Stinkbugs squash, bugs, cucumber beetles. Hey, if you’re growing vegetables, sooner or later,you’re going to have problems with pests in your garden.

I’m going to talk about an approach for managing the pests on our plants,which we call integrated pest management. The integrated part comes from the fact that we’re going to combine many different tactics and approaches to manage these pests.

Hey,we’re going to use cultural controls, mechanical controls. We’re going to use mother nature’s hit squad. We call that biological control,and when we have to use pesticides,we’re going to try to use the ones that are most environmentally responsible and in this way we can produce really
healthy, safe vegetables to eat.

Step number one in putting together an IPM program is to build your knowledge base, learn about your plants,learn about the proper culture
or rates of fertilization.

How are you going to make your vegetables most productive? In the case of these beans,there’s beautiful trellis allowed these guys to grow up and just produce bountiful fruit. The other thing to learn,of course is the pests that are gonna attack these vegetables.

In the case of beans, one of the major nemesis are the Mexican bean beetles,so learn about the history of these, learn their damage characteristics,how they’re going to affect the plant,and actually learn what the various life stages of these insects look like.

Here’s the adult Mexican bean beetle.

Adult Mexican Beetle

Once you build your knowledge base,then you’re ready for step two in your IPM program. Monitoring is the second step in building an IPM program. Monitoring means the regular inspection of your vegetables and what we’re looking for are symptoms and signs of insect activity.

Symptoms are things like the defoliation that Mexican bean beetles are causing. Signs are the insect itself,so right here we can see the eggs of the Mexican bean beetle. Sometimes using a hand lens can really help us see very small insects and their eggs or even mites that are on leaves.

If you monitor often and thoroughly,you can really stay on top of these pests. The third step in building an IPM program is decision making. You’ve gone out, you’ve monitored your plants, you detected your pests. Now you have to decide if and when it’s time treat.

Overtime and with experience you will develop and eye, for the different types of insects and the problems they cause.

In the case of this tomato, there are a few aphids on the leaf,but guess what? There are some Ladybird beetles eat eating this thing. I’m not doing anything at all, but in the case of say a squash vine,I think I see some squash vine borer are attracted to them. A single larvae could kill that vine,so I’m going to have to do something right now. Decision making.

That’s the third cornerstone in building an IPM program. The fourth step in building your IPM program is intervention. In this case,we’re going to use a floating row cover as a preventive tactic to exclude pests.

Another preventive technique we can use is the use of kaolin clay. This is applied to the leaves of plants. It makes the plants unfavorable. The
bugs simply don’t go there to feed. A third intervention tactic is the use of biological control.

This is simply using mother nature’s hit squad, the predators, parasites,and pathogens that naturally occur and can reduce pest populations. When we’ve exhausted all other tactics,we may choose to use a pesticide
to help reduce these populations. What we like to use are compounds
that are on EPA’s reduced risk lists.

Those that are safe to use in organic gardening. Always read your insecticide label and always be careful when you apply pesticides. The fifth and final component of an IPM program is record keeping.

Record keeping is used to simply keep track of what you saw in your garden and when you saw it. This will help you be prepared next year to figure out when you need to intervene. Also keep track of how well your interventions work and this way you’ll know if a biological control or a certain pesticide that you used actually did the job.

Record keeping is the fifth and final component of a sound IPM program. So that’s it. Gang. Remember your five steps of your IPM program. Build your knowledge base, monitor your plants, make decisions. When you see those bad boys, smack them down,intervene and finally keep records of what you’ve found. And this way you’re going to be able to produce a beautiful bountiful,healthy crop of vegetables that are really delicious.



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