Gardeners this season can take a new approach to knock off some of the marauding insects in the garden.
In a miniature version of germ warfare, they can spread a plague among the caterpillars.
Although biological control of insects is not new, it has never been compared to various poisons to control insect pests.
To Plague A Caterpillar
Now you’ll be able to dip the disease from a can, mix it with water, and spray it on plants.
Also, to protect them from some of the deadliest leaf flower chewers in the insect world: moth and butterfly grubs and caterpillars.
The white powder is a spore-crystal suspension of the Bacillus thuringiensis, a disease that attacks only those kinds.
When the caterpillar eats the spores, he soon has developed a paralysis of the digestive system, which causes him to stop eating, fall from the leaf, and starve to death.
Biological Insecticides For Home
Years ago (the 1960s), Bio-Guard was put on the market by the Ferry-Morse Seed Company of Mountain View, California.
It was one of the first efforts toward mass-produced biological insecticides for home use.
To prepare it, you merely mix the spore-crystals in water and use it as spray-on foliage you want to protect.
There are products on the market like Spinosad and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).
Some of the most challenging pests of vegetable gardens, like cabbage worms, cutworms, tomato or tobacco worms, and celery caterpillars, come under easy control without the hazard of adulterating the food.
You can control serious pests like armyworms and lawn webworms without the risk of poisoning birds, pets, or children on lawns.
One great advantage of this concept of insect control is its safety to people, pets, and beneficial insects like ladybugs and honeybees, which are not affected by the disease. Only the target grubs and larvae to “control” it.
Other Biological Approaches
Other kinds of biological insect control made commercially available to home gardeners have included Trichogramma insect eggs sold to hatch into predators on the eggs of lepidopterous insects.
For many years the milky-spore disease has been used on lawns in some places to control Japanese beetles.