Summer is almost here and with it comes plant pests and diseases. You want to fight back, but want to try to be more Earth friendly. Here are few tips to help you get started controlling pests and diseases naturally.
First, you know the world is full of insects and you have to expect them. There are a number of insects and things that do good in our yards and gardens; Lady bugs, wasps, Praying Mantis, Green Lace Wings, Beneficial Nematodes to name a few. The bottom line, not all insects are bad. The best way to fight insects is to develop an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) type of approach to your lawn and garden. IPM is not a single pest control method but, rather, a series of pest management evaluations, decisions and controls. In practicing IPM, homeowners who are aware of the potential for pest infestation follow a four-tiered approach. The four steps include:
*Set Action Thresholds
Before taking any pest control action, IPM first sets an action threshold, a point at which pest populations or environmental conditions indicate that pest control action must be taken. Sighting a single pest does not always mean control is needed. The level at which pests will either become an economic threat is critical to guide future pest control decisions.
*Monitor and Identify Pests
Not all insects, weeds, and other living organisms require control. Many organisms are innocuous, and some are even beneficial. IPM programs work to monitor for pests and identify them accurately, so that appropriate control decisions can be made in conjunction with action thresholds. This monitoring and identification removes the possibility that pesticides will be used when they are not really needed or that the wrong kind of pesticide will be used.
As a first line of pest control, IPM programs work to manage the crop, lawn, or indoor space to prevent pests from becoming a threat. This may mean using cultural methods, selecting pest-resistant varieties, planting top-notch rootstock, proper planting and spacing. These control methods can be very effective and cost-efficient and present little to no risk to people or the environment.
Once monitoring, identification, and action thresholds indicate that pest control is required, and preventive methods are no longer effective or available, IPM programs then evaluate the proper control method both for effectiveness and risk. Effective, less risky pest controls are chosen first, including highly targeted chemicals, such as pheromones to disrupt pest mating, or mechanical control, such as trapping or weeding. If further monitoring, identifications and action thresholds indicate that less risky controls are not working, then additional pest control methods would be employed, such as targeted spraying of pesticides. Broadcast spraying of non-specific pesticides is a last resort.
You have to develop a “threshold” for insect tolerance. Once that threshold has been met and control desired, you may want to try a good blast of water, Insecticidal Soap, Horticultural Oils, or Pyrethrins. As with any insecticide, care must be taken with each of these options. Though Pyrethrins come from Chrysanthemums, they are toxic to bees and other pollinators. Some Horticultural Oils will burn the leaves on some plants.
There is no perfect solution to pest control. The ability to use more Earth friendly options is better for us, our rivers, good insects and other animals.
For more information, stop into the store, tell us your problem and we’ll help you through it.