I was pleasantly surprised by my friend Marcail from Carondelet Garden today at lunchtime. He was enlisting me to be a “general” in the war on squash vine borer. I was intrigued. Recently, while filming the show “Green Time” on KNLC Channel 24, the host asked me what I do about these horrible pests. I didn’t really have a good answer. I have planted them in a new location that hasn’t had a garden in a while is this years trial plan. My side yard always gets them, some years sooner than others. Rodale says to inject Bt into the stems to control the infestation, but it seems Bt may not be a good solution either. Click here for an abstract on researching showing Bt in the blood of pregnant women. Organic gardening is complicated and seems to have some slippery slope options available to it. I’ve held off on Bt since reading that research. Is it bad? I don’t know, I have to think about it for a while.
So I decided the wasps would be worth a try. Will it imbalance the other caterpillars in the neighborhood? I don’t know. I have some unanswered questions about that, but I think rebugging will always be my preferred solution to chemicals. I went to meet Marcail and picked up the wasps.
The wasps come 5000 eggs on a little sheet of paper. They are little grey specks. My husband immediately opened the container to look and I couldn’t get him stopped, so there a four or five microscopic wasps buzzing about my house. They had already started to hatch. The instructions say to place in shade where ants can’t get them. I decided for now I would put them on the sill on the south side of the garden. They will get a little sun in the morning but not much. I may go set some pebbles in the bottom of the container and set it in a cup of water to keep the ants out later.
Marcail ordered these in and passed them out to some urban farmers in our area. This way the whole neighborhood is inoculated. Brilliant. Hope it works I will let you know as the summer goes on if I notice a change. The squash always get infested the first week of June so I should see a difference soon. I have some volunteers coming up in the garden I have chosen to leave in place to see what they do and I will be able to monitor those. I’m tempted to order a package for garden “D” where all the zuchinni are planted. That garden is squash heavy this year.