Garden Pest Control Using Natural Allies
Garden pest control can be accomplished by encouraging allies that feed on the pest. Learn what they are and how they help.
There is a natural and simple way to combat pests in your garden by encouraging natural allies that feed on the pest. Today many gardeners are unknowingly killing or destroying the natural habitats of garden allies such as black snakes, garden spiders, toads, praying mantis, ladybugs, lacewing flies and parasitic wasp. Stocking your garden with beneficial insects is the most natural way to protect your plants and insure a healthy harvest.
Eggs for the praying mantis are sold at most garden supply stores. These insects pray on several different garden pest such as larvea and most caterpillar forms. Ladybugs released in the garden will eat aphids, mites, scale insects and more. Toads are well known insect eliminators. They can be encouraged by placing an inverted flower pot in the garden and a small water supply. Like the toad, birds such as the purple martin will happily rid you of many garden pest. A special birdhouse for these beneficial predators near your garden will attract their attention. The trichogramma wasp is well known for laying eggs inside the eggs of many species of caterpillar so the wasp larvae can feed on and destroy the caterpillar eggs.
Biological forms of insect control can also be beneficial to your garden. Milky spore disease seeds or Bacillus popilliae can be applied to the garden to control the grubs of such insects as the Japanese beetle, rose chafer and others. When these insects ingest the spore seeds they become diseased and die, which also aids in reducing the food supply for moles. It is good to know that none of the natural predators listed in this article are harmful to humans. Although it is a gardeners nature to destroy a spider or snake found in the garden, you would do well to allow the insect eating black snake and garden spider to coexist within your garden space, orchard or berry patch. Bacillus thuringiensis, or what is know as BT, infects several species of destructive caterpillars including the gypsy moth and cabbage worm. BT is a bacterium that can be applied to the garden as a spray and last for seven days. Neither BT or milky spore seeds are harmful to your natural garden predators or to humans.