Habitat changes – moving old tires and other catch basins cuts down on the number of mosquitoes breeding in your area. Such simple changes of the physical habitat can control many pests.
Natural predators – introduce and encourage the types of animals that naturally gobble up pests. Those toads, garter snakes, and ladybugs are natural predators on insect pests.
Mechanical preventionremove eggs, larvae, cocoons, and adult insects by hand. Timing – avoid planting and harvesting when insects are most abundant and damaging.
Resistant plants – buy plants that are resistant and free of pests and diseases. Mixed plantings – areas with a variety of plant types are less susceptible to insect damage.
Growing conditions – plants are more resistant to pests and diseases if grown under their favored conditions of light, moisture, etc. Insect hormones – use insect hormones that prevent the insect from growing into a sexually mature adult.
Natural pathogens and parasites – introduce bacteria, viruses, and parasites that kill pests but won’t harm other types of animals. Chemicals – use synthetic pesticides with a short life, only as needed, and applied at the correct part of the insect’s life cycle.
Managing pond or lake vegetation and that growing along rivers and streams requires special treatment. For information, contact your county WSU Cooperative Extension.

What else can I do?

• Learn about alternatives for municipal composting and pest control. The City of Seattle operates an effective composting program with curbside pick-up of yard wastes. Since 1982, the City of Berkeley has successfully managed its extensive parks and gardens without toxic chemicals.

• Request organically grown food, this will help encourage the many farmers who want to use less toxic pest control techniques.

• Ask local government these questions – “Can you reduce or eliminate roadside spraying?” “What are you putting on my yard?” …and, “What about the golf course?”

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