Ladybug on leaf
Research report

Gardening without insecticides

Keep pest problems to a minimum and your garden flourishing without using insecticides.

Member comments

Get access to comment

Mike P.
24 Jan 2015
Crop Rotation

Great to see the link between healthy soil as the starting point for all health. Legume crops (peas, beans, lupin, clovers) will only fix nitrogen if there are active bacteria in the nodules (lumps on the roots). Pull up a plant, check for nodules and then open one to see if it has a pinkish colour inside (live bacteria). The nitrogen from these plants only becomes available when the foliage and stems are decomposing in the soil. So if you don'd leave them as a mulch (the best option - pull out and leave lying on the soil surface) or dig them in but remove them then you have removed the nitrogen and other nutrients too.

Thorsten S.
08 Sep 2014
native NZ raspberry moth (Heterocrossa rubophaga/Carposina rubophaga)

my raspberries end up with no fruit unless I spray them with pesticide; the native moth lays caterpillars in the flower buds/stems and then - no fruit. I have googled endlessly to find an alternative to what I'm using which will shortly be banned... do I give up growing raspberries , lay biological baits or are there resistant varieties?

Mike P.
24 Jan 2015
Alternative control

Have you tried Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) a soil bacteria that attacks lepidoptera larvae (butterfly and moth caterpillars). Timing of the spray is important as you want to apply it when the adults are actively mating and laying eggs on your plants.

Neem granules to control soil overwintering pupae. The disadvantage with neem is that it is rather broad spectrum used in this way and not so good for the health of your soil. Neem also, reportedly, acts systemically within the plants when applied to the soil. The roots absorb the neem and up into the plant you wish to eat, not such a good idea. Neem as a foliar spray would be another option. It stops or reduces feeding, disrupts larval maturation, and can interrupt mating. Personally I always look for an organic certified product.