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Organic Grasshopper Control for the Garden

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
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Wherever there is a lot of grass and weeds, there are most likely grasshoppers hiding. There are hundreds of varieties of grasshoppers that can be found in North American and several of them will do damage to gardens. It’s illogical for a gardener to go around hand-picking them and it’s not wise to utilize chemicals around the garden, so what can a gardener do for grasshopper control that will not ruin his garden?

Using Birds and Predators for Grasshopper Control

Grasshoppers hatch in spring from eggs that have been hidden in the soil. The baby grasshoppers will hide out in areas that are thick with vegetation. Most of the bugs will be eaten by spiders, frogs, beetles and other larger predators that live in the same vegetation. Maintaining dense mixed herbs, grasses and flowers near the garden can serve as traps for baby grasshoppers so that they never develop into full-blown garden pests.

Gardeners can as well control grasshoppers in the garden by providing perching structures near the garden for insect-eating birds. Insect-eating birds are one the biggest predators that these bugs have. Most of these birds like to hunt their prey by watching for any movements from high on top of on perches. Encourage these birds to eat the grasshoppers in the garden by supplying them with upright structures such as trellises and posts near the garden.

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Plant organic Barriers of the Bugs

There are certain plants that grasshoppers just don’t like. One of those plants include the herb cilantro. Planting this herb in the garden can help keep these bugs completely away from the entire area of the garden. Depending on the size of the garden, one to three plants of cilantro should be sufficient for grasshopper control.

Other plants that are known to be organic barriers include the herbs horehound and calendula. These herbs may be a little harder to discover and grow depending on the region. as well, these insects don’t like pea plants becautilize of the nitrogen, so peas can as well be planted in a garden to help keep the pests away

Grow Tall Grass Away from the Garden

Grasshoppers would rather live in a patch of tall grass and weeds than in a clean garden. By allowing a patch of tall grass or weeds to grow in an area away from the garden, people can practice organic grasshopper control in the real garden. If the garden is kept weeded and clean, like it should be, the bugs will organicly drift toward the patches of tall grass that are set up away from the garden, thus leaving the vegetables and fruits alone.

Row Covers Work Great for Grasshopper Control

One of the best ways to protect plants from these insects it to cover them with an obstacle such as a row cover or a lightweight fabric cloth. The covers should be held on top of the plants with posts or wooden stakes since the bugs are more likely to eat the plants if they can get the leaves that are pushing against the covers.

In some areas where grasshoppers are a real predicament for gardeners, aluminum screening cones are made to keep the plants protected. This may be a drastic measure for some people but in states like Texas, where the bug infestations can ruin whole crops, it may be necessary.

Instead of using harmful pesticides and chemicals, these are effective options that people have for organic grasshopper control in the garden. Gardeners can employ, one, two or even all three of these techniques to make sure their plants stay protected from hungry

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Walnut Husk Fly

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Walnut Husk Fly

Common names: Walnut Husk Fly

Scientific name: Rhagoletis completa

Region: This fly is found in western United States and has similar species in the East.

Life cycle: This insect produces one generation each year and overwinters in the soil under the walnut trees in small hard, brown cases.  The adults emerge in late summer, around August and spend a few weeks on the foliage before they mate and begin to lay eggs.

Physical Description: This light brown fly is only 1/3 inch long and has yellow markings and black bars on the wings.  Its eggs are white and are laid in cavities within the husk of the walnut.

Feeding characteristics: This pest will attack walnuts as well as peaches.  The maggots feed by tunneling into the walnut husks, where they will remain for several weeks, until they drop to the ground to pupate.

While the infestation will cautilize stains, the kernel usually remains unaffected.

Controls: Once the walnuts have been harvested, place the nuts in water to drown the maggots.  Remove the husks with the dead maggots.
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Walnut Caterpillar

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Walnut Caterpillar

Common names: Walnut Caterpillar

Scientific name: Datana integerrima

Region: This Caterpillar is found in eastern and southern United States.

Life cycle: This insect produces one to two generations each year.  The pupae hibernate in the soil.  As with many insects, this caterpillar population goes in cycles.  They might be bad for one to two years and then virtually disappear for several seasons.

Physical Description: This 2-inch long caterpillar is reddish brown to black with a black head and white hairs.

The adult moth also has a hairy body, is brown in color with four dark bands bordered in white and a wingspan of 1 to 2 inches.

Feeding characteristics: This pest attacks apple, peach, pecan, and walnut plants by eating the leaves.  They will stop eating in the middle of summer to molt, then resume there feeding in the fall.

Controls: These caterpillars will congregate at the bases of branches every night making it easy to remove them on small trees.  A ladder may be necessary for larger trees.

utilize a rolled up burlap bag to rub them out during the late evening.

If hand destroying is not feasible, spraying with Bacillus thuringiensis or pyrethrum to help control the larvae.


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