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Gardening with Laurie: Organic pest control helps rid insects from garden

By By Laurie Garretson
June 13, 2013 at 1:13 a.m.


If you call yourself a true gardener, then you more than likely have snails, aphids, white flies some type of worm or some other type of critter that sometimes bugs you.

Insects, whether good or bad, just come with the title. I don't think this is true for everywhere in the world but it certainly is in our area. Our warm, humid climate is very inviting to many types of pests.

Going through the worst drought in recorded history these past few years seems to have made the pest situation worse for many gardeners.

Creatures of all kinds are not only looking for a meal, but they're also looking for water. Humans are usually going to have some sort of food source and the water that hungry pests are needing.

One pest that I'm now repeatedly asked about are scorpions. Scorpions are night feeders that are attracted to water, irrigated areas and outside lighted areas where they find prey. Scorpions often feed on crickets, moths, cockroaches, beetles and many other insects.

Scorpions are arachnids and are more closely related to spiders, ticks and horseshoe crabs than to insects. Scorpions have an exoskeleton and jointed legs. Their thicker shell-like skin makes them harder to kill.

There is one product that is very effective in killing scorpions and many other insects (fleas, bed bugs, roaches) with exoskeletons.

Diatomaceous earth is all natural, safe for humans and pets, and it's even edible. Diatomaceous earth, also referred to as DE, is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton.

Pests that come in contact with diatomaceous earth will get it caught in their exoskeletons and in their joints. As they move around, the diatomaceous earth will act like microscopic shards of glass and cut them up. This action will quickly be the end of them.

The wonderful thing about diatomaceous earth, besides eliminating pests, is that it will not harm humans or pets. Many pet owners and farmers feed diatomaceous earth to their animals for parasites and other benefits.

Many people eat diatomaceous earth themselves for all kinds of aliments. When shopping for diatomaceous earth, always make sure to get the food grade diatomaceous earth. The only caution there could be for diatomaceous earth is not to inhale the dust. It would not be good for your lungs.

Another good thing about using nontoxic diatomaceous earth as an insecticide is that it kills by a physical action, not a chemical action. This means pests can't build up a tolerance to the diatomaceous earth like they would to poisons.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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