May 29 column: Organic insect control

What’s bugging you? Chances are, there are a few insect pests in your garden that are getting the better of you. In today’s column, I discuss my top 5 insect pests and organic insect control. Here’s a link to it, in today’s edition of The Spokesman-Review: Pests can be thwarted naturally.

If you’re like me, you’d like to deal with those insect pests in an environmentally-friendly way. And kudos to you for that! The important thing to remember is that out of all of the insects in the world, only 1 percent of them are damaging insects. The remaining 99 percent are either predatory insects or those that parasitize the bad guys.

It’s important to me to find control methods that won’t endanger the pollinators and all of the good guys out insect control, floating row cover

In my column, I discuss how to control aphids, cabbage worms, leaf miners, slugs and stink bugs. I also mention floating row cover. In the photo to the right, you can see  what it looks like. If you take good care of it, it will last for years. Be sure to weight down the edges of it with bricks, rocks or boards, just so the wind doesn’t blow it away.

One other control that I didn’t have room for in my column is diatomaceous earth. This material, which looks like flour, is made from the fossilized remains of diatoms (algae). It is safe for humans to handle (although don’t breathe it in!), but it has tiny, sharp edges to it. You sprinkle it around, and/or on, the plants you’re trying to protect. Those tiny sharp edges will cut into the skin of the slugs as they try to cross it, which causes them to dehydrate and die. You can find it at garden centers and online.


Here are photos of most of them, or their damage, in case there are some you’re not familiar with:

1) Stink bug damage on our artichokes (grrr!) –

organic insect control, stink bug damage

2) Stink bugs –

organic insect control, stink bugs

3) Leaf miner damage on spinach leaves –

organic insect control, leaf miner damage


4) Slug damage on artichoke leaf –

organic insect control, slug damage

5) Slug in beer trap –

organic insect control, slug in beer trap