beer. And I cover the tray with a box. The last thing I want is drunken skunks and foxes. I use planting boards so there are always boards out there for them to crawl under and I can just pick them off in the morning or evening into that same can of soapy water that the potato beetles (and the orange lily beetles) go into.

    Chives seem to keep sawflies away from apple and peach trees. Sometimes. Last year it didn't work so well. Maybe was a bumper sawfly year. I might try spraying with chive juice this year. I can't imagine putting pantyhose on a million apples on my three small trees, let alone an orchardful.

    You can use a garlic spray on roses to keep aphids away. I'd rather smell the roses so I just use a diluted dish soap on the aphids. Or a smothering horticultural oil spray.

    Burning oak leaves in a greenhouse drives out whitefly.

    The only thing that keeps out rodents is either a good fence or a good pellet gun and neighbors that look the other way. The whole thing about geraniums or marigolds keeping rabbits out has never been something that worked for me. The fence works. Chipmunks are suckers for peanut butter in rat traps.

    Cut up chunks of rhubarb, about 4 pieces, put in the planting hole with young broccoli plants seems to prevent club root caused by nematodes. I freeze some of my rhubarb to use for this purpose in the spring.

    I'm lucky to live by a lake so we have plenty of dragonflies. Another thing that helps is having a pheobe bird around. Or better a pair of them with a nest that is not on a house fixture. Messy birds. If you put a tall stick planted in your lawn they perch on top and eat a lot of garden bugs. Be sure the pole is taller than your pole bean poles and outside your garden or you get pheobe crap all over your beans.

    It's very important to rotate your crops too so pests don't settle in early next year.

    If someone has a deterent for stink bugs, I'm all ears. They decimated my squash last year. This year I've been hoovering them with a dust buster and the squash are planted clear on the other side of the house from last year.
    If we are to have another contest in…our national existence I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon's, but between patriotism & intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition & ignorance on the other…
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    The first thing you need to do is figure out what pests are a problem. You are looking for a broad spectrum solution when you should target specific pests that are causing you problems. Once you know your enemy then you can figure out what strategy(ies) work best to combat them.

    @ Lowkey - If you've tried the dishsoap and water attack and don't want to use Diotomaceous earth you might consider Kaolin Clay. There are also pheromone sprays specific to stink bugs.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    LowKey, good stuff.......

    To all.....Best reference I have found and followed a lot, is Rodale's Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening.....
    http://www.amazon.com/Rodales-All-Ne.../dp/0875965997
    They get really nuts about organic methods, and I use many of them....but don't consider myself a total organic gardener.

    and:
    Ruth Stout many books on straw and hay mulch...

    http://www.amazon.com/Gardening-With...rk+garden+book
    Not putting poisons in your body, spending a lot of money on chemicals, and reusing grass, leaves and chipped wood from bush as mulch.
    Used to shred and compost everything.....but with the tomato blight hitting around here, crop rotation and disposing the nightshade plants plants are now a big deal.
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    Soapstone dust....see if you can find somebody that does stone sculptures, they'll have tons of the stuff. You sprinkle it around the plant bases. Keeps the slugs off.

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    Future Senior Member? Rollicks's Avatar
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    Wow. Thanks everybody, I guess I've got a lot of reading to do before I do anything! I think I'll catalogue the plants in our neighborhood and figure out what kind of pests are attracted to them and study the bugs. This is really cool.

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    Really very helpful. Thanks for sharing.

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    Junior Member Starmie's Avatar
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    Many amphibians or reptiles, such as lizards or frogs, will happily gobble up your insect problem. Backyard birds will often do the same. It's important to create a safe, healthy habitat for such animals to live. Keep your cats indoors, set up a birdhouse or maintain a small water source (something that can be easily cleaned in case of mosquitoes). You may even consider creating an entire habitat and purchasing frogs naturally found in your area that can set up house in your yard. But be sure you never introduce an animal not normally found in your area!

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    Junior Member Starmie's Avatar
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    Introduce some beneficial creatures

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    Senior Member WalkingTree's Avatar
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    Isn't it the old dish "detergent", as opposed to today's dish "soap", which is effective against garden insects?

    Anybody had much success with Praying Mantis? http://www.naturescontrol.com/prayingmantis.html
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    @ Starmie - Just realize when you introduce frogs and amphibians you also open the door to their predators. Not discounting your information, just want folks to realize that where there are frogs and amphibians then snakes may also be found.

    @ Walking Tree - Dawn works just fine. It is the fatty acids in the detergent/soap that dissolves the exoskeleton of buggers like aphids, spider mites, etc.

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    Praying mantises start out pretty darn small. You'll be very lucky if one or two reach adulthood in your garden.
    Once, back when I was in high school, I found a bunch of those frothy egg cases in a field. Brought home a couple and just had em in a jar on the shelf (didn't know what they were.) Then they hatched. Hundreds of those tiny buggers, all at once. They eat each other, given the chance.
    https://youtu.be/0MV5mb0RJLY
    Last edited by LowKey; 12-01-2016 at 08:14 PM.
    If we are to have another contest in…our national existence I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon's, but between patriotism & intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition & ignorance on the other…
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    I put one of the egg cases in my garden years ago and when it hatched there were no mantises to be found. Later, I found out the first thing they do after hatching is high tail it out of there because the adults eat them. So much for my grand plan of organic pest control.

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    Senior Member WalkingTree's Avatar
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    Dawn...cool, thanks.

    Hehe...praying mantis - "Uh hello? I want my money back on them thar mantisis. They're faulty. When they hatched, they all ran away. Had a big ole garden for em, but they all just took off. They're not supposed to do that."

    I wonder if it's worth the trouble, and if it works, if a person had a separate enclosed space full of foliage to allow the things to grow some and get more comfy, then somehow get them into your general garden area later.
    Last edited by WalkingTree; 12-06-2016 at 08:21 AM.
    The pessimist complains about the wind;
    The optimist expects it to change;
    The realist adjusts the sails.

    - William Arthur Ward

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    I still think much of the natural, organic methods do work ...To a point...But really think it's more theory and wishful thinking.

    Never tried the praying mantis ...but used to pay neighborhood kids .05 cents each for ladybugs.....to eat the aphids.

    When they ran away...the kids caught them again and brought them back for another nickel....LOL
    Now we have LADYBUGS from HE!! (Asian beetles) and scoop the dead ones up with a coal shovel.....
    But
    Don't have any aphids......
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
    Evoking the 50 year old rule...
    First 50 years...worried about the small stuff...second 50 years....Not so much
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