bugs in my mailbox

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Time posted: April 8, 2005

…and I paid for them to be there!

I never contemplated the idea that there would come a time when I would pay money for mail-order bugs. But I have to tell you, flies suck. Out here with the livestock the manure draws flies. And spraying poison all over the place is expensive, only marginally effective, and possibly hazardous to health.

So the answer is integrated pest management. Of which the bugs (actually fly predators) are a piece.

There are a number of companies offering bio-control measures for pest insects. I’ll hold off naming where I bought my fly predator subscription (that’s right, they show up every month like Better Homes and Gardens) until I develop a sense of how effective they are. But IPM isn’t about buying predatory wasps and hoping for the best. You also have to properly manage your manure. that means compost, and I’m already in that business.

In the winter, there wan’t much urgency associated with manure management–you can pretty well ignore the problem until it suits you to collect. But once it warms up, keeping on top of composting will be important to pest control, amybe even more than the mail-order bugs. The compost pile heats up to a temperature that cooks almost anything objectionable, and that definitely includes maggots. They still get into the outer couple inches of the pile, but that is manageable with the predators (so the story goes–we’ll find out what reality hold in store in the next couple months).

box o' bugs
the fearsome predators securely caged
bug model
the kids could barely resist setting them free immediately

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