Pest Management

I. Understanding that a balance of both beneficial and “pesty” insects is natural in any garden a. the presence of a pest does not necessarily indicate an imbalance or need for action b. some plants will get chewed on - part of life cycles and gardening. “Acceptable losses” II. Use preventative cultural methods to avoid pest infestations a. healthy soil --> healthy plants is best defense. Insects attracted to weak plants b. crop rotation c. planting suitable cultivars to your region, with bred resistances d. removal of infested plants - not composted or left to spread disease in garden III. Learn to identify pests - know your garden insects! Use books, online web images, ask your neighbor gardeners or local farmer. IV. Monitor pest presence carefully over time. Are plants recovering? Do you see the pest multiplying? Assess damages, make a plan of action. Start small and simple. A. Mechanical control methods • hand-picking/removal with a strong stream of water. Be consistent for good results • barriers (cover young seedlings with cloth/plastic, etc) • tillage of soils to disrupt over-wintering life cycles of some insects B. Biological controls - introducing beneficial insects/animals and planting species that attract beneficial insects. 1. - lady bugs (eat aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, spider mites) • ground beetles - black guys in compost (eat cutworms, slugs/snails, root maggots) • parasitic wasps (control aphids - creating puffy white or brown aphid “mummies”, also hornworms and cabbage loopers) • syrphid/hover flies (control aphids) • tachinid flies - look like house flies (eat cabbage loopers, cutworms, coddling moths, etc) • lacewings - brown or green, delicate oval wings (control aphids, spidermites, whiteflies) • soldier beetles- long slender brown and orange bodies, 1/2-1/4” long (just great) • toads - create a habitat with a broken, overturned pot and a small dish of water. 2. How to attract them? Plant a wide array of plants (especially blooms and herbs)! • plant blooming flowers, both short (thyme, oregano) that help out beetles, and tall (cosmos, daisies, sunflowers, zinnias) that attract beneficial pollinators and wasps/flies

- other plants to draw beneficials/repel pests include - yarrow, dill, fennel that are allowed to go to seed, as well as nasturtium, marigolds, and most aromatic herbs (rosemary, oregano, MINT, sage, hyssop, chives, basil) -- Jacob, for more ideas see: http://gardening.about.com/od/naturalorganiccontrol/a/Companion_2.htm • Allow a few of your veggies to go to seed (ex. broccoli, carrot) C. Chemical controls - ditch the general “insecticides” that kill everything! • soap sprays for aphids (about 3 TBSP dishsoap or other non-detergent soap to 1 gal water). Spray top and bottom of leaves • garlic or hot-pepper spray for aphids (careful not to clog your sprayer!) V. Plant families and their most common pests A. Nightshade (tomato, pepper, eggplant, etc) • Tomato hornworm - green and yellow caterpillar, morphs to light brown moth. Feed on leaves, leaving black and white poop. Parasitized by beneficial wasps, white sacs on their backs are wasp eggs- let them live! Borage, pot marigold deters. • Flea Beetle - tiny flea-like hopper, leaves tiny pin-holes in foliage. Clean up plant debris in winter to control and support plants’ growing conditions for natural defenses. Mint/catmint repels. • Earwigs. Generally not serious, but monitor carefully and hand-pick when possible. • Aphids - light gray, green or red may appear. Wipe/spray them off, soap or garlic spray helps. Parasitized by beneficial wasps. Look for puffy white aphids and allow them to remain on plants to hatch wasps. Chives, coriander, nasturtium deters. B. Mustard family (cabbage, kale, brocc, brussels, etc) • Cabbage loopers/worms - small green caterpillars, morph to white moth w small spots. Small yellow eggs on leaf surface. Handpick caterpillars/squish eggs. Parasitized by beneficial wasps/flies, look for white sacs on back of caterpillar. Mint, oregano, rosemary,sage, etc deters. • Cabbage root maggots - flies and small white maggots at soil surface. • Aphids - usually gray C. Curcubits (squash, pumpkins, melons, cucumbers) • Squash bugs - angular brown bugs with orange markings, 1/4” long. Light gray when young. Handpick them, nasturtium deters. D. Legumes (peas and beans) • Bean Beetle - ladybug look-alike! Handpick. Marigold, rosemary, nasturtium dters. • Aphids - light green or gray. E. Other general pests • cutworms- small squishy brown caterpillar at soil surface, will eat plant stems. Put a collar of cardboard/hard paper around young transplants. • Ants - attracted to honeydew produced by aphids. Control aphids. Tansy deters. • Slugs and SNAILS! Hand-pick several days in a row, best at night after

dew/fog has set. Look under boards/empty pots. Watch for small pearlylooking eggs and destroy. Introduce ducks/chickens where appropriate. Copper deters, but its expensive.