With the arrival of warm weather your garden will soon be invaded by many of the garden bad bugs. Aphids, tomato worms, cucumber beetles and squash bugs will soon be invading your garden.
Check your garden carefully and often. At the first sign of insects or insect damage go on the defense and attack the critters. Show no mercy!
Tried-and-true organic methods for getting rid of aphids:
1. If you have a small infestation, simply wipe the aphids off with your hand or a soft cloth. Check back every day or two and repeat until you stop seeing them.
2. A blast of water from the hose is often all you need to get rid of aphids. Again, you’ll want to repeat this after a couple of days if you see any more aphids on your plants. Be sure to spray the underside of plant leafs.
3. Insecticidal soap works very well on aphids, and is a good choice if you find that wiping or spraying them off with water just isn’t cutting it. Make sure you get the undersides of the leaves, too that’s often where they congregate.
Tomato worm can usually be controlled and eliminated by carefully checking your tomato vines and removing the worms by hand. Feed the worms to your chickens or ducks. Smash them under your heel. Drown them a can 1/2 full of soapy water.
Cucumber beetles are harder to deal with. There are six species of cucumber beetle in the United States. The most of these is the striped cucumber beetle. Measuring one fifth of an inch long, this beetle is yellowish green with a black head and yellow thorax, and can be easily identified by three parallel black stripes running lengthwise on the wings of adults.
Females can lay up to 1500 eggs over the course of several weeks.
Sad Note: There is No Known organic control that is truly effective against cucumber beetles. If chemical control is needed, use only insecticides labeled for cucumber beetle control. Carefully follow labeled directions for how and when to use insecticides.
Squash bugs are not easy to control and will quickly kill your squash and cucumber vines.
Iowa State University Organics Research Program conducted trials of various control methods for squash bug and squash vine borer. Researchers found that mulching with newspaper and hay, combined
with tightly secured row covers on the plots provided very effective control of both weeds and squash bugs.
Some products acceptable in organic vegetable production that are effective against squash bugs include diatomaceous earth, sabodilla, and neem oil. Interplanting of buckwheat to supply food for the parasite fly, (tachnid fly) of the squash bug.
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