Sunday, 28 June 2009

why I try to avoid pyrethrum

I've been having a helluva time recently with aphids.  They've been absolutely dogging my new daylilies, they savaged my hellebores and this weekend I noticed they've gotten to my brand new broccolini sprouts.  I usually try not to use strong chemicals in my yard, so for aphids I try to use white oil which isn't toxic to birds or other bugs.  But the daylillies were being hit so hard I resorted to repeated doses of pyrethrum, a bug killer that will kill any bugs that get hit with it, good or bad.

http://www.alexareynolds.com/garden09/mantis1.JPGBut for my hellebores last weekend, since it was the first time they'd been hit with aphids, I decided to start with white oil.  And good thing I did because no sooner did I soak the first hellebore, when this handsome fellow came dashing out of the plant as if to say "excuuuuuuuuuse me!"  If i'd been spraying pyrethrum, this lovely chap would probably have gotten a toxic dose before I realised what had happened.  Instead, at the most he got a light sprinkle of white oil which isn't toxic unless they get completely covered (it kills aphids by suffocating them, which is why if you use it you have to completely cover them or it won't work).

http://www.alexareynolds.com/garden09/mantis2.JPGThis is the largest mantis I've seen in my garden so far.  So when I was done soaking his home I carefully picked him up and put him back, where hopefully he nibbled on some of the leftover aphids.  Unfortunately I went back this weekend and the aphids were almost as bad.  But since the hellebores didn't look too worse for wear, I stuck to the white oil again ... just in case this little chap was still hanging about.


2 comments:

Mari said...

What a chappie little chap! He's a nice little fella. Glad he's still around. Are there lots of mantises around there? Can you get ladybugs for the aphids? Are you starting a bee colony soon to pollinate your own gardens? Just wondering.

Alexa said...

I've only found a mantis once before in my garden. I do see the occasional ladybug but there obviously aren't enough around at the moment. And no, no plans for a beehive. :P But I did realise last year that I needed to plant more flowers if I wanted bees in the summer.