Has anyone ever used organic pest control?
For example this product https://www.bunnings.com.au/eco-organic-garden-backyard-buddies-eco-gracey-lacewing-eggs_p2960994
My friend and I were hoping someone could shed some light on the pro's and con's of using these products, if they are effective and worth investing in?
Any advice or information would help!
Organic pest control is a great alternative to using chemicals in your garden and, in most situations, it's highly effective.
The product range you've mentioned uses predator insects to eradicate pest insects like aphids, thrips, whitefly, mites and other chewing and sap-sucking insects - different predators for different pests..
Starting your venture into natural pest control with products like Backyard Buddies is a serious and potentially expensive step! You might like to try the organic Eco-Oil or Eco-Neem first to see how well this type of pest control works in your garden.
For Backyard Buddies to be really successful your pest insects need to be present in plague numbers, so your 'buddies' not only survive but thrive and go on to produce future generations of pest munchers! An average sized home garden may not have the numbers. But if you have a large productive garden and home orchard, then it would be the next step to take after trialling the Eco sprays.
Something else to think about - if your neighbours are using conventional insecticides in their gardens, then your introduced buddies could be wiped out too. It would be really good if you could work in with your surrounding neighbours so you're all using organic pest control!
Hi @kaylah_rose, apologies for missing your post as it's a topic I find very interesting & worth exploring in some detail.
The language around organic pest control and other organic products can get a wee bit confusing so I’ll clarify a few points.
Organic pest control products are any that have been certified as suitable for use in organic gardens, organic farming or organic food/crop production.
This generally means the product is not derived from synthetic (i.e. – manmade) chemicals.
So for example EcoOrganic EcoOil uses plant oils not mineral (petroleum-based) oils. It is then fortified with a natural pheromone attractant to attract beneficial predatory insects that will eat or otherwise attack plant pests.
A product can claim to be ‘organic’ without being organically certified and technically anything with material derived from a plant or animal source can claim to be organic as it’s organically derived.
Horticulturists will often talk about ‘adding organic matter to the soil’ but they are not generally talking organically certified product, just about cow manure or compost etc.
So… you need to look for Australian organic certification.
There are two main bodies in Australian that issue credible certification – Australian Certified Organic (ACO) and NASAA Certified Organic.
These are Government approved certifying bodies. There are a few others too but they are more specialised.
The product you referenced is an organic biological control – insects to kill insects – often referred to under the broad heading of beneficial insects but more correctly predatory beneficial insects.
Lacewings are excellent predatory insects that will feed on a whole range of insect pests. They can be extremely effective however you need enough, or repeat releases, to tackle a major pest outbreak.
Just as a digression… have you ever seen tiny little eggs laid on the end of long hairs in clusters in all sorts of odd places? (see photo) They are lacewing eggs. They are laid on those hairs because the hatchlings have such voracious appetites they would eat each other if not separated…
Anyhews… moving on from insectivorous infanticide cannibalism…
A garden kept in good biological and ecological balance through sustainable and organic gardening practices, including reduction in ‘traditional’ pesticide use, will have less problems with pests as;
a) – the plants are better able to resist insect attack and
b) – there will naturally be a better population of beneficial predatory insects.
Organic pest control methods can be extremely effective however it will mean adopting different approaches and techniques to what you are used to. Transitioning to organic gardening in general is a very worthwhile & rewarding process.
So short answer… yes, bugs are awesome! But you won’t get the drop-dead-instantly impact of using a spray.
For a serious infestation maybe use a certified organic spray first and then a week after spraying release some beneficials.
I happened across your post today and thought I would share my thoughts.
I am an avid novice gardener. I prefer to avoid chemicals in the garden too and have been encouraging beneficial insects into the garden using a mix of different plants and a bit of companion gardening. Predator insects are great but they won't hang around in your garden if the conditions are not right. I plant 'sacrificial ' plants that attract the pests which then act as a plentiful food source for predator insects. At the moment my bush basil and mint are getting chewed to bits by white cabbage moth caterpillars but my broccoli hasn't been touched! The mint and basil are hardy perennials that will regenerate easily but my broccoli is a annual crop that will be useless if attacked. I also let some of the veg go to flower which keeps a range of good insects hanging around too. Did you end up buying predator insects ? How did it go?
Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community @Anne3. It's great to have you join us and many thanks for jumping straight into the conversation.
Let me mention @kaylah_rose so they are alerted to your response and question.
I can see even as a "novice" gardener you are very knowledgable on the subject and I think you'll be able to provide a great deal of assistance to many of our members. We look forward to hearing more about your gardening projects and would encourage you to let us know if you ever need any assistance or would like to share them with the community.
Fantastic to have you join the Bunnings Workshop community @Anne3. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and experience. We're really looking forward to reading more of your posts soon. Please don't hesitate to post anytime you have something to share or need a hand, and please let me know if you ever need assistance getting the most from the site.