Problem Pests

Yuck. I hate bugs. Especially when they infest my indoor garden. I'd never had a problem with Whiteflies until I brought a pepper plant from outside into my indoor garden. What a mistake. I broke every rule of indoor gardening, and I paid the price. I guess we sometimes ignore warnings, even our own warnings to others, because we assume "it won't happen to me." I had inspected the pepper plant outdoors, and found it to be "apparently" free from critters. Well I think you've already figured out the lesson here: don't make assumptions or allow any exceptions to this rule. Keep your indoor garden free from outdoor invaders! Outside, the bugs that are most likely to infest your plants are generally controlled by their natural predators. Inside, you have no such luck, and without any natural enemies, Whiteflies and Spider Mites can rapidly get out of control. Whitefly larvae will molt and become annoying little pests inside of seven days. Once the Whitefly larvae molts and gains wings, it will immediately spread the infestation by laying eggs within just days, starting the whole process all over again. The eggs remain dormant for about ten days before hatching.

Prevention is everything, but what if, somehow, a pest invades your garden sanctum? To take care of infestations, you need to be aware of the biological control options. First of all, I do not advocate the use of pesticides, even pyrethrin, which is made from flower extract. They are all toxic, no matter what they are made from, and let's just say that pests build up a tolerance to them, which only helps breed stronger strains of pests. Biological control means simply that we limit the negative impact of a pest population by introducing predator insects. It may sound like adding fuel to the fire to introduce another insect to your garden, but the predator insect population is controlled by the amount of food available. For example, Whiteflies. So as the predator insects eat the enemy, their population naturally decreases as the food supply declines. A perfect solution if you ask me, nature at its finest!

Another good, nontoxic method, is to use sticky traps that attract flies and then keep them sticking around a little longer than they would prefer. You can make these with yellow or blue paint (any cheap quick-drying kind will do) yellow for whiteflies, blue for thrips, a few cardboard strips, and a large jar of Vaseline or petroleum jelly. Simply paint the strips, let them dry, and gob on the Vaseline, which sticks pests just as well as glue. Use a trap for every 2-4 sq. ft of garden area.

Never Jump Conclusion
  • Top) A cucumber leaf appears to be suffering from a nutrient deficiency or toxicity when in fact the damage was caused by spider mites on the under side of the leaf. Never jump to conclusions without thorough investigation when diagnosing plant problems! (Middle) Mealybugs like this one lay eggs in a fluffy white excretion which is easy to spot. Mealybug predator beetles do a wonderful job of knocking down their populations and ridding your garden of them for good. (Bottom) Scale is sometimes mistaken for part of the plant whose juices it feeds on, not surprising!
  • Top) A cucumber leaf appears to be suffering from a nutrient deficiency or toxicity when in fact the damage was caused by spider mites on the under side of the leaf. Never jump to conclusions without thorough investigation when diagnosing plant problems! (Middle) Mealybugs like this one lay eggs in a fluffy white excretion which is easy to spot. Mealybug predator beetles do a wonderful job of knocking down their populations and ridding your garden of them for good. (Bottom) Scale is sometimes mistaken for part of the plant whose juices it feeds on, not surprising!
Tiny Insect Eggs White Fluffy
White flies sucking sap from the bottom of this tomato leaf
Encarsia Formosa Lay Eggs
White fly larvae shown on dried up leaf above, encarsia formosa (white fly predator wasps) shown protecting fruit below. Each of these small cards contain the wasp eggs. Encarsia wasps are extremely small and are not a nuisance like their larger counterparts.
Tomato Wasps White Flies Eaters
Problem pest Predator solution Qty/sq. ft.

Whitefly

Encarsia formosa

Use 1

-2

Spider mite

Phytoseiulus persimilis

Use 1-

-2

Aphids

Lady bugs, Lacewings

Use 1

-2

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Growing Soilless

Growing Soilless

This is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to growing organic, healthy vegetable, herbs and house plants without soil. Clearly illustrated with black and white line drawings, the book covers every aspect of home hydroponic gardening.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment