Pest Alert – Protect Your Plants While Protecting Beneficial Insects

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The winter of 2019 was mild. Insects may benefit from this fact. 2020 could be interesting in our gardens.

Eastern swallowtail butterfly

Thankfully most insects (97%) are either beneficial or benign as far as humans are concerned. Some of those 3% of harmful insects can be troublesome to gardeners. So for the most part, we need spend little energy thinking about insects other than enjoying those flying flowers the butterflies.

Every once and while however, we do find an insect eating up our garden plants. In this case, we should act. But before we pull out the pesticides, let’s try some safer alternatives first. Then let’s use biorational insecticides. These products are derived from materials that are less harmful to the environment.

Non-Pesticide Insect Controls

  • Physical removal – remove insects by hand; drop into soapy water.
  • Wash away with a strong stream of water – most insects cannot return to plants after they have been flushed using a strong stream of water.
  • Biological pesticides – BT, milky spore, Spinosad, Neem, and others are insect controls based on natural substances. This means they are safer for the environment.
  • Insecticidal soaps – Safer Soap and other brands of insecticidal soaps are soapy mixtures designed to irritate.
  • Oils – Horticultural oil, essential oils are thin oils that smother insects.
  • Beneficial insects – provide shelter, food, and water; reduce and limit insecticide use.

Pesticide Tips

Pollinating insect in action

Please protect pollinating and beneficial insects by limiting pesticide use, choosing biological pesticides, and targeting sprays avoiding beneficial insects.

-ALWAYS read the label and follow instructions exactly

-Never don’t buy too much

-Always target specific problem

-Always use sparingly

-Please remember to protect beneficial insects