We’ve been grateful all week for pollinators of all shapes and sizes and how crucial they are for feeding us and for making a beautiful world of flowers and trees. We know you understand our first priority to help pollinators by which is to create a habitat with the plants they like.
The next most important thing you can do for pollinators is to not kill them accidentally when you are trying to control other pests in the yard.
That’s where soapy water comes in. A simple squirt of castile soap – Dr. Bronner’s is most people’s favorite – in a spray bottle will take care of most small garden pests. (It doesn’t help much with the bunnies and raccoons.) Add in a tablespoon of baking soda and you can take care of most fungus too. Soapy water works on what it’s sprayed on but doesn’t hurt most pollinators who come later to the plant. So many commercial products get into a plant “system” and kill good bugs who visit the plant later. Or they get into the soil and kill soil microbes.
The simple recipe for insect control is:
1 teaspoon Dr. Bronner’s soap, any variety. 2 cups water. Spray bottle.
Turns out using soapy water to save pollinators is a lot cheaper too. One key to using soapy water or any pest control is you have to repeat the process in another week or so to get the next life cycle of the insect.
Another use for soapy water in the garden is to have a bucket of soapy water for putting the big pests like squash bugs and cutworms that you collect by hand.
So thanks for loving our pollinators and creating beautiful, safe habitats for them!
Links: Entomologist Whitney Cranshaw on soap:http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05547.html
Why you don’t add vinegar to soapy spray: http://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=292
Natural Recipes for killing pests and fungus: http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/organic/2002081329023823.html