Category Archives: Insect Control

Remove insect eggs with a lint roller

Remove insect eggs in your garden with a lint roller

For the gardener who wants to limit damage to crops and vegetables you should consider how to remove insect eggs. Preventing the eggs from ever hatching because they’ve been removed from the garden entirely is far more effective than spraying.

This past spring I had someone share with me a tip that makes the task of removing insect eggs in your garden much easier.  He uses an inexpensive lint roller to remove insect eggs. You can buy a travel sized lint roller like the one in the picture below at Walmart for 99 cents.

lint roller used to remove insect eggs in the garden
lint roller used to remove insect eggs in the garden

An alternative to lint rollers

If you don’t want to go buy a lint roller to remove those pesky eggs you might have a roll of sticky tape like duct tape around the home.  Pull of 8 to 10 inches of it and stick itself together in a loop with the adhesive side out.  With one hand hold the tape and apply your other hand on the opposite of the leaf to give you something to press against.  Touch the tape to the eggs and apply light pressure until all the eggs are removed.

These squash bug eggs were removed with a piece of duct tape
remove squash bug eggs with duct tape

When eggs are laid next to large leaf veins

With crops like zucchini where there is a large vein on the backside of the leaf the duct tape actually works better than the lint roller.  When the eggs are laid next to those large veins the round lint roller will roll onto the vein and pass right over several eggs.  In these instances the duct tape works better.  When pruning and removing insect eggs from our squash plants I now use only the duct tape.

use duct tape for squash bug eggs laid next to a large leaf vein
squash bug eggs laid next to a large leaf vein

Watch insect eggs get removed with a lint roller

After trying it I had to get a little video to show just how well it works.  Typically we use the lint roller on cabbage, broccoli, kale and cauliflower.

tree frog in the garden 

Tree frog blending in on Swiss chard

This cool little tree frog is hunting for insects in the Swiss chard out in the garden.  Each evening I can hear their cool little songs.  No idea how many insects one of these can eat during the course of a week, but I’m glad to have him around.

Tree frog hunting insects in a Mittleider garden
Tree frog hunting insects in a Mittleider garden

Why we grow Swiss chard

Honestly, I am not a big fan of chard.  We grow a small amount of it just to add to our smoothies.  While I may not be a fan of how it tastes, with out question it is packed with nutrition.  It is grown in a section of the garden we refer to as the smoothie section.

Identify your tree frogs

If you too are in North America then you may find this book on identifying frogs and toads  It will help you to identify them by sight as well as recognize them by their song.

control hornworms with Bacillus Thuricide

Controlling hornworms on tomato plants

Any gardener who has grown tomatoes know how destructive the horn worm can be in your tomatoes.  If not caught in time these little green eating monsters can destroy your tomato crop. Fortunately if you find them early they are easy to control.

We weren’t in the garden for about 4 days and I missed the signs of horn worms until they had done some serious damage.  We went through our plants and plucked off any horn worm caterpillars we spotted.

When you spot hornworms

As soon as you see them, or their droppings, examine your plants and remove any of the caterpillars you can find.  Dispose of them accordingly.  They blend in amazingly well and several are going to be missed.  Any missed will be controlled with the BT

hornworm caterpillars
hornworm caterpillars

Bacillus Thuricide to control hornworms

The name may sound intimidating, but BT is actually a bacteria and is absolutely organic.  Gardening stores will often carry it or you can get it from Amazon.

Bacillus Thuricide kills hornworms
Use BT, Bacillus Thuricide to control hornworms and other caterpillars

We like to mix up a gallon of it at a time in an inexpensive little sprayer like in this picture below.  It cost us about $12 and is on its third season.

As a slight aside, I would recommend writing the contents of the sprayer on its side with a good permanent marker.  We also have a dedicated set of cheap kitchen measuring devices dedicated to just our garden.

Apply bacillus thuricide with this sprayer to control hornworms
Chapin 20000 Poly sprayer we use to spray for hornworms

After the BT is mixed according to the instructions bottle simply apply a heavy mist to all the leaves on your tomatoes.  The caterpillar will eat the leaf, ingest the BT, and will die within 24 hours.  Generally I find them hanging dead the next morning.

In this picture below you see one of the large hornworms I missed when picking them by hand.  Often times you will also see them hanging after they have turned a dark brown color.  You can leave them or toss them into the yard.

hornworm killed with BT
hornworm killed with BT

You can be proactive

Instead of waiting until you see these destructive caterpillars to apply BT you can head them off at the pass.  Weekly I try and apply BT to all our plants.  While utilizing this defensive measure in our tomatoes the hornworms just don’t survive long enough after hatching to do much damage.

Video on using BT

Towards the end of this video you can see what their frass looks like.  You will find it at the base of the plants and is an indication that you’ve got tomatoes being destroyed by this insect.