Pests

Pests

Pests are a problem for any indoor or outdoor gardener.  There are a number of ways to deal these problematic little buggers.  Philosophically I do not believe in using “hardcore” chemicals, there are so many other ways to battle these problems without waging full on chemical warfare.

I would prefer to use these alternatives as there is less eco fallout and they work very  well. 

Why?  well lets say a person is growing tobacco or Mullen, as anyone knows one of the fastest ways to get anything into your body is to inhale it.  most of the pesticides on the market are NOT meant for this application and who knows what kind of side effects could surface. 

Most Pesticides etc are have not been tested on plants such as tobacco, they have been tested to run through a humans digestive track and be subjected to stomach acid.  Not to mention that most pesticides are pulled off the market after a period of time as they are deemed the cause of serious side effects.

There are some ready to use (RDU)  products on the market  that are both deadly to insects and non toxic to mammals.
Most of these products contain pyrethrum, which has a lox toxicity  to mammals but is deadly to insects, fish, and lizards.

These are a very effective method of dealing with insects if used properly,  allot of people expect a product to eradicate the insects in a single dose and keep working throughout the growing cycle.  Which has lead these same people to search out the “Magic Bullet”  which often manifests itself as a kill all chemical.  I bet that those people have already stopped reading this information and gone back to there Cheesy Poofs and Budweiser (couldn’t  resist, I like both)

The first rule in dealing with bugs is DON’T GET THEM,  this is not as hard a concept as people might think but it does take some preventive steps on the part of the gardener.  Before I go any further let me clue you in on a little thought about fact,  If you bring pests into your indoor garden its a matter of time until you bring in something much more devastating like Powdery Mildew. 

Its a fact that if you get either of these problems in your indoor garden, YOU BROUGHT THEM IN.  And as much as you would like to shift the blame that’s the cold hard truth.  The most common ways are on your clothes, on a friend or pet, or on a clone.  the idea that it came in through an intake fan is in all probability not a viable excuse in fact there is less than a 1% chance of that happening.

The only case that I have heard of where the problem actually came in from the intake fan was where the inlet for the fan was directly behind a heavily infected rose bush.  In the vastness of the great outdoors think about how small relatively the intake is and the odds of the minuet pest getting in that way .

Treating you indoor garden like a laboratory is the most effective way not to get any pest problems. This is a case of “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.   If you are careful, shower and or change your clothes before entering, do not bring friends or pets in, and do not bring outside plants or clones into your indoor garden space then you should not have any problems. 

When I tell people this they get this look on their face like I just told them to do a root canal on themselves.

but it is really the only way to ensure that you don’t get the blight.
 

  • Having a painters suit hanging just outside the entrance to the garden is also an effective way to reduce risk as long as you ware it.
     
  • Quarantining clones for a period of time minimum of a week or two will help you weed out a possible insect problem however  but will do nothing for powder mildew as it generally manifests in flowering conditions.
     
  • Restricting access to your room to only the most vital personal.

Ok so you already have the problem and your saying how do I deal with it, Like I said before I don’t like chemical pesticides.   Pyrethrum is a great alternative and can be used during all stages of plant development, depending on what else is mixed with it.

Pyrethrum is an extract of the chrysanthemum flower and has a low toxicity to mammals,  it is often mixed with a petroleum agent called piperonyl butoxide. this agent is added to increase the lasting power of the pyrethrum and to increase coverage.

The down side to the piperonyl butoxide is that is should not be used during flowering or within three to four weeks before harvest indoors. this is due to the UV breakdown time under artificial lighting.

The UV Breakdown time for Pyrethrum is approximately 2weeks under artificial light.

I do know of one product that contains pyrethrum that may be used up to the last two weeks of flower it is called
“Natures Botanics” and its made by Doctor Doom.   This product is safe as it does not contain piperonyl butoxide.

So what are the alternatives? 

          Beneficials / Predator mites: This is a very effective way of controlling and eradicating both indoor and outdoor pests. the predators are introduced generally “on Leaf” which means you get them in all stages of development from eggs to adults. Predator mites are very specific as to the type of pest they deal with such as  Phytoseiulus persimilis for management of the two spotted spider mite.   Predator Mites should be ordered on a as needed bases as they could die if stored too long.

Before introducing predator mites you have to make sure you have not used ANY pesticides for a at least two weeks, as any residual will kill your predator mites

The following links lead to more specific information on the most common pests for indoor gardeners.

Fungus Gnats

Spider mites

Thrips

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