Pests and Pest Control
Pests and Pest Control
So , this subject has to be one the most annoying thinks that can happen to any form of horticulture. Including, greenhouse cultivation and hydroponic plant growing. In fact one of my main interests at the moment is my “Mediterranean garden”. So, it consists of a large gravel area in which I have planted six medium size olive trees. The Area is well sheltered from any winds and gets pretty hot in the summer months! When the threat of any frost subsides then I also place our some citrus and pomegranate plants in large pots.
Citrus trees require shelter and frost protection during the winter months. This is where my greenhouse comes in to play. So, all the pots are put in the greenhouse in winter and heated by electric fans. I will have a different system next year and will keep them over winter in a room in my main house. However because of the warmth then it has attracted some types of pests. I suspect that I should have fumigated the greenhouse after my tomato and pepper crop had finished!
French marigolds are a white fly deterrent
This summer was a very good one for growing tomatoes. However I think that the error came when my French marigolds finished before the tomatoes crop and allowed a small whitefly colony to hide away! Of course waiting for their next victims. This was to become the young leaves on my pomegranate plants. I am writing this page in mid-January and am going to attack the problem using the “yellow sticky card” system. Of course these are great for catching the flying insects which are attracted by the bright yellow colour of the sticky cards. When they land on the cards they get stuck and die.
These are often egg laying adult insects which interrupts their breeding pattern . So, helping to control the outbreak. The yellow cards also trap many other types of insects some harmful and some not. However this will give you an insight into which pests you have in your plants area. Enabling you to take evasive action before your plants suffer.
Keep on top of the pest situation.
So as I have just explained be vigilant and always look to spot the pests. Leave them too long and they will ruin whatever crop you are growing! They are not fussy! Time is of the essence. Left to their own devices then these little white flies will quickly infest your whole plants. In many cases making them useless.
Strike the correct level of control and intervention.
So, in any cases pests can be controlled by changing the environment that they are living in. In my particular case I believe they were over wintering waiting for warmer weather. When I heated the greenhouse well their they were! larger pests such as some caterpillars can be removed by hand. Just picked off and killed! However, most times we have to rely on some kind of chemical help. Of course this can be organic or man made. As are the yellow sticky cards that I am putting out.
Importantly though harmful chemicals should be voided when growing in a hydroponics system.
Pest removal using sticky traps
In my humble opinion then sticky traps are a great weapon against the most prolific pests. Aphids and whitefly are probably the worse enemies to gardeners which ever type of growing you do. Beginners see them as small and harmless! However they must be exterminated as much as possible. Sticky traps are the first line of defence. As I have stated they often trap the breeding flying insects who are attracted by the bright colour, usually yellow.
The traps help identify the species that you are about to take battle with. On examining the traps you can identify the insects and take defensive action.
So, like all garden products then the market is flooded by different types of chemicals used to exterminate your particular pests. In my opinion then it is best to try use an organic based pesticide. One that springs straight to my mind is based on “Pyrethrin“. This is organic as is made from the Chrysanthemum plant. So, I would certainly give this a first try and if it does not work then try something else. There are many organically based pesticides on the market.
Insects hate good spray
Spraying with water also comes into the changing the general conditions category. It helps to control pests by changing the temperature and disrupting the insects desires to suck the living daylight from your plants. This in turn disrupts the reproduction cycle. In the recent attack of greenfly on my pomegranate plants then I sprayed them with a dilute washing up liquid solution. greenfly especially hate this treatment which usually clears the problem until your next attack.
This page is just a generalisation and as I know many growers and gardeners usually find their own way through and round things so I wish you the best of luck should you get an attack from these pesky insects. Growers can get a good start against the insects by using a fumer in the growing area. This is what I should have done to prevent my recent whitefly attack!