Keeping Insects Out – Literally

This morning in the Demonstration Garden, we implemented 2 1/2 methods of insect control that are maybe something different from what you’ve seen before.

The first thing we are trying out is bagging our apples. We have all of 3 apples on our tree, so it wasn’t too labor intensive!

We just took 3 sandwich bags and zipped them over the apple, enclosed on the stem of the apple. Then we put a staple on either side of the stem to help hold the bag in place. The idea behind this is to prevent most of the insects that infest apples from laying their eggs on the apples. This method is supposed to work very well against apple maggot, but I don’t know how effective it will be against codling moth. It will be interesting to see how the apples do!

We also put up this pheromone trap for the Squash Vine Borer. The intent of this trap isn’t to catch every single Squash Vine Borer moth so that they don’t lay eggs on the squash plants. The goal is to catch some of the moths so we know when there are squash vine borer moths out flying around and laying eggs. When we catch a moth or two, we know that it is time to spray the plants to kill off any larva that are hatching. The general recommendation to prevent squash vine borer is to spray every 7-10 days! The trap could help us only spray when we really really really need to. (This is the “1/2” of a method, in case you were curious.)

The other thing we are doing to try to outwit the squash vine borers is to use light weight row covers on hoops (low tunnels) over our new squash seedlings. Similar to the apple bagging, this method is trying to exclude the pests in question. By putting on the row covers, the moths won’t be able to lay eggs on the plants. The only way this method works is if you are rotating where you plant your squash, because the pupae of the moths overwinter in the soil near where the plants were the previous year. The moths hatch out when it gets warm in early summer. Obviously the row covers would be a bad idea if the moths hatch out under the row covers!

About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on May 18, 2010, in Around the Garden, Insects Abound! and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Please keep us updated on how the pheromone trap and row covers are working for you. After loosing my squash plants for the past 2 years… looks like I’ll be spraying every 7- 10 days this year!

    • We’ll definitely be paying close attention to how well it works. We even have squash in another area completely uncovered to see if they have problems.

  2. Very clever. Can the fruit get to hot in the bag?

  3. That pheromone trap looks like it’s going to be effective. Pheromones are such powerful things for insects, I’m almost sure that one will work!

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