Pesticides Kennewick WA
And You Think You've Got Garden Problems!
by Susan Littlefield
Here at NGA, we're always reminding gardeners, when using any pesticide, fertilizer, or garden chemical, to always read and follow the instructions and precautions on the label exactly. The experience of some farmers in China recently is a good example of why this is so important - and a pretty weird example of what can go wrong if you don't!
Watermelons grown in eastern China began exploding in the fields after farmers, in an attempt to increase their profits, applied a growth accelerator call forchlorfenuron. But they put it on too late in the season and when the weather was too wet. This caused pressure to build up internally in the watermelons and they literally blew themselves up in the fields. Some farmers saw their entire crop lying in shattered ruins.
While this highlights the increasing problem in China of farmers using improperly applied or illegal substances on their food crops, it also brings home the need to always pay careful attention to label instructions, restrictions, and precautions when using any garden chemicals. Even those products listed as suitable for organic gardening, such as plant-based pesticides or copper fungicides, need to be applied in accordance with the label to be safe and effective.
Ecological Pest Management Made Easy
by Susan Littlefield
Want to know what biorational controls to use to deal with codling moths in your apples? How about under what trade names the microbial pesticide Bt is sold? Wondering if a pesticide is OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) approved for organic production?
All this information and much more is easily available with a few clicks in the Biorationals: Ecological Pest Management Datebase, part of the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website. Biorational pesticides include target-specific microbial products; plant-based and other pesticides that have low non-target impact or break down quickly into non-toxic compounds; and new types of pesticides such as pheromones and particle film barriers. A tremendous amount of helpful information is literally "at your fingertips" with this great resource.
In addition, the website has a wealth of information on sustainable agriculture, including the organic production of horticultural crops, soils and compost, water management, pest management and marketing. And it's all available in Spanish as well as English.
Garden Pests 101
by National Gardening Association Editors
The best defense against garden damage from insects and disease is a long-term program of soil building. Healthy soil will produce healthy, resistant plants.
When insects (like the Japanese beetle pictured above) and diseases do strike, it doesn't foretell the end of your garden, it's just a message that something isn't in balance. The next step is to get reliable information -- a knowledge of just exactly what is causing the problem -- so you can shape a plan of action appropriate to the situation.
Pest damage may appear before you see the culprits themselves. Look under the leaves or go out at night with a flashlight to catch nocturnal varmints, such as slugs, at work.
Those white butterflies hovering over your vegetable garden may well be there to lay eggs on broccoli and cabbage that will produce well-camouflaged cabbageworms.
When insect damage does appear, it probably can be attributed to one or two types of pests. Many chemical and some organic pesticides kill a broad range of insects, including beneficial ones. If you can identify the insect, you might be able to identify a selective control. Here are some potential pest controls to consider:
Hand picking. Knock the villains off into a can of soapy water. This can make a big difference, particularly if you act before they have a chance to multiply.
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). This is a powder or spray that kills moths, butterfly, and sawflies in their caterpillar stage. Tent caterpillars and cabbageworms are among those it kills.
Milky spore disease. Incorporate this product into lawn soil to kill Japanese beetles while they are in the sod-eating grub stage.
Insecticidal soap. These sprays are effective on a variety of insects, especially aphids and other soft-bodied pests. The fatty acids in the soaps attack break down the insect's cell membranes.
Insect traps. These use attractive colors like yellow and red, as well as a scented lure, to attract insects onto a sticky pad. They are often used in orchards. A sticky material is sometimes spread around trees to trap insects on the move. Be careful with placement, though: Japanese beetle traps may attract beetles from the entire neighborhood into your yard.
Organic pesticides. These pesticides are made from plant materials. While potent, they break down into harmless materials faster than conventional pesticides. Pyrethrum, made from the flowers of a chrysanthemum, is an example. They are sometimes sold in combination. Follow label directions carefully. Just because a spray comes from plants doesn't mean it isn't dangerous.
Predators. Birds, insects, toads, and bats all thrive on the bugs that damage your garden. Ladybugs, lacewings, and certain wasps are among the beneficial insects. Garden supply houses sell such insects, as well as martin houses to attract birds and bat houses to encourage visits by bats.
Conventional pesticides. The gover...