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Controlling Garden Insect Pests & Diseases The Natural Way
The Food We Eat...
Recent research conducted by Consumers Union on United States Department of Agriculture crop samples consisting of 8 fruit and 12 vegetable crops, showed that 73 percent of those grown via conventional methods contained measureable Tons of chemical pesticides and herbicides are sprayed on our food crops each and every year. residues of chemical pesticides and/or herbicides. Five common food crops, including apples, peaches, pears, strawberries and celery, were noted to have a positive residue rate of over 90%.
In 1992, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported to the U.S. Congress that their research had identified 67 out of the approximately 300 pesticides used on food crops have caused cancer in one or more laboratory animals.
As a result of studies such as these, there has been a marked increase in the demand for organically produced food. In 2006, world demand for organic food products has exceeded the current available supply and Obviously, chemical pesticides & herbicides must be handled with extreme care. Do accidents happen? organic food sales are increasing at a rate of 15 to 20 percent per year, while overall food sales have been rising at just 2 to 4 percent each year.
What's A Plant Worth?
Your prize-winning rose collection; the backyard makeover you paid a small fortune for; your golf course perfect lawn; those priceless bonsai trees; irreplaceable orchids?
Whether we realize it or not, plants play an important role in virtually every aspect of our everyday lives. And many, if not most of us, have a considerable amount of time and money invested in our plants.
Which is precisely why it pays to protect our treasured plants by providing them the same level of care and nurturing that we would provide our children and pets. And just as we keep a close eye on the health of those who depend on us, it is wise to do the same with our plants. Prevention is the best cure, and keeping your plants growing in a healthy environment with proper nutrition is your first line of defense against sinister plant pests and destructive diseases.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a natural pest control strategy for controlling garden pests that utilizes an array of complementary methods including the use of natural predator insects and parasites, pest-resistant plant varieties, cultural practices, biological controls, traps and barriers, and controlled amounts of pesticides, natural-based or otherwise, as a last resort. It is regarded as an ecological approach that significantly reduces or completely eliminates the need for pesticides.
Integrated Pest Management is not only increasingly utilized by greenhouse growers and farmers, but by backyard gardeners and hobby growers as well, thanks to fact that more Earth-Friendly & Water-Wise Retail Garden Suppliers now offer everything necessary to institute a successful IPM program at home.
First Line Of Defense Is A Good Offense
Monitoring your plants for the first signs of an insect pest infestation or disease is by far the simplest and most effective way of controlling garden pests and insure that your crop matures and bears fruit with a minimum of problems from these potentially devastating threats.
Manual inspection and sticky traps are the two most effective ways of easily identifying garden pest problems. Yellow sticky traps attract white flies, aphids, and fungus gnats, while blue sticky traps are particularly effective identifying a thrip problem. Other insects and diseases require manual inspection, with an emphasis on observing the undersides of leaves for signs of eggs and larvae. Using sticky traps is the first step towards controlling garden pests by identify potential pest problems with whiteflies, aphids, fungus gnats, and thrips!
It's A Bug Eat Bug World!
In the perfect world, Mother Nature has it all worked out. By creating a balance of "good bugs", bugs that don't like to eat plants but enjoy very much munching on the "bad bugs" that do, insect problems aren't much of a problem in the healthy garden.
Typically, things start going bad when we start spraying insecticides that kill not only the plant pests, but the beneficial insects as well. By upsetting this delicate balance of nature, problems in the garden are much more likely to arise.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Promotes A Balance In The Garden Between Insect Pests and Their Natural Predators for Natural Pest Control. Controlling Harmful Pests With Beneficial Insects Is The Ultimate In Natural Pest Control. Enhancing this balance for completely natural pest control is easily accomplished with the proliferation of numerous beneficial insects available for purchase by concerned gardeners at Earth-Friendly, Water-Wise Retailers.
Beneficial insects for general purpose control include ladybeetles (or ladybugs), praying mantis, and green lacewing larvae. These all-purpose beneficials will generally eat any soft-bodied bugs and eggs they run across, and go a long way towards maintaining a healthy balance in the garden.
More specialized predator insects target everything from spider mites, whiteflies, and thrips, to soil-borne pests such as fungus gnats, japanese beetle larvae, and other garden pests.
Knowledge is Power!
Research continues to prove time and time again that many of the secrets to maintaining a healthy garden lie within the plants themselves. Natural pest controls are now routinely derived from many common plants and fruits. Pyrethrum, an effective natural insecticide for use against a variety of insect pests is completely derived from pyrethrum painted daisies like those on the right. And while it does kill many garden pests, it's natural poison quickly breaks down within a few short hours. The natural insecticide Pyrethrum is derived from Painted Daisy Chrysanthemums like these. Of course, even when you're working with natural-based insecticides, care must be taken as many of them will kill your beneficial insects as well. It is best to use insecticides, even natural-based ones, only as a last resort, and to use them sparingly.