Farmers, Nursery Owners Turn to Natural Pest Removal

CORVALLIS, Ore. — More of Oregon’s farmers and plant nursery owners are turning to natural ways of getting rid of pests.

OSU’s North Willamette Research and Extension Center is hosting a series of workshops and tours Monday and Tuesday to help spread the word.

Some nurseries in Corvallis, like Garland Nursery, already practice the methods.  Owners there say pests are an issue for both the commercial grower and the home gardener, and they say there are three main methods of controlling that problem.

The integrated pest management system consists of three methods, biological, mechanical, or chemical.

The biological way is becoming more popular among Oregon growers and is the main focus of the workshops.

Basically, you use predator, or good bugs, like a praying mantis or ladybug, and turn them loose to devour bad bugs like aphids or white flies.

The mechanical, or cultural method, consists of specific ways to prune plants, where to place them and fertilize to create the healthiest plant that bugs won’t want to devour.

The least favorite for many is the chemical method, meaning growers spray with pesticides to kill off or stop the reproduction of pests.

Garland Nursery managers say in many cases you can’t just use one method.

“I would rather use a biological or cultural method first because there are a lot of good bugs in your yard, and by spraying a chemical spray, many times you can harm not only the bad bugs, but the good bugs as well,” said Garland Nursery Co-Owner Lee Powell.

Some places, like Garland Nursery, sell good biological bugs when available.

There’s still some space left if you’d like to join Tuesday’s “Bugs in the System” workshop.  For more information, click here.

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