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Wanted: Dead or Alive

May 1, 2010

We’ve had a lot to say to you so far this year about our new biological pest control program, via the blog and our first weekend workshop, but it seems like time to give an update. We are very happy with the results so far, especially for our first attempt at it.

The insect pressure on the greenhouse has been remarkably low compared to other years, which is going to result in stronger plants with less chemical for all of you at home. We have found our predators to be so successful that they have outpaced our banker plants. We have had to order in aphids just to keep our little wasps happy and procreating. They have been so busy mummifying they haven’t left any to keep the colony going.

In addition to our original little A. colemani wasps, we have introduced A. ervi wasps, which have a broader palette when it comes to aphid consumption.  They tend to go after our potato aphids in addition to the peach aphids. Also you may find a styrofoam cup shoved into some of the hanging plants you look at in the greenhouse. We aren’t littering, these are housing colonies of predatory midges bent on aphid destruction. Feel free to move it to a neighboring plant or hand it to one of us if it is in a plant you are craving.

Paulo goes above and beyond, settling mite colonies on the various trays of transplants in one of our hoop houses. The mite colony lives in a bran mixture and helps control thrips in the plants in their close proximity.

Keep an eye out around the greenhouses for our tiny heroes , which we have drawn attention to with posters in various locations. Also, please stop us and ask about the program. Everyone can tell you that I have gone crazy for the bugs and love to discuss them.

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