Ladybugs/ladybirds for pest control?greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
From National Gardening, Jan/Feb 1994
There's a lot to the old nursery rhyme about ladybugs. Gardeners who order several hundred of these tiny creatures with the big appetite for aphids may be disappointed to see their biological pest control "fly away home," reports American Horitcultural (September 1993).
The convergent ladybug is the species most commonly sold for control of aphids and other pests. Collected during its hibernation period in the Califonrnia mountains, it merely obeys the genetically programmed urge to head for the fields of California's central valley regardless of where it "wakes up," says Allen Knutson, an entemologist at Texas A&M.
Knutson recommends building up the population of indigenous ladybugs or using aphid-hungry green lacewings instead, which when released as eggs or larvae won't migrate out of the yard.
-- Old Git (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 23, 1999
Diatemaceous(sp?) earth is pretty effective @ about $1/lb available at organically oriented nurseries. 10 lbs. ought to last in a 3000 sq. ft. garden about a year, easily. Nontoxic too, however it will knock out the ladybugs & mantis also. Both of these helpful critters show up around here on their own but not in large enough numbers.
You can also use d.e. to control mealy bugs in your grain barrels and the minor amounts used, if ingested (sodium silicate?, an anti-caking additive in table salt), are inert in the body, but DO NOT BREATHE the dust when applying; use a particle mask!
Rinse all produce before eating/cooking as you normally would. Be pesticide free. Neat.
-- Mike T. (email@example.com), April 23, 1999.
You can pick up diatomaceous earth at spa or pool suppliers as well.
-- marsh (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 24, 1999.
I really hate to use something that'll kill beneficials too. Slugs, for instance--I leave out a little cat chow at night to encourage the local possum--I've seen him/her/them eating slugs! The possum hasn't done any damage to my garden for the last six years! By the way, has anyone tried those slug-repelling copper strips?
Right now, there's a good balance of creatures around the yard here so I don't feel compelled to do anything much. I think the fact that I have lots of herbs and flowering plants scattered about has something to do with the lack of pest damage. I also bribe the birds in winter--feed 'em and they stick around to patrol the garden in the growing season.
Since we moved in six years ago I've planted lots of ornamental grasses, shrubs and trees to provide habitat for birds. Last year I noticed birds in abundance around here so I think the habitat idea is finally working. Given that I saw a pair of red-tailed hawks circling my yard for the first time last year, looks like I've created an all-you-can-eat buffet too!
-- Old Git (email@example.com), April 24, 1999.