One of my daily "alerts" for google search is set to look for "organic" farming. Today, I ran across an interesting site that led me to search a bit for organic pest control solutions. To start with, I read this story about a guy with an aquaponics system near a house that was sprayed for cockroach prevention... (that's what started me off on this quest..LOL)
“I got a phone call early in the week that house was due for annual spider and cockroach spray.” said Rod, “I Thought nothing about it until the same chap arrived on Thursday. Rod even showed the Pest Control guy his aquaponics setup.
“It was windy so I asked him – what about my fish?” said Rod. Will they be safe?
“Not a problem.” said the pest control guy, “The fish are far enough away from the main house.”
Rod was satisfied that this guy was an expert and knew what he was talking about. So he let the pest control guy do his thing – spray around the house and do the regular “treatment.”
Saturday morning came. Rod uncovered his main fish tank and looked inside to inspect the fish. He noticed something odd floating at the bottom of his tank.
“What are the white lines on the bottom of the tank?” He thought to himself. Looking further into the tank he saw the pile of dead fish resting on the bottom.
“Yep! The whole lot of my Silver Perch and Yellow Belly fish. Forty odd fish in total. All dead!” he said. [source link ]
So sad. As everyone around the world is becoming more aware of the pesticides in the foods we are eating from the grocery store-- we need to make sure that we do not make that same mistake with home grown aquaponic vegetables.
The first thing everyone needs to keep in mind is that you are not just worried about bugs eating your veggies. Whatever you do, you must also worry about protecting your fish and the good bacteria that is driving your system.
slide source. credit: Molly Stanek.
This site (click this link.) lists home remedies for white/black spot, scales, aphids, etc.. and had some interesting concoctions. One that looked especially easy was this:
...save your onion skins, peels and ends then refrigerate in an empty margarine-sized tub or ziplock bag until the container is full. Once you have enough, place the onion pieces in a pail and fill with warm water. Soak for a few days, up to a week. You can keep this on the patio in the sun to steep but this is optional. After one week, strain the onion bits out and store the onion water in spray bottles.
Bury the onion bits around plants that are prone to aphids, spiders and other pests. Just spray both house and garden plants with the water to fight aphids and pests. You can also mix your garlic trimmings in with the onion pieces, bugs hate garlic too!
WARNING: Some of their suggestions, like using soap... were not for food plants or fish systems, so do not use anything that might harm your fish or your good bacteria.
Another site, Eden Aquaponics, had a great idea for using STICKY TRAPS to find out what bugs are eating your veggies when you're not around.
..Sticky Traps- Yellow sticky traps are a very good way to determine the type of insects/bugs in your system…as well as trapping them. The insects are quickly drawn to the yellow color, and cannot escape the sticky “glue” they contain. You can easily make your own traps, or you can purchase them on-line or at your local nursery. To make your own traps: Cut strips of yellow construction paper (about 3″x6″), punch a hole at one end to attach hanging string, then use a plastic knife to smear one side with the “glue” (Tree Tanglefoot Insect Barrier). Hang these at various locations throughout your enclosure.
I loved the last idea in this paragraph below--- just dunk your veggies in the fish tank! Check this out.
...Never, ever use insecticidal sprays/soaps in an aquaponics system…they will harm your fish, and compromise your organic system. Instead, try “washing” them, first with a stream of plain water from a pump sprayer. This should wash away aphids and deter spider mites (which don’t like the moisture). If the insects are persistant, wash them with a natural, homemade spray: 1 quart water, 1 drop dishwashing liquid soap, 1 tsp Neem Oil (or other “dormant” oil). Holding a towel under the plant (to prevent the spray from getting into your system), spray the tops and undersides of your plant leaves and stems. This may be done twice a week in the early morning or evening.
If all else fails, gently remove your plants, and immerse them in your fish tank for a few minutes…the insects will drown, and the fish will love eating them as another source of protein. After removing the plants from the fish tank, gently replace into your system.
What other safe ideas have you guys used successfully to control nasty bugs??