Since Rachael Carson’s Silent Spring illuminated the negative environmental effects of DEET in 1962, humans have become aware of the health risks and environmental impacts of chemical pesticide use. Managing pests is an integral part of raising plants, and often pest control through the use of pesticides is necessary.
In hydroponic gardening, pesticides are not needed as frequently as they are in soil-growing systems. In general, pests attack weak/unhealthy plants, and hydroponically grown plants are at a lower risk of contracting soil-borne pests. Hydroponically-grown plants tend to be generally healthier than soil-grown plants because they are in a controlled environment and their exact nutritional needs are met. Low pesticide use is a major benefit of hydroponically-grown produce, but aphids, spider mites, and white flies will still find a way to feast on that lovely foliage.
To deter pests in a hydroponics system; companion planting can be implemented or a population of beneficial predatory insects (such as lady bugs or mantids) can be introduced, however, if the pest population continues to thrive, the use of an insecticide will become necessary. Most commercial pesticides are petrochemical based. Plants, however, have been producing chemicals to deter herbivores since the evolution of insects! As gardeners we can apply these chemicals
Over the next week I will research and attempt to concoct different bio pesticides for potential use here at the warehouse.