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Organic Pest Control

April 20, 2012

ladybird2.jpgWhenever I see a ladybird in the garden I pick it up carefully and place it on a plant that is being attacked by aphids. The ladybird can then feast happily and save my plant from being vandalised.

I, like many gardeners, don’t like using toxic chemical pesticides, as some pesticides not only kill off the harmful pests but also the useful garden visitors too.

So what’s a better solution to save pest damage in our gardens?

Well, why not let nature help out instead? Pests themselves have enemies and understanding who the good and bad guys are in the insect world can help maintain and balance nature in the garden.

Creating a garden that is attractive to natural good predators will provide a base for organic pest control.

Many of the pest-consuming insects also need to eat pollen and nectar, and single open flowers are the best for attracting them as many of these small insects cannot reach into deep multi-petal flowers. Also try to have plants that flower early spring and autumn as well as the summer flowering plants to provide a constant supply of pollen and nectar food source.

Trees and shrubs are useful to provide homes for the garden’s allies. Remember that some of these allies are ground dwelling and like to live in dark, moist condition below ground cover or under mulch.

We all know and love the little dainty ladybird but not all the good guys of the insect world are as attractive. Centipedes and the shiny black ground beetle, although not as pretty as the ladybird, also get my support as they go around eating the slugs and snails.

The garden spider will make a meal of aphids, files, thrips and caterpillars. If you laygardenblog79.jpg a two inch deep mulch of dried grass clippings around your vegetables the garden spider will quite happily move in and reduce pest damage to your veg.

Hover-files have similar markings to that of the wasp. One way you can tell the difference is that hover-files have only one pair of wings and so they can remain static in flight. Hover-files have a healthy appetite and can eat up to fifty aphids a day; they also eat spider mites and caterpillars.

Lacewings are green coloured insects with delicate transparent wings with a lace pattern hence their name and their diet includes aphids, mites, beetles, leafhoppers, scale insects and caterpillars.

The parasitic wasp does not look like a normal wasp; it is smaller, mostly black and with long antennae. They give their prey an unpleasant ending by laying their eggs in the body of the pest, which then acts as food for the developing larvae.

So next time you need to consider pest control in your garden, enlist the help of the ‘good guys’ of the insect world use mother nature to help cut down pest damage in your garden.

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