Natural Pest Control

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This 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?