Classes & SeminarsFeaturedSustainable Farming

Beneficial Insects with UT Ag Extension Agent David Cook

By Mar 13, 2019 No Comments

When Olin and I first started Stoney Creek Farm 14 years ago with a small orchard, we were told by an Ag Extension Agent that we would need a chemical license to buy the stronger pesticides needed to spray fruit trees. Box store pesticides just weren’t strong enough and didn’t protect the fruit trees.

What we didn’t know then is that this chemical license would invite the USDA to come inspect our farm to make sure we weren’t using toxic chemicals!

Fortunately, we passed this test twice—AND we never actually used those stronger pesticides. And once the license expired, we didn’t renew it.

Instead, we shifted our focus to gardening without pesticides.

Yes, insects can cause quite a lot of plant disease and destruction. But before you label all insects as Enemy #1, it’s important to remember that some insects are actually beneficial to your garden by keeping the destructive insects out.

But don’t go buying ladybugs online just yet… You have to create a garden space that will make these beneficial insects want to unpack their bags and stay awhile! (Read more about some of these beneficial creepy crawlies.)

During our 4th Annual Sustainable Farm Conference on Saturday, March 30, UT Ag Extension Agent David Cook will be sharing with our attendees how to attract and keep beneficial insects in your garden.

So we asked him to share some of his advice with us!

What should people know about gardening without pesticides?

“While it is true that beneficial insects can help to reduce the use of pesticides, a situation may arise with a serious pest outbreak that may require the application of a specific pesticide.

The use of a certain pesticide needs to be carefully thought out, as many beneficial insects are more sensitive to insecticides than the pests you are trying to control.

With relying only on beneficial insects, there will be times when you have to accept the fact that harvest amounts will be affected by major pests outbreaks that occur from time to time.”

What are your favorite resources for attracting beneficial insects?

“Favorite resources include:

  • “Manage Insects On Your Farm” By Miguel A. Altieri, Clara I. Nicholls and Marlene A. Fritz
  • “Farming with Native Beneficial Insects” By The Xerces Society
  • “Habitat Planning for Beneficial Insects” By The Xerces Society

Businesses that sell beneficial insects:

ARBICO Organics
Retail Store & Corporate Office
10831 N. Mavinee Drive, Suite 185
Oro Valley, AZ 85737-9531″

What are you most excited to share with conference attendees?

“Now more than ever, it is critical to consider practices that will benefit both the insects that we as humans regard as beneficial, and the many native bee pollinators by providing habitats free of pesticides and ample potential for nesting resources.

Remember, they will never ask, but they need our help.”

Join us for the 4th Annual Sustainable Farm Conference!

There’s still time to get your ticket to join us for our 4th Annual Sustainable Farm Conference on Saturday, March 30, so don’t wait! You’ll leave with all the knowledge you need to begin living a more sustainable life.

Check out our video to see all that you’ll learn at the conference, and then grab your ticket here!