Bugs: friends or foes?

Integrated Pest Management particpants looking at beneficial bugs.
Integrated Pest Management particpants looking at beneficial bugs.

Having trouble getting rid of those last few bugs in the garden or out in the paddocks?

Natural Resources Kangaroo Island will be hosting a workshop to help islanders strike the balance between an environmentally-friendly garden and a pest-free one.

Understanding agricultural pests, beneficial insects and spiders, reducing reliance on pesticides for better pest control and developing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy for the farm are some of the techniques that will be learned from the ‘Getting the balance right’ interactive workshop.

Natural Resources Kangaroo Island sustainable production program manager Grant Flanagan said that the workshop would help farmers better understand the three methods of pest control (biological, cultural, chemical) and how best to integrate their use to prevent problems from occurring and to reduce control costs.

“IPM is perhaps best known and most widely applied in the horticulture industry and has recently been successfully applied in broad acre cropping and grazing situations. Farmers will learn how to monitor IPM, understand insecticide resistance and the effects that pesticides have on beneficial bugs, and when to decide if chemical use is needed and which are the most suitable.”

“Integrated Pest Management is perhaps best known and most widely applied in the horticulture industry and has recently been successfully applied in broad acre cropping and grazing situations,” he said.

“By attending the workshop, farmers will learn how to monitor Integrated Pest Management, understand insecticide resistance and the effects that pesticides have on beneficial bugs, and when to decide if chemical use is needed and which are the most suitable.”

Kangaroo Island farmer Peter Cooper said he was now using an Integrated Pest Management program in his seed potato crop.

“It’s not necessarily about spraying less, it’s about spraying the right product at the right time and protecting the beneficial insects that work for you, as well as using the insecticides,” he said.

Mr Flanagan said he that was looking forward to presenting the workshop and sharing his knowledge of Integrated Pest Management with the farmers and gardeners of Kangaroo Island, but expected spaces to the workshop to fill quickly.

“The workshop will be held on 16 June in Kingscote. RSVP to me on 8553 4444 or email us at grant.flanagan@sa.gov.au. Workshop spaces are limited,” he said.