How to Utilize Beneficial Insects (Parasites) in Your Organic Garden


Hi, I’m Tricia, a California organic gardener. Did you know that you have a lot of help in your garden that sometimes you can’t even see? Today we are going to introduce you to a lot of beneficial organisms. Some moth species, like the codling moth, can be a real problem in your orchard or garden. That’s where our helper the Trichogramma wasp will come in. Trichogramma Wasps parasitize and eat the eggs of most species of moths. You want to set out your trichogramma wasp card when the moths you’re trying to control start their flight. Pheromone traps are a great way to make sure you set the Trichogramma wasps out at the best time. Just tear off a portion of the card, and place it out of the direct sunlight on the plant that you want to protect, preferably protected by the foliage. If you have farm animals, like chickens,
manure breeding flies can really be a problem. Fortunately there’s a wasp for that! These mini wasps will parasitize the fly larvae and prevent the fly from hatching. Release these about every one to
four weeks in the warm weather. If you have a lot of livestock, a more
frequent release is recommended. Sprinkle the wasps next to a fly breeding site, like a damp manure pile or in the chicken coop. If you have mites eating your plants, there’s mite eating mites that are happy to help. And they’re very easy to apply – just spray
the plants that you want to treat with water, and then just sprinkle on the mites. If you’ve grown plants indoors or in the greenhouse, you may have had a problem with fungus gnats. There’s predatory mites that
will solve that problem too! Apply these mites before you have a major fungus gnat infestation. They will control the population better if they’re
released when the population is still relatively low. Take care of your predatory mites! They
can’t survive freezing or flooding. You may have heard of plant eating nematodes, but there’s also pest insect eating nematodes. These beneficial nematodes live in the
soil. These microscopic worms control soil
dwelling pests, like grubs and japanese beetles. And they’re easy to apply – just mix the recommended amount with water, and then spray or sprinkle evenly. Don’t be shy with the water! Nematodes will swim to the areas containing the most pests for them to eat, and like most beneficials, they’re best released in the early morning or late evening. And remember that all pesticides, even
organic ones, can harm your beneficial helpers. So let them be you first offense,
and Grow Organic for Life!

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