> From: Mac Horton <email@example.com>
> I too, echo some of the statements of the above captioned individuals. As an
> extension entomologist who is daily challenged to help real people with real
> insect pest problems, I would be particularly interested in hearing real
> success stories from real farmers, or others, about real pest control methods,
> particularly for insect pests, that really work.
I doubt that sustainable agriculture will ever mean 100% organic. I think
some combination of chemical and non-chemical control of pests is the most
I assumed that natural control methods were very well known, but perhaps
there are regional success stories that some haven't heard.
In the Pacific Northwest we have had excellent success using the cinnabar
moth to control tansy.
Mediterranean mantises work well for a variety of insect pests. They will
reproduce at least once during a 3-month summer and are voracious. In a
mild winter they will winter over. They are really death on grasshoppers
Ladybugs for aphids. You just need a *lot* of ladybugs!
Pasture rotation and mowing to control parasites and weeds. Sometimes you
can wipe out a vector. I ran pigs into a pasture and they ate snails for
a couple of weeks. Snails are a vector for liver flukes. This is
anecdotal, but it seemed to work well. I have also used the diatomaceous
earth, but feel that the best parasite control is sanitation and healthy
vaccinated stock. Crowded and unclean conditions cause an explosion of
parasites. I never tried to exterminate parasites, just keep them under
As far as chemical use goes, I think it is important to know when *not* to
use chemicals. Far too often they are treated as a panacea, but end up
disturbing the natural balance. For instance, sevin is particularly hard
on honey bees, and will kill hives for miles around a large application.
In some areas fruit production has suffered because the wild bee
population has been completely wiped out and commercial keepers are
unwilling to risk their hives.