In a recent post I shared some information with you from one of 3 links that a reader had sent to me.
In this post I’ll cover information from the other two links Pat sent. One was on identifying the leaffooted bug’s eggs and the other was on trap crops.
Eggs of the LeafFooted Bug
I hadn’t realized that the eggs of the leaffooted bug would be so easy to identify. Be sure and check out this link to see pictures because I think you’ll find the eggs unmistakable. Looking for and destroying these eggs might be one of the easiest way to help rid your garden of these pests.
Using Trap Crops for Management of Stink and Leaf Footed Bugs
The third link Pat sent was about “Trap crops for Management of Stink and Leaf Footed bugs”
The idea is to use trap crops to lure the stink bugs away from your main crops into a smaller area where they can be better managed.
For home gardeners the article suggests the possibility of planting small plots of the trap crops (even in large containers that can be moved around) and removing the bugs by hand or with insecticides. (Organic for organic gardens.)
Some of the trap crops mentioned are ones that you’d plant as cover crops (like buckwheat, field peas, triticale<a mix of rye and wheat>) or a food crop like okra. Keep in mind it’s the seed of these crops that’s attractive to the stink/leaffooted bugs.
Important to Note: When using these plants for cover crops, you’d want to cut or turn them under before they seed in order to get the most nutrient value from the biomass. When crops go to seed — almost all the nutrient value is in the seed.
The nectar and pollen of some of these plants can be great for beneficial insects, but they can also attract aphids, whiteflies, mites or other pests — depending on what crop it is.
Dr Mizell – who wrote the article – goes on to say that “The most effective way to protect a crop in larger fields using trap crops is to surround the main crop with a 2-3 meter border of the trap crops. Smaller areas can be protected using parallel or edge-planted plots. Stink/leaffooted bugs display a definite edge response to and buildup populations in border rows of crops before moving into the crop interior. ”
Thinking it Through
All this information can be of value and trap crops could be just the “tool” you’re looking for. But if you are not prepared to kill the bugs that come to the trap crops — you may be going from one problem to a greater problem. So just make sure you think things through.
What ever you decide, keep in mind that healthy soil (and thus healthy plants) is going to do more to keep the pest population down than anything else.
Organic gardening is easy, effective, efficient — and it’s a lot healthier.
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