Dirt Doctor Weekly Newsletter - Trichogramma Wasps
Trees have been having some caterpillar problems. The preventative treatment for this pest is the release of the beneficial insect called trichogramma wasp. If the worms are already feeding, killing sprays need to be used.
Various worms, the larvae of moths and butterflies, eat the buds, leaves and flowers of many different species of food crops and ornamental plants. They can be sprayed and killed with Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) products, spinosad products or orange oil-based products. For better effect from the killing sprays, add one ounce of molasses per gallon of spray. Although Bt is an acceptable biological product, it will kill butterflies as well as the larvae of moths and should only be used as a last resort and on plants where caterpillar feeding is in progress. When used, it should be sprayed at dusk.
The better approach is to release trichogramma wasps as a preventative. They can be purchased at organic garden centers, feed stores and ordered by mail. The 1” cards contain about 3000 moth eggs. Larger strips have more wasps. Simply pin the cards or strips on tree trunks or on fences. The almost microscopic wasps emerge from the sandpaper looking moth eggs and fly off to parasitize and destroy other pest eggs. Nothing works better for the control of canker worms, greenworms, loopers, armyworms, pecan casebearers, tent caterpillars, webworms and other vegetarian worms. Trichogramma wasps must be put out before the pests hatch and start eating.
If the wasps are dead or have been eaten by fire ants, they won’t work. Buy from reputable dealers and control the fire ants with organic techniques. Vaseline put on the nail or pin used to mount the cards or strips will prevent any existing fire ants from getting to the eggs. They will eat them like jelly beans if present and have access.
Mail Order Sources:
Arbico - Arizona Biological Control
P.O. Box 4247CRB Tucson, AZ 85738-1247 (800) 827-2847 www.arbico.com
P.O. Box 177 Willow Hill, PA 17271 (717) 349-2789 www.biologicco.com
BioPac Crop Care, Inc.
P.O. Box 87 Mathis, TX 78368 (361) 547-3259 www.biofac.com
5100 Schenley Place Lawrenceburg, IN 47025 (812) 537-5108
Gardener's Supply Catalog
I -128 Intervale Road Burlington, VT 05401-2804 (800) 863-1700 www.gardeners.com
Green Methods Catalog - The Green Spot, Ltd.,
93 Priest Rd., Nottingham, NH 03290-6240 (603) 912-8925 www.greenmethods.com
Harmony Farm Supply & Nursery
3244 Hwy. 116 Sebastopol, CA (707) 823-9125 www.harmonyfarm.com
P.O. Box 886 Bayfield, CO 81122 (800) 526-4075 www.goodbug.com
Rt. 1, Box 39 Quemado, TX 78877 (800) 832-1113 www.kunafin.com
Natural Insect Control
RR #2 Stevensville, ON LOS 1SO Canada (905) 382-2904 www.naturalinsectcontrol.com
P.O. Box 35 Medford, OR 96501 (541) 245-6033 www.ladybugindoorgardens.com
P.O. Box 1447 Fayetteville, AR 72702 (800) 835-0123 www.nitron.com
Peaceful Valley Farm Supply
P.O. Box 2209 Grass Valley, CA 95945 (916) 272-4769 www.groworganic.com
1612 Gold Avenue Bozeman, MT 59715 (800) 289-6656 www.planetnatural.com
P.O. Box 1555 Ventura, CA 93001 (805) 643-5407 www.rinconvitova.com
To find more information on organics, please visit my website at DirtDoctor.com. If you have any questions regarding this newsletter or any other topic, please join me for my radio show heard in Dallas/Fort Worth on Saturday at 11am-Noon and across the country on Sunday from 8-11am (CST). Radio
The Dirt Doctor
Question: I hung the trichogramma wasps on my pecan tree and within hours ants were eating the eggs. How do I keep the ants away?
Answer: Apply Vaseline to the pin or nail. The ants won't be able to crawl across to the eggs. One of the most important parts of a successful trichogramma release is to control the fire ants. Most organic gardeners don't usually have a problem with them, but outbreaks can be handled with orange oil drenches, beneficial nematodes, spinosad and/or dry molasses