Many insects can be managed without using pesticides, but this cultural control requires extra time and effort. It may also result in slight damage to your plants. According to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, some of the cultural methods you can use to prevent or control insect damage are:
- Keep weeds and grass pulled out of the garden. Mow the area around the garden.
- Plant varieties that grow well in your area.
- Apply the correct amount of fertilizer and water when needed.
- When you have picked all the fruit, destroy the old plants by removing them or plowing them under.
- You can wash off some insects, such as aphids and spider mites, with a water hose.
- You may hand-pick some insects or egg masses from the plant to prevent damage.
- Chemical control of insects often may be necessary. For best results, treat insects before large numbers build up in the garden. Dusts or sprays provide good control.
Before you buy a pesticide, read the label to see if it is recommended for the pest and plants you want to treat. Before you use a pesticide, read the label to see how much you should use. Read all information on the label and follow all directions.
All insecticides are poisonous, so handle them with care and keep them away from children and pets. For more information on this or any other agricultural topic please contact the Hopkins County Extension Office at 903-885-3443 or email me at email@example.com.