A Guide to Beneficial Insects Part II

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One old line that has now become outdated is that organic means are expensive. Organic pest control has been lowering in price every season. This might not even be hard to predict when you take into consideration the sometimes devastating effects that expensive chemicals can breed. The primary driver behind these economic forces is resistance built up over time and regulatory action addressing the safety and health concerns. Both of those unstoppable forces have been culminating in ever-rising costs.

Using beneficial species of bugs to ward off invasive species can be done in many different ways. The best strategy is the common-sense approach to the different facets and options for promoting the inculcation of good bugs. This begins with doing a little bit of reading. Chances are if you’re interested in organic you have probably done much of the legwork already. It is good to have some familiarity with searching for information you may need. In this instance, you’ll want to take observations from the garden and find out what is important. The number one on that list would be identification; know your enemy. The second most important thing to read about would have to be life-cycles. Life-cycle information will help mold an economical and effective strategy — the life-cycle dictates when your defenses should be fortified and what defenses work best.

After the research is done, do the numbers. Determining your personal tolerance level is key in planning out your final strategy. Whether your farming, gardening for vegetables, or gardening for looks it’s essential to know that thresholds exist based on budget.  You’ll want to determine the level of damage you want to prevent and run it against the cost of prevention and treatment of that damage. Sometimes initial damage might not be recurrent or significant in scope, so this should change your strategy and approach like any other variable that affects your landscaping. Sometimes simply handpicking bugs or a blast of water can do wonders and be free.

Ultimately this strategy is geared toward letting the bugs do your dirty work. These types of biocontrols can be used both as a preventative measure and control mechanism. Plant placement and selection strategy will greatly affect the outcome. Many gardeners will use predator attracting plants along the borders of gardens, bringing in the natural wildlife that cleans and helps your garden flourish. The big misconception is the paradigm of keeping foreign natural agents out of your directed garden. The idea is to be one with the area around your garden so that your plants can flourish. Insectary plants that you can use to achieve these goals include things like fennel, dill, cosmos, and coriander.

Waging war with the elements is the same as any other war. You win some battles, and you lose some. Any good commander has a keen awareness of this which helps him or her deal with the frustrations that can come up. All hobbies and endeavors will provide challenges and pitfalls along the way and when it comes to pest control things are no different. There might be occasions where all hope is lost, and your options are chemicals. Knowing when to give up is just as important as knowing how to put in a solid effort. Minimizing the damage to natural elements is paramount but not always achievable without the help of more extreme measures.

Don’t forget to keep some notes on what you’re doing. One of the best tools in dealing with natural activities like gardening or farming is keeping records. History and experience are what bring the most amount of success to any complicated endeavor. Maintaining records, even just small notes, of what happens and what works or doesn’t can make all the difference on not only the actual outcomes but your budget as well.