This week we released ladybugs into the greenhouse to help control aphids. This is a safe and effective alternative to chemicals. Ladybug larvae will consume 400 medium sized aphids during it's development to the pupal stage. An adult ladybug can eat as much as 5,000 aphids during it's lifetime! 5,000 aphids in a year, that's impressive!
It is easy to order ladybugs off the internet and I have provide a link to California-native ladybugs below. It is important that you are purchasing native ladybugs and NOT the Asian variety.
Asian ladybugs were purposely introduced to American in the later half of the 1900's by the Department of Agriculture to help control crop pests such as aphids and scale. Although they did do that is was learned that they are not as friendly as the native version. Asian ladybugs bite for one. They also will overwinter in your house if they can find a way in. Once they are in they may stain your walls and furniture with the sticky yellow fluid they secrete.
This certainly detracts from all those "ooh, aren't they cute" feelings we have when we see a ladybug. Can you imagine being worried about letting a child hold a ladybug because it might bite them? That just isn't right. Please buy only native ladybugs.
If you come across a ladybug an want to be sure it is of the native sort then check for a white spot at the back of it's head. If you find that white spot you may want to pass on picking it up but I will leave that up to you.
Once you receive your ladybugs put them in the fridge until you are ready to use them. It is best to release them in the evening. Before you let them out make sure there is a quick food source for them. You can buy lady bug food along with your ladybugs. This just gives them a boost after their long trip to your house. We use a powder form that you sprinkle on your plants then gently water. After this your ladybugs are all set to chow down on all those unwelcome guests in your garden. Remember that you don't have to release all your ladybugs at once. Save some in the fridge for 2-3 months. The longer they are stored the more likely some will be lost but it is good to have multiple releases to ensure that your pest problem is taken care of.
Like I stated in the video, ladybugs eat nectar when there are no pest around for them to munch on. Having flowering plants and herbs increases your chance of them sticking around for any future pests problems.
If you have an infestation ladybugs are not going to be enough. In this case I would recommend Safer Soap. It is a soap based insecticide that uses potassium fatty acids to kill arthropods and soft bodied insects. It works by breaking down the outer shell of the insect. NO synthetic chemicals involved. It is OMRI listed and compliant for organic horticultural practice. Simply spray it on and by the next day the little aphids are brown and all dried up. Reapply in several days, or anytime you see any new aphids to make sure you get any new hatchlings .
Have you ever used ladybugs before? How about Safer Soap insecticides?
Happy, healthy, clean eating!
We often hear that glyphosate is bad for us, harmful to our health, but what exactly are the health problems that it causes? The majority of crops that are genetically modified are modified in such a way so that they can be sprayed with glyphosate and not be harmed. If glyphosate were to be sprayed on any other plant is would shrivel up and die. It is both an insecticide and herbicide. Not only is it sprayed on GMO crops but it is also sprayed on conventionally grown non-GMO grains and legumes a few weeks before harvest to desiccate or dry out the grain/legume (it kills them) to speed up the harvesting process. It is the most highly used herbicide/insecticide with almost 300 million pounds being sprayed on crops every year. Glyphosate is linked to many health problems but I'm going to focus on eight. Think of them as eight reasons to choose organic in all areas of your life. Not just what you eat but what personal care products you use, the cleaning products you choose and the clothes you wear (96% of the cotton grown in the US in 2016 was genetically modified). Keep in mind that glyphosate was found in 60 to 100% of water and air samples taken over a two year course.[2} It is coming at us in every direction. The most effective way to put an end to this is by making responsible choices with the products we buy and educating the people around us so that they can do the same.
This blog post will be conducted in a four part series. Each post highlighting two health issues starting with cancer and heart disease. Future post in the series will include Celiac disease and gluten intolerance, colitis, Parkinson disease, Autism, birth defects, and reproductive/pregnancy problems. There are many more health issues and diseases the glyphosate has been linked to. Too many to address here but we get the picture, stay away from glyphosate!
