Monday, June 10, 2013

Integrated Pest Management and Integrated Turkey Management

Yep, that's me...
standing in the middle of our hayfield.
Which, by the way, is way overdue for harvesting.

Mother Nature has a way of making these decisions for us.
With the weather being the deciding factor,
and the schizophrenic weather patterns we have been having...
well, we just have not been able to get this hay mowed, dried, and baled.
Hopefully, later this week [crossing fingers].

Mother nature throws a lot of curve balls at those of us who try to live off the land
(as much as possible).
Weather is something we deal with...we have no influence on it.

Pests, however, are a different subject.
And Mother Nature offers us many pests....
ones that drive our animals crazy,

and ones that would devour our harvest if they could.

Luckily, we are not unarmed when it comes to pests.
However, practicing organic farming limits the weapons in our arsenal.

In my sustainability studies
(and also in my current read Farmacology)
I have come across the philosophy of Integrated Pest Management several times.

The principles of IPM are ones of utilizing techniques to keep pests at bay
rather than eradicating them altogether.
Past history has shown us that when we try to chemically destroy pests,
the strong ones survive and eventually develop resistance to those chemicals.
Those chemicals, sadly, are also toxic to us and to our friends the honeybees!

We have adopted some of the principles of IPM here on the farm.

We plant certain herbs and flowers around our gardens to attract the pests away
from our vegetables and fruits.
For example, sunflowers attract stink bugs.
Tansy, a non-edible herb is also an insect attractant.
Planting marigolds around your tomatoes is another example.

In areas of standing water, such as our rain barrels,
we use these Mosquito Dunks, which employ a bacteria to kill mosquito larvae.
This bacteria is harmless to our environment.

Fly control is always a major concern with farm animals, as flies can make life
almost intolerable for our critters.

We have invested in several of these solar fly catchers.

(available from Arbico Organics....see my side bar)
They are the most effective fly trap we have ever tried...
utilizing a stinky yeasty bait mixture to attract the flies, which then fly upward into the metal trap.

The sun, shining on the trap, desiccates the flies; which can then be composted.
I cannot recommend this fly trap enough (it catches flies by the hundreds)!

We also use this apparatus to attract and catch horseflies.

Seriously, it does not discriminate, and catches all types of flies.

We have found that it is most effective when we hang these traps beneath it.

The combination of the two are better than either one alone.

Utilizing beneficial insects that destroy destructive pests
is another principle of IPM.
Beneficials are insects like ladybugs, who will attack and destroy other insects.

I ordered 100 green lacewing eggs

and sprinkled them all over my garden boxes.
These tiny larvae have voracious appetites and will devour aphids and other pests
before the pests get a chance to devour the garden.


I wanted to give you an update on the bird re-arranging that we did a week ago.
The chickens have all settled in to their new homes quite nicely.

The turkeys, however, are still a little confused at bedtime,

and need a little guidance back to their new roosts.

And when a little guidance is not enough,
well, we just pick them up and carry them home.

Usually carrying one is enough, as the second will tag along.
After all, these two never let each other out of their sights!

And of course, every task has a few extra helpers...dogs, cats, guineas...
whoever happens to be in the area at the time.


  1. So sweet that you carried him home. You are such a pied piper... Love that!

  2. This is the most helpful post EVER. We want to farm, and we always wonder about pest control, particularly of mosquitos, as when I am bitten, I get severe welts. Just wondering - would the chickens eat the flies that are trapped, or not interested? Thanks so much!

  3. Your posts are always entertaining and this one is also very educational. Have a great week, Bev.

  4. Kat,

    The problem with the live flies in the trap, is if we open the trap for the chickens to get at them, the flies will fly away. So, just allowing them to desiccate seems the best idea. Then they can be added to the compost pile. Those solar fly traps are a little pricey, but worth their weight in gold. We refill the smelly bait after every rain, so it is not diluted. And....they last for years. We have had ours for several years and they still look brand new.....except for the thousands of dead flies within!!!

    Best of luck!!

  5. Excellent information. I am amazed at the management of all the aspects you integrate at Bee Haven.

    Living in a much more residential area wouldn't warrant the same kind of things. Managing mosquitos is our biggest PEST so far this year.

    This spring we found that Voles had decimated our ivy and other ground covers as well as our turf which had been buried under heavy snow. I have been researching to see what we can do to affectively reduce it from happening again.

  6. Great bug control advice. Thanks!

  7. I love the last pic, the trail of critters. How cute you have to carry them home! Thanks for the reminder of those fly traps. I need to get one or tell my hens to quite pooping,hee-hee!

    A great start to the week, sunshine!! Enjoy your day! Hugs!!

  8. The best fly is a dead fly..Poor things..Interesting and educational post..I didn't know that you could pick up the turkeys..WoW..As for the hay..another tough year..Seems like we are to have rain on and off all week...Good luck

  9. As much as I love turkeys...I am afraid I could never scoop one up in my arms...they intimidate me. You are brave. I was just in awe of your turkey holding ways!

  10. Interesting post. I do not use any chemicals on our garden either. Nor do we on our grove. Fly catchers look like they certainly do the trick, eh?
    xo Kris

  11. Mother nature throws what she can at us but we eventually figure it all out ! Lovely photos . Thanks for sharing hope your crops do well . Have a good day !

  12. Great information, I love the pied piper look!

  13. that last photo can be the cover for one of your books! it is priceless. lots of rain here and might be on your way. is this early for hay harvesting? i have so many birds that i have very few bugs.

  14. Great solutions and so nice of you to share in case anyone else needs help or advice. I love the photo of you carrying the turkey. That's not something I expected they would let you do. Crazy boys.


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