was flea beetles{FARMSCAPING}

Chris Sawyer css at ioa.com
Sat Apr 20 19:40:50 EDT 2002

Hi Allan,
Farmscaping is basically giving the beneficial insects something to eat. The
plants the smaller bugs need have two nectaries. I am surely no expert, and
what I have learned came from Dr. McDonald who is our consultant person. I am
using a blend of seeds from UCLA Davis called BB50. I could not even tell you
what is in it. All the relatives of parsnips, queen anne lace, buckwheat, and
some others are good to keep blooming all the time. Basically what we need is
something blooming all the time. I let my kale bloom and bush hog it just
before it sets seed, and it seems to have something the seraphid flies need
and eat. Tulip poplar is a habitat for the tricogamma wasp. Every 100 feet or
so I plant a row of bug habitat. When I need the beneficials to move onto my
crops, I can mow those rows and make them migrate. Some bugs only move a small
distant in their lives and others can cover acres. I am still learning much
about this subject.

Some of the newer insecticides coming out now kill everything and one can just
spray and spray pyrethrin killing everything in sight. I sometimes wonder if I
am swimming upstream not using them, but last year we had pretty good results
using only bugs to fight bugs, and I am going in that direction again. I just
got a free sample of some stuff called Diatech V, which is omri approved and
kills most everything. I will use it only sparingly on my hot spots. It claims
to control the corn earworm, which is a pest I have no other solution for. I
am not about to spend the time to treat each individual ear of corn in two
acres with mineral oil so I may fog with the new stuff just to see how it
affects the lady bugs. We have five varieties of lady beetle here. I am also
planting a large patch of chard which in the past I never got much because of
the Harlequin bugs and Diatech works on them too. It is a wetable blend of
pyrethrin and DE, can be dusted or wet sprayed.
The other aspect of farmscaping I use is to mix up the rows all over the field
so no two beds are planted in the same crop. My rows range from 150' to 300'.
I learned the hard way that to use 1300' rows wears out the crew something
terrible. No one minds hoeing a short row but those long ones are too
discouraging for the average intern. It also makes harvesting easier since
carrying lugs is relatively painless in those short runs. It does make tractor
prep work more tedious but that is better than wearing out the labor.

One could also consider trap cropping farmscaping. Plant a sacrificial row of
something to attract your worst pests that can be sprayed for a fast knock
down if needed.


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