In 2015 the research arm of the World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the worlds leading authority on cancer, declared that glyphosate was a probable carcinogen to humans. The fact that they say "probable" blows my mind because study after study show that glyphosate causes tumors and irregular cell growth in lab animals. Take a look at these pictures of the lab rats taken during a study conducted by the Seralini Team. In it they found that after 24 months all the groups being fed GMO corn or glyphosate in the water (at levels under that which is permitted in the drinking water), 50-80% had tumors some had as many as three. And did you look at the pictures? They are large.
The recent release of emails between the EPA and Monsanto have been quite revealing. As reported in the NY Times, one email reveals that a top EPA official, Dan Jenkins, offered to kill a government investigation on glyphosate and it's carcinogenic properties stating "If I can kill this I should get a medal."
Other emails indicated that Monsanto practices "ghost writing." They need a report to go up against some negative finding about glyphosate or one of their other products so they write the report and only "involve experts for less contentious parts of the report". Hmm, how convenient for them,
Then there was the letter from a former EPA Scientist (pathologist), Marion Copley, to Jess Rowland of the EPA. In the letter she pleads with him.
"For once do the right thing and don’t make decisions based on how it affects your bonus...... Peviously, CARC concluded that glyphosate was a “possible human carcinogen”. The kidney pathology in the animal studies would lead to tumors with other mechanisms listed above. Any one of these mechanisms alone listed can cause tumors, but glyphosate causes all of them simultaneously." 
And accusing other scientist in the EPA of taking bribes.
"Is Greg playing your political games as well, incompetent or does he have some conflict of interest of some kind? Your Nebraska colleague took industry funding, he clearly has a conflict of interest. Just promise me not to ever let Anna in the CARC committee, her decisions don’t make rational sense. If anyone in OPP is taking bribes, it is her."
You can find the full letter here.
Currently there is a lawsuit against Monsanto involving more than 500 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients claiming that glyphosate caused their cancer. It is estimated that there will be 2,000 to 3,000 cases by the end of the year.
California has added glyphosate to their list of known carcinogens.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America (cancer is number 2). Is it what Americans are eating? Their lifestyle? Glyphosate? Yes, yes and yes. Glyphosate is on the quite full list of things that contributes to, or causes heart disease. In their review "Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome", Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff go into great detail how glyphosate can be linked to all diet based diseases. That makes since. Glyphosate residue is found in all the common food of the western diet: sugar, corn, soy and wheat. Glyphosate is sytemic. It is taken up by the plant and is thus in every cell off the plant. It can not be washed off, it is in the plant and it's fruit/seed/grain.
In their review they found that glyphosate inhibits certain enzymes called cytochrome P450 (CYP). The main role of CYP is to detoxify xenobiotics. Xenobiotic are classified as any foreign chemical compound in a biological system. For us humans that would be things like drugs, and environmental pollutants such as synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and industrial pollutants that are not found in nature. The Samsel and Seneff review found that the consequences to this "are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s" 
Furthermore the disruption of the enzymes causes lysosomal dysfunction, which is a major factor in cardiovascular disease and heart failure. 
It is estimated that over 75% of the food on grocery store shelves contain GMOs.  Glyphosate is in the food we eat, the air we breath and the water we drink. Our bodies are in overdrive trying to get rid of it and one of our main mechanisms God gave us for cleaning our body of pollutants is actually crippled by the very pollutant it is trying to rid itself of.
1. Center For Food Safety
2. National Center for Biotechnology Imformation,
Occurrence and Fate of the Herbicide Glyphosate and its Degradate Aminomethylphosphonic Acid in the Atmosphere
3. Natural News with Copely letter
4. Entropy Review- Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450
Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut
5. The Free Dictionary
6. Center for Food Safety
7. Eco Watch
Hello, I'm Jaci. I love gardening and being outside in God's amazing creation. I'm passionate about whole foods and clean eating. I look forward to sharing my farming adventures and helping you reach your gardening goals!