Garden Foes – How to Control Hungry Insects

Although pest are slim to none when it comes to hydroponic gardening, every once in awhile you may find yourself with a garden intruder. Especially when maintaining an outdoor hydroponic garden, it’s good to know your options for battling these common garden foes. 

Below are three example of insects you may encounter no matter what type of gardening you are practicing and how to naturally plot against them. 

Mosquitoes:

Mosquitoes are the most dangerous insect on this planet, as they can spread deadly diseases with ease. The last thing you want is your water reservoir to turn into a breeding ground for these nasty little buggers. There are a couple steps you can take to eliminate current and future mosquitoes from taking up residence in your hydroponic system. 

1. Mosquito Bits  – Thanks to our friends over at Mounts Botanical Garden, we learned about a very effective way to eliminate mosquitoes, called mosquito bits. Sprinkle a hand full of these granules into your reservoir and growing trays to kill off any existing mosquito larvae and prevent any future inhabitants. You can click here to purchase mosquito bits on Amazon.  

2. Aeration – Mosquitoes prefer standing water to lay their eggs in. By adding an aerator to you water reservoir you can reduce the chances of enticing mosquitoes as well benefiting your plants roots with an extra supply of oxygen. You can click here to purchase a small aerator pump and here for an air stone perfect for hydroponics. 

3. Block Access – Cover any unused planting spaces with plugs and make sure you water reservoir has a sealed lid on at all times. We use these plugs from amazon to seal any unoccupied planting spaces. This method also helps reduce algae growth by eliminating excess light from reaching the water. 

Tomato Hornworms:

These large caterpillars are captivating, however, within a day or two your tomato, pepper, or other nightshade plants may be completely devoured! The Tomato Hornworm metamorphoses into the Five Spotted Hawk Moth, a flying giant of the night.  

4. Hand Picking – If you have a heart for creatures of any size, you may hand pick these caterpillars off of your crops and relocate them to perhaps a plant that you are done harvesting from so they can continue in their transformation.  This goes for any species of caterpillars, I find that hand picking them off is the best and most effective method for removing them. 

Spider Mites:

Almost microscopic in size, spider mites tend to do some damage to your plants before you notice their presence. If you notice tiny silky webs on your plants or small white or yellow spots on the top of the leaves, look closer, you might have spider mites! These stealthy insects use their piercing mouth parts to extract the vital juices from your plants tissues. 

5. Neem Oil – Neem oil is an all natural insecticide that you can spray onto your plants leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits to get rid of spider mites and other small pests. It also helps to combat plant diseases and can improve the overall health of your crops. 

Waging war on the many insects that intend too devour your crops is an act every gardener knows all to well. There are many natural ways to control pests in the garden, the best being a balanced ecosystem where the unwanted garden foes are controlled by the beneficial insects. When it comes to a hydroponic gardening these insects both harmful and beneficial are exploring a foreign territory. 

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