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Want to start a garden but have bugs

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Want to start a garden but have bugs

Post  Jjkhwaters on 2/23/2013, 5:18 pm

I want to start a SFG but have a bad problem with bugs in the yard, specifically white flies. What can I do to get rid of the bugs so I do not infect the new garden. I want to try to go organic if possible. The yard is small and rather wet. There are flower beds all around the house. Just looking ahead so I do not just create a bigger problem and affect the crop. Thank you for any help and suggestions.

Joshua
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Re: Want to start a garden but have bugs

Post  Unmutual on 2/23/2013, 7:36 pm

http://www.naturescontrol.com/whitefly.html

To provide habitat for lacewings: https://insects.tamu.edu/fieldguide/bimg125.html

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Re: Want to start a garden but have bugs

Post  Pepper on 2/23/2013, 10:19 pm

+1 thanks Unmutual great links.
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Re: Want to start a garden but have bugs

Post  Unmutual on 2/23/2013, 11:44 pm

I just realized that that first link was for sales of predator insects, sorry about that(I'm not endorsing the company and have never bought from them, but it does have good starter info). Buying insects and then releasing them in to your garden is a waste of money IMO. Making a small insectary garden is a cheaper way to go, especially if you start the plants by seed(most of which you can get by walking in to your wild areas). The great thing is that most of the insectary plants provide habitat(and food) for a range of beneficial insects including predators and pollinators, while the plants themselves are usually either perennial or self-seeding annuals.

Note that it can take up to 3 years for the ratio of predator to pest species to become normalized after using pesticides(even organic).

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Re: Want to start a garden but have bugs

Post  Jjkhwaters on 2/24/2013, 8:30 am

Thanks for the information. I will have to stop trying to treat the bugs and let nature work. They are even in the grass.
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Re: Want to start a garden but have bugs

Post  Pollinator on 2/24/2013, 11:27 am

@Unmutual wrote:
Note that it can take up to 3 years for the ratio of predator to pest species to become normalized after using pesticides(even organic).

Truer words were never spoken - and this is what frequently discourages newbies. When balance is out of whack, it takes time to restore it. And if you have yard-fogging neighbors, or area wide mosquito or grasshopper spraying, it may not be possible at all.

The contemporary approach seems to be to make the area sterile - to kill off all insects, whether good or bad. If you are a stockholder in a chemical company, you might like this, because it's an endless (profitable) treadmill.

But in the end, it doesn't work. What usually happens is that we get massive population explosions of a serious pest, because the controls are gone.

There are many insects whose primary food is grasshopper eggs, and there are others who prey upon the nymph and adult forms. When these are killed off by a pesticide application, we are left vulnerable to a single pair of grasshoppers that can fly in from elsewhere and lay enough eggs in one season to bury us.

The same thing can happen with Nature - just not so frequently as it has with human errors. We have always had pickleworm in late summer and fall here in South Carolina, but it's always been a minor pest. In the last three years pickleworm has literally exploded here. In the night, I can walk through my squash and cukes with a flashlight and see dozens of the moths flying around and laying eggs.

The cause? Well I believe it's been because we have also not seen a single bat here in the past three years. We used to always notice the bats come out at dusk, catching the moths, mosquitoes and other night fliers as they swooped around. Now they have died off as a result of a contagious disease. I sure hope that a remnant proves resistant and can repopulate our bats - or we are in trouble!

To be a good gardener, you need to be observant. When you see an insect, don't panic - it may be a good guy! Even if it is a pest to you, it may be important as a food for something else.

Learn to identify each insect in your garden; study their life cycles and their relationships. What are its enemies? Knowledge is power. Once you understand what is going on, you can usually take advantage of natural ways to keep things in balance.

I'm pretty relaxed about garden pests nowadays. When my garden is literally humming, I feed good. My veggies are getting pollinated, and the pests are getting eaten. In recent years, I've seen maybe a half dozen Japanese beetles each year. I can remember when they decimated my grapes and my roses. The only thing I did different was to encourage assassin bugs. They are everywhere in my garden. Japanese beetles don't have a chance. Now they eat a few bees, as well, but they are so plentiful that it doesn't matter.

This attitude means that you'll sometimes have to live with a little damage. But I'd rather have a little damage than have a whole garden out of whack and my food laced with added toxins.
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Re: Want to start a garden but have bugs

Post  CapeCoddess on 2/24/2013, 11:48 am

Great post, Pollinator. I sent it to 5 of my gardening friends, some of whom use 'organic' bug killers.

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Re: Want to start a garden but have bugs

Post  quiltbea on 2/24/2013, 1:27 pm

A note about buying predators........I bought some ladybugs one year and freed them in my garden. They were flying off everywhere and the next day I couldn't find any. I wasted my money that year.

Since then I've learned that if you release predators, do so under a netted cage over some infested plants so they can get used to your area and it'll be their territory. That means keeping them penned anywhere from 3 to 7 days before open release.
These days I think light-weight row cover would also work at keeping predators penned in your garden.
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