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Get Frogs & Toads to Eat Your Bad Bugs!

Question. Mike: We have problems with cucumber beetles and squash bugs. We've used organic sprays and hand picking without much effect, and want to avoid chemical insecticides. What can we do about these obnoxious critters?

    ---Kim in Norman, OK

Do you have a solution to a growing problem with mole crickets on our ball fields? The only answers I can find online involve heavy pesticides, and we try and put nothing on our grounds that would affect the water quality (we like to be able to eat our local seafood) or be harmful to anyone who may "eat grass" in the course of a ball game.

    ---Cecile; Carteret County Parks and Recreation; Morehead City, NC

I have had trouble with sod webworms in my lawn for a number of years….

    ---Bob in Pueblo, CO

What is the best way to control potato beetles? Hand picking is not feasible.

    ---Jim in Titusville, New Jersey

Last year I thought I had ladybugs in my garden only to discover they were Mexican bean beetles! They were so destructive; what can I do about them this year?

    ---Gwen in Hot Springs, NC

Slugs eat holes in most of my flowers, but I'm concerned about how to stop them because we have a dog. Can you recommend something? Thank you,

    ---Marsha in Massillon, Ohio

Gypsy Moth caterpillars have denuded our local oaks, pines, mountain laurel and even wild blueberry plants. What can I do to protect my landscape?

    ---Jim in Chatsworth, NJ

I have little red ants in my organic garden that like to bite. How can I get rid of them?

    ---Cindy in Central California (Bakersfield area)

Is there a way to control ants with natural organisms like beneficial nematodes? I have two dogs and don't want to use anything that will endanger them. Thanks,

    ---Bob in Earlville, Maryland (near the Chesapeake Bay)

Answer. Beneficial nematodes control pests like beetle grubs and flea larvae, unfortunately not ants. But all you have to do to stop them is drop the 'nema' and get with toads! Voracious predators of garden pests, toads (and frogs) are especially fond of ants.

Back when I was editor of ORGANIC GARDENING magazine, our researchers discovered that a single toad will eat tens of thousands of pests in a single season, typically consuming two to three times it's weight in the above named creatures—plus flies, earwigs, grasshoppers, pillbugs and cutworms—every day. (Actually every evening, as that's when toads are out a 'hunting.) And toads and frogs are virtually the only beneficial creatures that eat cucumber beetles, a garden pest that makes itself taste bitter when it feeds on your cuke vines!


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