It has been a question posed on me each time I make an organic farming presentation. How about pests? Is there an effective organic pesticide? How do we go about solving pest problems organically?
Yes, there are organic pesticides available, even locally. The problem is, solving pest problems organically takes patience. It is not like how chemical pesticides can dramatically get rid of pests quickly. Thus, farmers have less confidence with organic solutions.
Farmers seem too impatient nowadays compared to how farmers were some 50 years ago. Everybody wants instant and easy solutions. We should remember that nothing in nature is instant. If we want safe and lasting remedies, we have to go by how nature works.
Quick But With Side Effects
We are witnessing now the terrible side effects of synthetic or chemical pesticides--pests do get eliminated fast, but they come back as quickly as they were rid of, and with a vengeance. Somehow, insects get resistant after a while and the horror is that these resistant insects breed and multiply and spread. The next time around, you need to use more pesticides and in greater dosage.
Solving pest problems organically takes the long way. Some farmers try organic pest control but when they see that pests still roam around and do damage, they abandon the method at once in favor of chemical pesticides. Solving pest problems organically may take long and hard but the effects are long term, even permanent. And the dosage on organic pest use tends to lessen, unlike with chemical pesticide use which increases to effect results.
Here are some organic pest control techniques:
- Temporary toleration of pest damage on crops to some extent.
- Allowing predatory but beneficial insects to get rid of pests.
- The use of microorganism and beneficial insects, sometimes even providing them habitat.
- Opting for disease resistant crops that naturally have pest resistant and survival properties when they're healthy.
- Planting herbs or plants within the farm or around it that are naturally insect repellents.
- Literally covering the plants, like small vegetables, during intense pest migrations.
- Rotating planting locations for various crops in the farm to break the cycle of pest breeding.
- Use insect traps.
- Use organic pesticides.
The principle in effective pest control without harm to the farm environs is not the total elimination of insects and pests but to effectively manage them. Nature is designed to be beneficial to us. Instead of destroying it, we should learn to go by its natural flow.