Author Topic: Some safe options for shield bugs and squash beetles  (Read 801 times)

Offline CharlotteBeeOrganic

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Some safe options for shield bugs and squash beetles
« on: March 16, 2014, 01:26 PM »
NOTE: Shield bugs have Spring job! They are culling out plants that are past their prime - cut these plants (don't pull out valuable root systems if you are no-till or low-till and following soil food-web principles.) 

Having health soil and healthy plants is first line of defense during proper, productive phase of a plant's life. So in the the case of squash bores, you may need help until you perfect your soil.  Here are options if you need to deal with destruction in that case. These are older (20 years ago) quotes from Malcolm Beck (Gardenville products.) these comments, edited down significantly, as taken from www.plantanswers.com, Dr. Jay Parsons, Texas Ag Extension Service:

GARDENING WITH MINIMAL USE OF  PESTICIDES: “The greatest number of living creatures on this planet are insects. Some we call good bugs; others pests. The pests or bad bugs seem to reproduce at a fantastic rate and have varied and excellent means of mobility.”

“Have you ever wondered why they haven’t by now destroyed all vegetation?”

“Organic growers have the philosophy that plants growing in their preferred environment and soil balanced to suit their needs will be healthy, and healthy plants do not attract destructive insects. Because of the healthy plant’s immunity, the few that may get on them do not quickly multiply to damaging numbers, and their many natural enemies are able to hold these pests in check, hence the balance of nature.

“When insects (and disease) attack a plant and are able to damage or destroy it, the organic grower asks why and searches for the cause. The non-organic grower ignores the cause and just treats the effects with pesticides which may eventually worsen the problem.

“The discovery or understanding of these natural laws is nothing new. Sir Albert Howard, a soil and plant scientist of England, spent most of his life researching and proving these natural laws and wrote books on them; one of his best, The Soil and Health, copyright 1947…they grew healthy, bug-free plants right beside diseased and bug-infested plants. The only difference was a balanced soil.”

“I myself have used compost and natural fertilizers to grow pumpkins bug-free, while other pumpkin plants nearby, but not properly fertilized, were heavily infested with squash bugs…I completely wiped out nematodes in one year from a tomato hot bed with the use of compost and earthworms….I have also learned that weather conditions can put plants under stress and cause the insects and disease to attack, but that the plants in the balanced, fertile soil were not affected by stress as fast and usually held on until better growing conditions returned without being unduly affected.

“Here again, the skeptics will argue, “but we don’t have enough compost for all the farms in America!”. For that reason the really big organic grower doesn’t always use compost either, but he does grow cover crops for additional organic matter, tests for elements needed, and adds them to balance the soil. Mainly, he is careful not to use toxic pesticides or any chemical that may destroy the living factors of the soil, which are the beneficial microbes and earthworms, because they are what make a soil fertile to grow healthy plants.”

“If your soil isn’t yet fertile, and your plants are being attacked, there are acceptable methods of control such as Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterial organism that is used on cabbage worms, webworms, and many other worms. It is very effective and safe, and it kills the bad bugs only and not the good ones. Also available is Sapodilla Dust made from lily seeds. It is non toxic to man but works well on squash bugs, harlequin bugs, and other members of the stinkbug family. It too is very specific in what it kills.”

“These are good control materials because they leave the beneficial insects unhurt, and you are really using nature’s own control methods. There are other safe materials, methods, and techniques for insect control and more are being discovered but remember, insects and disease should be considered symptoms and not the cause of unproductive and failing plants.”

“The bad bugs may really be good bugs in disguise trying to tell you all is not well with your ways of growing things.”
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 08:56 PM by CharlotteBeeOrganic »