Break The Pest Cycle

gvb's been at my berriesThe heat, all that tasty food, a bit of plant stress = pests!

Here are two ways to bust inside that egg-larvae-adult-sex-birth cycle, and keep numbers down.

1. A Daily Harvest

So simple, so obvious – harvest daily. Get out every morning with your bowl and remove the newly ripe. What a difference!

Berries for example. Plucking a newly ripe berry with a tiny hole is a small victory. Left another day that tiny hole becomes several and now you’ve invited in a whole new guild of pest. Perhaps begun by a shield bug, taken over by fruit flies = raspberries full of worms. Blech!

Carrots are another goody. The larvae of carrot fly will continue to munch holes until you harvest. In the summer it’s smart to get those carrots up as soon as they are ready.

Remove The Food Source, Starve The Pests

harvest

Dinner is the very thing every living thing on earth needs to build a strong population. A daily harvest removes the pest’s dinner  – slowing down those munching, sucking critters  – and brings you yours … food in it’s prime.

And it keeps you in the loop – akin to that daily walk I go on about. Don’t underestimate the value of squashing one or two pests each day, of finding problems at their genesis when the solutions are simple.

Remove The Not So Great As Well

  • Where no pests/ disease reside I drop the overripe, and the funky beneath the crop as a thank you and a lovely completion of the cycle.
  • Where pest or disease reside these extras (including the pest laden), go to the pig or chooks. Leave them in situ and you are fostering that which you don’t which to foster. Providing homes, nesting sites and safety for the very things you want gone.

2. Neem

a healthy colony of aphidsDo not wait until an epidemic occurs … time is of the essence when dealing with pests that multiply like wildfire. Neem is your friend. When ingested, it ruins childbearing and digestive abilities. A major difference to the touch-it-and-die, knock-everything-dead killers like pyrethrum, rhubarb or garlic.

Neem only damages those that eat the plant – not those that touch it/ land on it. Only the foes eat the plant. All our garden friends are safe here 🙂 Cast indiscriminate (albeit natural) poisons aside and reach for the Neem.

  • Spray every week/fortnight (depending on the severity of your problem) in a religious fashion to keep up with new eggs hatching until the aphids/ thrips etc ebb away.
  • Then again at the first stirrings of new populations throughout the summer.
  • Be polite, and spray in the evening when the bees have gone to bed, or in the morning before they come to work.

The Right Tools For The Job

  • Not all Neem is created equal… The Neem I recommend is here.
  • And get a backpack sprayer. My left bicep, in particular, is in love with my battery powered one (Silvan). No more one-sided work outs! My wallet is too – constant pressure makes spray go alot further. Efficient and easy … no wonder I’m in love!
  • Crop covers (0.6mm weave) do a great job of keeping pests off your crops, but you need to clean up the established population first.

Beneficial Insects Make All The Difference

ladybugs hibernating

There are a crew of beneficials available – not just bees and ladybirds! Feed ’em and they will come. House them and they will stay. Well worth having on your team, to take care of the bulk of the pest management, leaving you to get on with other things.

Have you got plenty of nectar/ pollen rich flowers on the go?

 

Comments

  1. Can you please advise the model of the Silvan backpack sprayer? I can’t see it on their website. Where did you get yours from?

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