Saturday, July 9, 2011

I HATE Bugs!

I can’t stand flea beetles, Japanese beetles, grasshoppers, squash bugs,cucumber beetles, and all the rest of the little creepy, crawlies that I find eating in our gardens.

I truly hate them. It is not annoyance I feel, nor discontent, nor even frustration. No, it’s cold, calculated, murderous hatred. Yes, I would like to see all bugs stone-cold dead! Worst thing is…I really don’t think that makes me a bad person.

The hungry bugs can completely destroy a crop with a meal or two.
The plants become weakened and cannot produce up to their potential. In some cases, the plants actually die before they ever become mature enough to produce a crop. The fruit of these plants is often small and deformed, totally unfit for sale.

Not only do the bugs eat things, but they leave behind a great deal of “droppings”, too.

This causes extra work in getting the crop ready for the Market, as we must clean it carefully. Sometimes, we don’t even attempt to sell the crop, as the damage is so great. The "gross factor" also must be considered. No one wants to eat bug poop!

My desire for methodical annihilation must be tempered by reason and greatly restrained. If we were to kill all the bugs…well, we would kill ALL the bugs. If, for example,
we were solely focused on eliminating the little striped cucumber beetle in this picture, we could very well kill the pollinator bee as well.

Without pollinators, our work would cease to exist. Growing some crops would be virtually impossible if we didn’t have the “good” bugs. The honeybee population has dwindled greatly in the past few years. There are some folks who would link this decline to the massive use of pesticides in the US.

Any pesticide, organic or not, is toxic. The very word pesticide means “any compound killing insects.” The labels all warn of unintentional killing or sickening of pollinators and fish. This knowledge truly tempers my murderous urges.

Serious consideration needs to be given to the other elements of our environment whenever we attempt to solve a problem. All too often, our “solution” creates a number of other problems.

So, I won’t be killing all the bugs. But, we will make judicious use of natural pesticides in order to be able to continue to raise food for ourselves and others.

…and I will feel some twisted sense of justice when I squish a few bugs as I work.

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