Most people know that organic produce is good and that pesticides are bad. Not only do pesticides have negative effects on human health, having been linked to neurological problems, various cancers, Parkinson’s disease, kidney damage, and reproductive disorders, to name a few, but pesticides have negative effects on the environment as well.
The toxic pesticides used to keep insects off our produce end up poisoning the ground, air, water and food supplies.
The problem is worsened by the fact that many insects develop resistance towards chemical pesticides after a while, which causes a constant need for chemicals to be sprayed more often and for stronger chemicals to be used.
So how do organic farmers manage to keep the bugs off their tomatoes without spraying pesticides everywhere? Organic farmers use biological and cultural methods, such as crop rotation, selection of resistant varieties of vegetables, and natural substances (my CSA farm sometimes uses tea tree oil) to keep bugs away.
Bio-Bee Biological Systems in Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu offers another creative solution. In order to eliminate or reduce the number pests getting at crops, they produce and distribute beneficial insects and mites for agricultural purposes.
In other words, they fight bugs with bugs.
Among the many products that they offer for biological pest control are a predatory mite to control the numbers of spider mites, a parasitic wasp to control leafminer flies, and a sterile male medfly that is used to control pest populations.
Use of what Bio-Bee calls Integrated Pest Management can reduce the use of chemical pesticides up to 80% less.