Tag Archives: Bt

Got Worms? An Organic Gardening Guide to Chemical-Free Pest Control

22 Jul
Carrots from my garden.

Carrots from my garden.

You know those pretty white butterflies that innocently flutter around your vegetable garden? They are white demons about to lay eggs on your produce that will hatch worms who have the munchies. Yes, I’m a hater and still harboring some ill will. After they infested my kale, I decided to seek the advice from pros. Ya see, I come from good tree huggin’ stock. Who better to ask than my father, Dan Bell, who has over 30 years of organic gardening experience (my mom represents on the flower garden side). This is what Dad Bell had to say…

Preventative Care

1. Cover Up. Protect your plants by purchasing floating row covers which is a netting that prevents insects from laying eggs on your plants.

2. Infiltrate from the Inside. Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt) or Thuricide is a soil-borne bacteria that has been used since the 1950s to control insects. There are different strains of this bacteria depending on the insect you wish to target. It will kill everything from tomato hornworms, fruit worms, cabbageworms, potato beetles, mosquitoes and black flies. Basically, the insect digests it and it destroys its alkaline digestive tract, therefore killing the insect. However, without geeking out too much on the physiological reactions, since humans and other mammals have an acidic digestive tract, we are protected from this bacteria and it is safe to use on produce and plants. Even though it is natural and organic, it is still best to use caution and ensure you do not inhale it or get it in your eyes or open wounds.

Ingredients:

Read the label, but it is usually 1-4 tsp per gallon of water.

Directions:

1. Place mixture in a pump spray bottle. Bt is effective in the larva stage of the insect, so apply it to the underside of the leaf where the larva feed.

 

When Pests Attack.

Sometimes those little guys just slip through the preventative cracks.

1. All-Purpose Bug Killer. This recipe is touted to kill everything from ants to those deceptive white butterflies.

Ingredients:

1 cup water

2 T witch hazel

2 drops dish soap (preferably chemical-free… we got a theme going here)

Directions: Place everything in a spray bottle and spray the pest directly.

Recipe courtesy of Sharon Cuyler, Organic Gardening magazine.

2. Beetlejuice. Japanese beetles can be a real pain this time of year.

Ingredients:

water

2 drops dish soap

Directions:

1. Fill a bucket with water and the dish soap.

2. Pick beetles off of leaves and dump them in the bucket. This will act as beetle birth control, killing them and thus preventing them from reproducing their tyrant youths.

Have you used these methods on your garden? What chemical-free ideas do you have to get rid of pesky insects? Please leave a comment below.

For more nutrition, fitness and gardening tips, please contact me at Stephanie Bell Wellness.

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