Organic Alternatives for Pest Control
By: Chelsea Wallace (Farm Intern) & Kaitlyn Dykstra (Farm Manager)
Ladybugs, or Lady Bird Beetles, are one of the most common beneficial insects used in gardens and farms, as they are a natural predator of pests like aphids, mites and thrips. This makes Ladybugs a great beneficial insect alternative to pesticides.
Recently, we released ladybugs onto the FoodChain farm, specifically around the basil in hopes that they would take care of the spider mites that have been working their way into the plants. The ladybugs work to devour the insects, successfully managing an indoor pest issue without the use of any chemical treatments or pesticides.
Ladybugs come by the hundred or thousand, typically packed with some packing straw in a linen bag. There are many companies that sell the insects online. You can simply release the ladybugs onto the farm or into the garden and watch them work their magic. We ordered our ladybugs from https://www.naturesgoodguys.com/
For indoor and hydroponic or aquaponic farmers, release the ladybugs in a contained area and towards the base of the plants, as ladybugs tend to crawl upwards and towards light. You can even store ladybugs in the refrigerator and release as needed!
Other Organic Alternatives
There are several other beneficial insects for garden pest control (see Insect Infographic) as well as other organic alternatives such as spraying neem or garlic oil, planting calendula (flower) or other bitter herbs within your garden, and manually removing pests from foliage and plants when you see them. Sometimes a combination of a few different options is the best plan for dealing with pests.