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I’m loving labour free, natural pest control!
Our Eggplants have been hit by Spider Mites (what hasn’t this year?) but are recovering nicely without any intervention.
The secret? Tiny Ladybird Beetles called Stethorus! You can see how tiny they are in the next pic. I know I’ve posted about them before but they’re so amazing that I thought I’d feature them again.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed an order of attack for the Spider Mites. They hit the Solanums first and in a particular order. First it’s the Blackberry Nightshades that grow wild in the font garden and opportunistically in the backyard. Then our poor Potted Pepino gets them.
I watch the Pepino closely. Once the characteristic mottling of its leaves starts to show, I keep a close eye out for the little black dots that are the Stethorus, or is that Stethorii?
When they appar on the Pepino, it’s time to reduce the population of Spider Mites in the front yard. At this time, the Blackberry Nightshades are looking pretty sick and are covered with webbing. They never seem to get visited by Stethorus, so it’s safe to pull them out and dispose of them through solarisation in plastic bags before composting.
Next, signs of the pesky Arachnids (Spider Mites are Arachnids, not Insects) start to show on the Tomatoes and Eggplants. Soon after, the Stethorus pop up here and there on their leaves and go to work. Shortly after they show up, leaves begin to green again and along with a bonus of extra fertilizer, the leaves start to green again and new leaves show only signs of light damage.
Understanding the cycles of your pests and predators and having a little patience can help reduce the amount of work that you need to put into your garden and you can put the time and energy to other things.
Since I’ve understood these cycles and learned to sacrifice the Blackberry Nightshades, I’ve managed to eliminate the use of pesticides altogether and to rely on Nature and good fertilization. That means that i have lots more time to drink coffee and write blog posts like this!