Make It Green Garden Center
Garden Help
Organic Pest Control

We have always preached about least invasive techniques for insect control. Here are some questions to ask yourself (in order) :

1. Is the damage really that bad? Can your plant afford a few chewed leaves?. If so, leave it alone. If you leave the "bad bugs" alone then there is a good chance that some "good bugs" (or birds) will come along and eat them.

2. Can I pick them off by hand or knock them off with a jet of water. Aphids and other sucking insects can have their mouthparts severely damaged when knocked off a plant with water. Spittlebugs are often killed by predators or dehydration when they try to climb back onto the plant (not that they do much damage anyway)

3. Can I block them from their intended victims? Copper barriers can be used to repel slugs. Teflon tape can be used to prevent caterpillars from feeding on tree leaves or ants from farming aphids on a tree.

4. Have I done everything I can to prevent this problem (or take steps to do so for the future). Companion planting, planting a few nectar producing plants to encourage predators and keeping weeds or grass in the area cut short should be considered. Choosing plants that don't get eaten or are vigorous enough not to care about it can help. Choosing plants whose requirements fit the location helps prevent stress for the plant. Stressed plants attract insects.

5. All else failing, what is the least thing I can spray on my plants? We are great believers in targeted products with low side effects. Elsewhere on this site we talk about using Grub Buster Nematodes for white grub control. Nematodes are also useful for controlling