Pest control is a complicated subject when it comes to gardening, farming, and landscaping. There are all sorts of ways to deal with insects in your yard. The gold standard for most people is simple chemical pesticides. In this two-part blog, we explore one of the more unique and interesting ways of dealing with pests that will help in getting closer to an organic garden that is as chemical and hazard-free as possible.
Since the latter half of the 1800’s many insects have been utilized for beneficial means in protecting and tending to gardens and landscapes. Danger can lurk in many places around your home landscape or garden in the form of different insects that can prey on your vegetation. Some of these pests include the aphids, cutworms, and mealybugs as well as many others. For the environmentally conscious and organic enthusiast commercial chemical pesticides and herbicides might simply be too much of a risk to utilize. Health concerns regarding these chemicals have been explored in depth by many mainstream health organizations often concluding that switching from chemical to organic makes a real impact on safety for your family and environment. There are several different approaches to organic pest control, but one of the most unique and interesting is fostering the aid of the good bugs who battle in your favor. Many experienced gardeners will tell you that using biological warfare for more advanced gardening can easily eliminate the need for harmful chemicals. The basic premise is essentially encouraging bugs that aren’t harmful but also fight with extreme prejudice against the evil and malicious bad bugs. This non-toxic approach has some significant benefits in addition to pest control as well.
The real problem with pesticides is scope and power. The vast majority of chemical pesticides tend to completely wipe out the entirety of the microbiome related to insects on a grand scale. This is terrible because insects are the key player in the proliferation of plant life on our planet. So the approach of chemicals is akin to poisoning all the animals in a forest to protect the trees. Not only that, but misuse of chemicals can cause some incredibly devastating secondary effects as well. For instance, if you wipe out the insect population around your garden entirely, there is a power vacuum left over that is often filled by more aggressive and damaging species.
You might not know it, but the implanting of and encouragement of insects to a lawn is such a favorite avenue of attack when it comes to pest control that many lawn and garden businesses offer beneficial insects that you can put in your garden. Of course, the primary avenue of attack for many commercial businesses is going to be chemical-based solutions. It’s more economical and customer friendly since the results are almost instant. The trick here is that they will almost always provide significant long-term control which continues to combat bad bugs as they arrive throughout the seasons. It’s a good idea to consult a local expert or do proper research concerning your particular area.
Sometimes the ease of chemical use is difficult to resist. But, knowing some of the more intricate drawbacks of pesticides can help manage that. Perhaps not so surprisingly, insects in general adapt and change quickly to survive adverse conditions. The only time this isn’t true is during natural processes which tend to take place over much more extended periods. One extreme example of this is insects directly evolving in response to constant exposure to harsh chemicals. Experiments have shown some species to not only evolve complete resistances to powerful and toxic insecticides, but they can even develop the ability to use the chemical as food causing population explosions. Biocontrol eliminates this problem almost entirely by relying on balance and synergy.
It is important to note that the vast majority of vegetables consumed in the united states will have some sort of related chemical baked into the vegetable in some way unless grown organically. Even carefully washed vegetables will not entirely get rid of any pesticides or herbicides the plant was grown with. At the end of the day, you want to ensure that the food you and your family eat is safe. In part II of this guide, we go over the specifics of beneficial insects and dive further down the rabbit hole of this unique pest control method.