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2 "2 Organic Pest Control Ideas for Cutter Ants & Green Cabbage Worms" by AR

"Two garden pests have been my nemeses: cutter ants and green cabbage worms. While wanting to stay organic (knowing that those plants might make their way into my belly soon) I sought a natural remedy. I also have backyard birds, roaming kitties and squirrels around, and didn't want to adversely affect their health as well.

Cutter ants are really quite amazing creatures. Not only do they cut a plant's leaves with their mouths with perfect precision, they put huge pieces on their backs (sometimes 10x as big as their bodies) and carry the parts back to their hill/nest in a perfect line. Unfortunately, when they put their sights on your plants (in my case my knock out roses) the effects can be quite devastating, both for the plant...and for the gardener! 
So here's what I have had the best success with: old fashioned oats. All you have to do is purchase some old fashioned oats, make sure they're not the instant kind, and sprinkle them around and over the dry plant. I also like to sprinkle some in their 'marching line.'

The ants are attracted to the oats, as they are also organic matter like the plant's leaves. You will see the ants begin to carry the oats back to their nests. Try not to interfere and resist killing the ants with your shoe as this will deter them from taking the oats. Once the ants begin to eat the oats, the oats will expand with the moisture in the ants' digestive system and quite literally cause the ants to blow up. Not the nicest way to die I would imagine, but pesticide can't be pleasant either--so I prefer this 'evil' if it's between the lesser of two. Be sure that if it rains or you have to water the plant, that you wait til it dries before sprinkling out some fresh oats. The oats only expand so much, so the name of the game is to get the ants to take the dry oats back to their nest to share with his friends. It may take several applications for you to kill off the ants, but be patient and diligent.

Most recently, I had to battle green cabbage worms who were destroying my brussel sprouts. These little guys are pretty clever too, as they are almost exactly the same color as the leaves and often hide in the curl of the leaves' edge. For weeks I couldn't explain what was eating my brussel sprouts...the worms must have just been too small for me to see, but as they munched away they got bigger, until finally I saw some..."ick!" I read where some people had good luck simply picking them off daily....but I prefer this method...So just like the oats and the ants, I have had good success with self-rising flower. Yep...it's that simple. Just sprinkle some self-rising flour over the leaves. The worms eat the flour and again, just like the ants, blow up. I had tried some other methods which included a mixture of cheyenne pepper and soap but didn't have an much success as with the oats and the flour. If you have any other good tips for naturally fighting garden pests, I would love to know. Leave me a note in the comments section." Happy gardening, AR

2 comments:

said...

Great advice thanks for sharing!

said...

This is exactly the reason why they don't let folks throw rice at weddings anymore. The rice expands in the birds' stomachs and can be harmful. And it's also the same reason you shouldn't feed seagulls, or any birds, white bread. Lots of people ignore or don't know this rule.



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