Grit Blogs > Sassy and Sweet - Life on the Farm

Natural Pest Control

A photo of Anna WightThis week the insect eating friends in the garden seem to be at an all-time high.

Or maybe I'm just noticing them more since I'm having to spend a little extra time tending to the garden with the recent high temperatures we've been having.

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We have lots and LOTS of Gulf Coast Toads who make their rounds at night, snatching up just about anything they can out-muscle. I happened to film two toads earlier this week who were trying to break into my recently planted bean garden. I have the raised bed wrapped with bird netting to keep the raccoons, armadillo, cats, chickens, and whatever else happens past, out of the newly planted bed. Apparently, it's keeping the giant toads out, too! Once the bean plants get a bit more established, I'll remove the netting and the toads can enjoy their new playground.

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We also have a large number of dragonflies around the farm this time of year. They make quick work of little flying insects including flies and mosquitoes. While I was out watering the garden yesterday, I noticed quite a number of them in the air above the coop and garden. They would come to rest on the tomato cage wires.

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I took the opportunity to see if I could get some nice photos. I was amazed at how trusting they were with me, letting me get so close to them with my lens. I managed to get many nice shots the showed varying colors and details.

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I'm not too keen on spiders, but I tolerate the garden spider. They tend to just hang out on their webs, and as long as I keep my eye on them, they don't bother me too much. Other Texas spiders don't get the same kind of respect from me, and for good reason. It was interesting watching these two garden spiders. The male (the smaller spider) was interested in the female, but it seemed that she was only tolerating him for a short amount of time.

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Even the chickens come in handy around the garden when it comes to natural pest control. Earlier this week I was putting in a few new rows of bush and pole beans, and the ladies made quick work of grub worms and pesky caterpillars. Apparently, there's nothing better than being hand fed fat grub worms. Of course, I had to do a little damage control on the newly planted seeds, but nothing that planting a few more seeds didn't fix.

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And, as lazy as they may seem during the day, even the barn cats do their part at keeping the pests under control around the farm. We could be overrun with field mice, but it's rare to even see one. I do see the occasional rat out near the coop, but only because it hasn't been unlucky yet. It just takes a short run of luck one time.

What kind of natural pest control do you have in your garden, or around the farm?

nebraska dave
6/21/2010 3:27:42 PM

@Anna, you are very good at taking close up pictures. I always like your pictures. I’m such an amateur when it comes to taking pictures. They are all just plain old Kodak Easyshare snaps. I am starting to learn a bit about light and what makes for better pictures. Even on the Easyshare there are many settings that I’m exploring. I just love the digital age. I can take a slew of pictures, retake pictures from different angles, and play with different settings. If I don’t like them well hit the delete and start over. After many many pictures even I can come up with a couple good ones. I expect that’s good enough just tromping around the urban ranch. I’m not sure about what is living in my garden this year. With all the rain I’m just able to stay ahead of the weeding even with mulch. It’s getting to the point of shading the ground so that shouldn’t be a problem much longer. I don’t think that I have any bug infestations as of yet. I check every few days and haven’t seen any evidence of munching. Using the natural pest control that nature provided is always better than the ways that man finds to try to improve things. Those usually have some unforeseen side affects. Happy gardening. I hope all your evil pests become meals for the toads.


s.m.r. saia
6/21/2010 1:51:39 PM

Those were some amazing pictures. I really need to do a little research on this connection, if there is in fact a connection, but I had very little Colorado Potato Beetle action this year, which seemed odd to me, since I have about 40 plants in the ground. It may have been because I was more aware of them this year and was on the lookout and ready to smush; but I think it's because my potato plants were just crawling with ladybugs this year. I know ladybugs are supposed to be good garden bugs, but can they be that good??? I don't know, but it sure has been a pleasant and painless potato season.... We also have the ocassional preying mantis.