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Organic Insect Control

Aphids and other small insects Build soil health, release ladybugs, green lacewings and trichogramma wasps. Spray garlic tea as a preventative. Spray garlic/pepper tea or Garrett Juice plus citrus oil if needed. Spray foliage with molasses and water before releasing beneficial insects.

Spider mites Spray liquid seaweed and garlic/pepper tea and release green lacewings. Spray Garrett Juice plus garlic for heavy infestations. Make sure plants aren't being watered too much or too little.

Caterpillars and bagworms Release trichogramma wasps. Spray Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) or spray Garrett Juice plus garlic.
Slugs, snails, and pill bugs Diatomaceous earth, hot pepper and beneficial nematodes. Cayenne pepper powder dusted on infested areas is very effective.  Spray Garrett Juice plus garlic or citrus oil.
Fleas and ticks See "Flea Control the Natural Way" 
Chinch bugs Dust problem area with diatomaceous earth after spraying with Garrett Juice (compost tea, molasses, seaweed, natural apple cider vinegar, molasses) and citrus oil.
Crickets Treat problem areas with Nosema locustae products. Spray Garrett Juice plus garlic.
Whiteflies Spray a mix of liquid seaweed and href="">garlic/pepper tea or   Garrett Juice plus garlic.
Fire Ants Treat mounds and spray with manure compost tea, citrus oil and molasses.  Beneficial nematodes are also effective.
Grubworms Beneficial nematodes are effective, but maintaining healthy soil biology is the primary control. Apply sugar or dry molasses to problem areas at 5 lbs/1000 sq. ft.
Squash bugs, stink bugs and other hard-to-kill pests Spray with Garrett Juice plus garlic and citrus oil.
Roaches Create bait stations using 50% Arm & Hammer detergent and 50% sugar. Dust indoors with mixture of 50% DE, 50% boric acid.  Omit the pyrethrum once heavy infestations are under control.
Black spot, brown patch, powdery mildew Best control is prevention through soil improvement and avoidance of high nitrogen fertilizers. Spray plants with Garrett Juice (compost tea, molasses, seaweed, natural apple cider vinegar) plus garlic tea, and neem. Sprays of baking soda or potassium bicarbonate (1 rounded tablespoon per gallon of water) can also be used.

Spinosad has been formulated into two commercial products registered for use in commercial agriculture, including DowAgros' Conserve SC, and Entrust. Entrust is approved for use on USDA certified organic produce.

There are several home garden product manufactured for use in the United States including Monterey Garden Insect Spray manufactured by Lawn and Garden Products, Inc. and 'Borer, Bagworm, Tent Caterpillar & Leafminer Spray' manufactured by Ferti-Lome. Bonide Products has introduced spinosad in its Captain Jacks Dead Bug Brew insect control product line.

The products have practically no odor. Its soil absorption is moderately strong and it degrades rapidly in the environment primarily through photolysis. Spinosad is also the active ingredient in Comfortis, a chewable flea medication for pets. 

It is acceptable in the organic program.  It was developed from a living organism, has little to no toxicity and seems to work well. It is for sure better than diazinon, Dursban, orthene and the synthetic pyrethroids. 

Be very careful using these product, especially the liquid ones, because they are deadly to bees.

QUESTION: We use hay or straw mulch year-round, which encourages a pill bug population. These bugs destroy many transplants and emerging plants such as beans. We have tried diatomaceous earth, coffee grounds, garlic-pepper spray, Garrett Juice, etc. Nothing seems to work.C.C., Dallas

ANSWER: A new organic commercial product is formulated for snails, slugs, pill bugs and centipedes. It is the Sluggo product but with spinosad added. I have tried a sample, and it works well.


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