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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

In nature one finds the good (beneficial organisms), the bad (destructive pests) and the ugly, which includes beneficial and destructive pests. Beneficial insects and wildlife work hand in hand.

One example of cooperation between the good and bad is the ladybird and aphid..

Adults and larvae of ladybirds feed on aphids. Organic formulations like Margaret Roberts Organic Insecticide contain garlic and canola oil and can only kill very small insects the size of aphids by means of suffocation.

Photo by Jared Belson

The adult ladybird is already too big and will not be adversely affected. In general, healthy ladybird populations should be able to keep low aphid infestations under control. One of the main reasons to control aphids is that they are a vector (carrier) of virus diseases that cannot be cured once the plant is infested.

The potato ladybird can be mistaken for the beneficial ladybird that feeds on aphids. This non-beneficial ladybird feeds on leaves and is particularly fond of tomatoes as well as spinach. The potato ladybird can be easily controlled with Ludwig’s Insect Spray+, which is ideal for use on all edible crops to kill most insects (including aphids) on contact. You can s­pray today, harvest tomorrow!

Are your flowers and fruit under attack by black and yellow creatures?

The CMR beetle, also known as the blister beetle, is a destructive beetle that damages flowering and fruit-bearing plants, as well as the flowers of vegetables like pumpkins, tomatoes and green beans. CMR adults are black with bright yellow bands across black wings, and they can excrete fluid that can cause blisters on the human skin.

CMR beetles feed during the day, unlike chafer beetles which feed at night. The adults fly from breeding sites like natural grass fields where their larvae feed on the egg-packets of locusts and grasshoppers and are known to be one of nature’s biological controls.

Adult beetles can be killed on contact by organic formulations containing natural pyrethrins. CMR and adult chafer beetles can take up to 12 hours to die after contact with organic insecticides like Ludwig’s Insect Spray+.

The hot wet summer weather is heaven for all sorts of plant diseases, especially those caused by fungi. If leaves on plants are starting to show black spots or yellowing this could well be the cause. Like many garden problems, prevention is better than cure as many of these fungal spores can remain in the soil for long periods. Remove all affected leaves, and destroy, try not to wet leaves of plants when watering (difficult in rainy weather), allow good air circulation around plants so that foliage can dry out, and spray both preventively and curatively.

One of the safest sprays to use is Kirchhoff’s Ludwig’s Copper Count-N Fungicide Solution that helps to treat plant diseases, fungi and bacterial infections. Copper is a general biocide that is effective for fungicide-bactericide treatments. Copper particles gradually disintegrate releasing copper ions. Kirchhoff’s Ludwig’s Copper Count-N Fungicide Solution is harmless to bees, birds, beneficial insects, wildlife and pets, and has low toxicity to fish and humans.

For use on crops such as roses, flowers, herbs and vegetables.

Safety of pesticides

Remember to read the label, especially the piece of paper containing the directions for use, precautions, and warnings as well as mixing instructions of all products (organic and chemical).

Have a wonderful pest-free summer and remember to safeguard wildlife in your garden. Make sure you select the right pesticide to solve destructive pest problems with no or minimum impact on your health or natural wildlife.