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Grow Room Pest Protection: Problem Insects in your Indoor Garden Featured

Get the lowdown on how to prevent garden pests. Get the lowdown on how to prevent garden pests.


Pests include all insects and animals that interfere with the growth and health of plants. Approximately 10,000 species of insects cause huge crop losses worldwide. In fact, pest damage is responsible for about a 30% loss in crops around the world. Given the fact that nearly a third of the world is food insecure, this loss is truly a significant issue facing humanity.

Since a large number of these pests are soil dwellers, indoor and greenhouse growers have a lesser amount to deal with. However, pests still are a major issue for growers anywhere. The typical hydroponic setting is a very conducive environment for disease and pests to thrive. The good news is that indoor growers are in a much better position to control the growth environment and hence can prevent and control pests more effectively.

Let’s meet the pests that prey on horticulturists’ peace of mind along with their crops. The most common pests are the spider mites; these red, yellow or green microscopic bugs form cobwebs on plants, followed closely by whiteflies, which, as the name suggests, are tiny white flying insects. Aphids are very small with light-colored bodies. They leave a sticky residue on the leaves. Thrips are very small, thin bugs that leave dark spots on the leaves. Also commonly found are the fungus gnats, which are the hatched offspring of tiny black flies that attack plant roots. Caterpillars are often found eating away at leaves in many gardens. You must also safeguard your grow room from the many types of beetles, worms, nematodes, earwigs and other pests.

The are multiple feeding methods that pests employ that can damage or destroy your crops, such as:

• Biting and chewing (tissue eating) e.g. locust, weevil
• Piercing and sucking (sap-sucking) e.g. red spider
• Borers (that bore into plant stems and eat them from the
inside out) e.g. European corn borers
• Nematodes attack the roots of plants and cause swellings
called knots which inhibit growth.

When dealing with pests, you need to maintain the delicate balance of nature while protecting your plants. Integrated pest management (IPM) is the modern term for using common sense in your garden to avoid many problems and to detect and control those that do occur as early as possible. Pest control itself offers several options, ranging from physical barriers to traps, pesticides, and biological and alternate planting methods.

Biological methods include introducing predators that feed on various pests, such as:

• Parasitoid wasps (feed on aphids, caterpillars and grubs)
• Lacewing larvae (feed on aphids)
• Ladybug larvae (feed on aphids)
• Hoverflies and robberflies (feed on many insects, including
leafhoppers and caterpillars)

Another technique is introducing companion plants to your garden to either repel or distract pests from your precious crop. Nasturtium attracts caterpillars, therefore, planting it around lettuce or cabbage protects them from damage, as egg-laying insects will prefer the nasturtium. This is called trap cropping. Marigolds, on the other hand, defend your crop by both repelling aphids with their smell, and attracting hover flies, which in turn eat any pests that do turn up.

Advanced gardeners will even introduce certain types of bacteria to the grow environment that kills pests, but leaves the crop unharmed. And there’s always good old sticky paper to trap and help monitor insects in the crop.

The entire field of pest control is extremely complex, simply because there are thousands of pests, with varying life cycles and habits. Keeping one step ahead needs a lot of attention and management from the intelligent grower. Now that you know what obstacles you’re facing, keep reading Rosebud and do your own research to become a general in the war against pests.

Pest Control: Simple steps to protect from pests.

1. Prevention: How can you prevent pests from attacking your crops?
2. Monitoring: Is it really a problem or is it a single incident?
3. Analyzing: How much damage are you willing to tolerate?
4. Control: How can you stop it before the damage spreads?

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Investigate your crop like it was a crime scene.
Last modified on Friday, 09 August 2013 21:45

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