Nowadays, where climate change, pollution and the use of increasingly strong chemicals are making pests more and more resistant, we believe this is an extremely important topic.
When we speak about controlling the crop with other organisms or about performing a biological control, we mean controlling the crop with other organisms that are natural enemies of the pests that appear in our garden.
One of the advantages of natural control is that it’s very effective and is specific against pests. In addition to not producing side effects, pests can never generate resistance to their predators and will never cause toxicity problems for both, the plant or the gardener. Although the effects are slower than with other methods, I think it’s best if it’s done from the beginning of cultivation. One of the techniques is to place plants hosted by these highly collaborating organisms, since they will provide them with food and shelter.
Here is a list of plants that you can use:
- Achillea millefolium and Daucus carota: Produces food for aphids and aphids and whitefly eaters.
- Borago officinalis: Great producer of nectar. Attractive to many insects and invigorating for the useful insect populations.
- Calendula arvensis: Aphid parasitic hymenoptera host.
- Dittrichia viscosa: Host of Myrids, moths predators.
- Fagopyrum esculentum: Produces food for parasitoids and phytophagous predatory insects and is associated with aphid parasitic hymenoptera. Great pollen producer
- Mentha rotundifolia: Host of many auxiliary insects in under plastic horticultural crops.
- Ononis natrix: Midoids predators of phytophagous host.
- Phacelia tanacetifolia: Chrysoperla carnea host. It produces abundant nectar that feeds aphids, and aphids and whitefly eaters.
It is important to maintain balance as well as to know how to recognise which are the beneficial insects for our garden. Please find below some of these beneficial insects:
- The famous ladybugs or “San Antonios”: they will help us with aphids, mites and lice.
- The praying mantis: it is a great predator, but the population of this species must be controlled because it can also eat beneficial insects.
- Earthworms: they will also help us control the soil pH and will provide nutrients with their excrement. You must use species that do not affect the roots.
- The tents: they are other allies that will keep our garden free of pests like red spider mites, mealybugs, whiteflies and aphids.
- Bees: insects of the utmost importance for the planet. Are natural pollinators, so their presence in all gardens is essential.
- The wasps: which I thought were only good for biting!, because they feed on larvae and harmful insects and prevent their proliferation.
- Hoverflies: they are small flies similar to wasps but with the golden striped body. They can be identified by their rapid and zigzag shape flight; their larvae feed on aphid colonies.
- The butterflies: it is another pollinating insect and its larvae serve as food for other beneficial insects.
- Beetles: they will help us with worms, caterpillars and other insects that can harm our plants.
In my years of experience in outdoor cultivation, I have been learning about the natural diversity of insects and the benefits they can generate in my garden. For all this, it is the methodology I use and I think it is the most responsible towards the environment.
In order to prevent the appearance of pests, I have created an infusion that I named as: "Pica Pica" (itching powder). I was convinced that it could work and I wasn’t wrong! It is a mixture of the following six ingredients:
This infusion must always be done and sprayed after sunset. We will spray through the lower and middle part of the plant, the underside of the leaves, the stems, and also the pots outside.
I do not recommend keeping it for many days as it has a greater effectiveness freshly prepared.
I hope this article helps you identify these beneficial plants and insects for your garden and I hope that natural harmony reigns in your crops.