The June garden is actively growing. The fruit trees have set fruit. On close examination, though, it appears that something is eating the leaves of the apple trees. One tree has an aphid invasion. Another tree has 1 ½ inch long caterpillars munching on the leaves and covering the branch tips with a fine web. Forest tent caterpillars (Malacosoma disstria) were found on the leaves munching away. But that’s not all. There was also evidence of winter moth (Operophtera brumata) caterpillars with their webbing. Mr. Joybilee’s way of dealing with tent caterpillars is to get out a blow torch and torch the leaves wherever the webbing is on the branches. Unfortunately, that doesn’t 100% get rid of the caterpillars. It just deals with one nest. Any caterpillars that aren’t torched move on to another tree.
Organic pest control in the garden
I’ve tried some insecticidal sprays that call for pureed garlic, hot peppers, and ground up bugs. The problem with those, besides the gross-factor, is they clog up the sprayer. Even just adding cayenne pepper to the liquid causes the filter of the sprayer to clog. Not cool if your sprayer is pressurized and you’ve only just managed to empty the wand before the spray dries up. Now you’ve got one gallon of hot pepper and bug-gut-laced liquid, under pressure inside the spray bottle and the only way to clear the filter is to release the pressure on the bottle. This means you are going to get hot pepper juice spraying up from the bottle as you lean your face very close to it, in order to undo the top. Well this recipe won’t clog the sprayer. But it’s just as effective as hot peppers and garlic juice at ridding your fruit trees and shrubs of aphids, caterpillars, and other insect pests that are eating your fruit trees.