One principle of permaculture design is to cultivate a balanced ecosystem - including as an approach to pest control. As permaculture founder Bill Mollison said, "You haven't got an excess of slugs, you've got a duck deficiency."
via SpiralSeed's 'Permaculture, a Beginner's Guide'
Now, my windowsill arugula
is a far cry from a permaculture design, but I did use natural predators to control the aphid infestation. I didn't have an excess of aphids, I had a ladybug deficiency! For the last few months I've continually relocated 'ladybugs' (actually, West Asian Beetles) from our south-facing windows onto my arugula, and happily watched them get fat on the little green buggers. Lately, though, a couple of the ladybugs mated and left these eggs on an arugula leaf!
A few days later... they hatched!
EEEeeek! I'll be the first to admit, little crawly things make my scalp itch... they creep me out. But these beetle larvae have their plus-side. The baby ladybugs look like fierce little dragons and are ravenous! I watched one of the bigger ladybug larvae attack and eat an aphid that was a full half of its size. Way to go, little guys!
Some of the larger larvae - this was the closest picture I could get! Click to enlarge.
Though my arugula has gone to seed
and isn't long for this world, the recent surge in ladybug population is a huge triumph against the aphids
Yes, pest control is possible. How do you control pests? Predators? Companion planting? Sprays?
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