This year our garden has been attacked by spotted cucumber beetles, stinkbugs, and small caterpillars. These little guys have driven me to do some research on organic pesticide solutions, and my quest has been successful!
Weapon #1: Diatomaceous earth kills a large variety of those little garden fiends; it will basically kill almost any kind of bug. It is a powder ground from the shells of little underwater creatures called diatoms. When it comes into contact with a bug, it will eventually dehydrate it. I like to use food grade so I’m sure it’s safe for humans.
You can apply it to the leaves of your plants with a duster like the one pictured on the bag above, or you can mix some in a spray bottle full of water and spray it on the leaves. I feel like it’s more effective to put it on dry, but that’s just my opinion. If you are applying it using the dry method, it can be helpful to lightly spray the leaves with a little water first just to help the powder stick a little better. I like to wear a mask when I apply it, as it is aggravating to the respiratory system. Goggles are also a good idea if there is a breeze.
One downside about diatomaceous earth though, is that it does kill bees. Applying it in the evening will help diminish any damage you might do the them.
Weapon #2: Spinosad is another good option when you’re battling those little dragons in your garden. It kills quite a few kinds of pests, including cucumber beetles, caterpillars, thrips, and other foliage feeding bugs. I found it to be very effective when targeting cucumber beetles. There is a days to wait before harvesting window, as with any other pesticide, but on most veggies it isn’t very long. You only have to wait one day to harvest tomatoes and cucumbers for instance. Three days for melons.
I like to wear a mask and gloves when I apply it. The informational booklet on the back of our bottle says it is ineffective on bees after only three hours.
I hope these will be helpful in your battle against the bugs! Don’t give up! 😉