Pest Control Products Bluefield WV
North Tazewell, VA
Oak Hill, WV
Bluefield , WV
Harpers Ferry, WV
Buddy Plants, Beer, and Blenders
Ask gardeners about homegrown pest control and you'll get a slew of creative responses: beer-filled dishes to attract slugs, a spray of juiced bugs to deter insect relatives, marigolds planted to repel nematodes, and so on. Will these strategies work in your school garden? Which are most effective for which pests? What is the scientific explanation, if any, for the effectiveness of each approach? Might any techniques be harmful to plants or beneficial insects? Such questions are rife with possibilities for student inquiry. Consider inviting your students to interview gardeners in your community and/or examine books or Internet sites in search of suggestions for companion plants and homemade pest remedies. Then set up some investigations to test their effectiveness. Be sure that your sleuths have observed carefully enough to see the creatures that are actually doing damage and have positively identified the culprits.
With companion planting, pest control is often the aim, but better space and nutrient efficiency can also result. Beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, depend on pests for nourishment. But when pests are in short supply, certain plants that offer nectar and pollen offer these good guys an alternative food source. Many of these are small-flowered plants that belong to the carrot and daisy families (anise, dill, fennel, yarrow, zinnia). Other companion plants repel harmful insects, or attract them and draw them away from your precious plants.
Following are some classic recipes for homemade insect sprays. Be sure to have students test such solutions on a few small leaves before starting a full-scale application and keep labeled containers tightly sealed in a safe place.
Homemade Soap Sprays. These can be effective against soft-bodied insects such as aphids. Dissolve 3 tablespoons of soap flakes (not detergent) in a gallon of water and spray on plants.
Herbal Insect Repellent. Gather leaves from tansy, lavender, and sage, which have strong insect-repelling qualities. You'll need an ounce of leaves from each plant. Place the herbs in a 1-quart jar and fill it with boiling water. Let it set until it cools. Or make an infusion by steeping the herbs in a jar of water placed in a sunny outdoor spot. Drain off the liquid and set this solution aside. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of soap flakes in 2 cups of water. Add 1/8 cup of the herb solution and mix well. Use a sprayer to coat all plant parts with the bug repellent.
Hot and Spicy Spray. So...
Those Pesky Pests
There's nothing more frustrating than working hard with your child or grandchild to build and plant a garden, only to have pests munch your prized plants before you can. Insect pests can ruin the party by devouring the leaves and fruits of kids' hard work. However, pests also provide an educational opportunity to talk to kids about insects and their role in nature. Kids are sharp observers and finding some pests is like a game of hide-and-seek. Encourage kids to check their plants often, and take time together to identify any pests they find using books or the Internet. These resources can offer safe control tips, help get children excited about finding uninvited guests on their plants, and contribute to an ultimately successful experience that will keep kids coming back for more gardening fun.
Here are some common insect pests you may find in your garden this summer and organic controls to help reduce their impact. If using a pesticide -- including the organic controls we suggest here -- always follow the label directions, keep children away from freshly sprayed plants, and store any remaining pesticide safely. Even organic pesticides can be harmful if accidentally ingested. We've also included some fun activities for kids to make the insect world more engaging.Soft-Bodied Bugs
Aphids, mealybugs, soft-shelled scale, spider mites, and thrips are all examples of soft-bodied insects. These creatures are small and hardly noticeable until you see yellowing leaves or stunted plants. Look for these pests on young growth, the undersides of leaves, and in leaf crotches. For fun, invite your child to try to spray the insects right off the plant using a strong stream of water from a hose nozzle! While this may not resolve the entire pest problem, kids love the idea of 'blasting' the insects away. Just be sure your child doesn't get too vigorous or they may harm the plant. Control any remaining pests with sprays of insecticidal soap or neem oil.Caterpillars
Some of the squishy caterpillars found in gardens include cabbageworms, tomato hornworms, and pickleworms. These pests are often hard to find, since their color generally matches the leaves they feed on. (Remember that game of hide-and-seek?) Take the opportunity to follow the life cycle of a caterpillar with your kids. For example, in early summer look for a white butterfly with a black spot on its wings fluttering around broccoli, cabbage, kale, and cauliflower plants. This is the adult of the cabbageworm caterpillar. It lays single white eggs on the undersides of leaves. Encourage kids to find the eggs, and then keep watch until the small green worms (caterpillars) hatch. This is the most destructive stage of the pest. Talk about squishing the eggs and small worms to control this pest. Also mention that if you squish the wrong caterpillar, you may kill one of the beautiful butterflies that adorn summer gardens, such as black swallowtails and monarchs. It's all about pro...