Using Insects For Pest Control: A Handy Guide

Here are three simple reasons why chemical pesticides are useless for your garden and inconvenient for you in the long run.

First, pests adapt easily and over 500 species are known to develop resistance to chemicals.

Second, in a lot of cases, pesticides also affect and kill the good insects in your garden. When this happens, the balance of microorganisms in the garden takes a hit, with one kind of insect taking advantage of the excess food and breeding in large numbers.

Third, a combination of the above two reasons prompt chemical pesticides to go bigger and stronger with their products making pesticides terrible for the environment and hard on your wallet. There is a simple solution to this chain of events. Simply use other insects as a form of pest control. There are a wide variety of beneficial bugs, wasps and mites that prey upon a majority of common garden pests.

A good example of such a bug is the shiny ladybird. Releasing beneficial insects into your garden can be an effective way to battle your pest problem. However, this solution requires a little consideration and planning. Let’s break it down.

Setting your expectations, doing your research and documenting results

A good garden has all sorts of insects and there will be some wear and tear involved, for these to survive. Make your peace with a small amount of damage in your garden. Sometimes it isn’t economical or practical to target each and every pest. Target your primary pest. Since this is your first time with this conventional farming method, keep a careful note of all the results so that you can plan a better strategy for the months ahead.

Select the species of beneficial insect

After you’ve identified your primary pest, identify both the stage at which it will be easy to eliminate them and what beneficial insect will prey on them. The Trichogramma wasp is a parasite for butterfly eggs which can be used to slow down the number of leaf-munching caterpillars in the garden. Releasing this predator into your garden takes care of your caterpillar problem before the creatures even emerge from the egg.

Time the introduction of beneficial insects

In the example above, there is no point in releasing the Trichogramma wasp into your garden after the caterpillars have hatched. Similarly, make sure the pest is present when you release the predator. You should find out the stage at which your predator is ready to do its job too. Don’t wait until your pest population is too high either. Timing is everything in this method of pest control.

Proper application

Handle your predators carefully and make sure they are healthy when you release them into your garden. You can manually release them into the ground for a small garden or release them aerially to cover a large area.

Keep your predators happy

Maintain an environment that is friendly toward your predator before you release them. If you’re a first timer, don’t try to breed your predators yourself. Purchase them from a reputed insectarium that will ensure that they are kept in conditions that suit them before they are sent to you. Make sure you understand how the insects will be shipped to you and how you should handle them when they reach you.

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