uleomh · 2021-09-24

Going green: Nursery turns to bugs

A Wyevale nursery is being infested with bugs in an attempt to go green. Robert and Laura Moon, owners of Wye Nursery, are reducing their greenhouse practice of pesticide spraying, choosing instead to use a biological approach that introduces one insect into the greenhouse that will prey on other insects known for eating or destroying plants. “We’ve been buying bugs that are predators to other bugs – for instance (one type we bring in) are microscopic bugs that live in bran and will stay in there for up to five weeks,” said Robert Moon, adding the alternative to this “green” way of ridding plants of known pests would be using sprays, chemicals and pesticides, which aren’t good for people’s health or the health of the plant. “It’s bad for us and it’s bad for the customer. The pesticides are left on the leaf, and (most) people don’t know that.” Added Laura Moon, “With all the recalls of fruits and vegetables, you don’t know if a tomato is from Mexico, what they’re spraying on them, where they’re growing them or how they’re growing them.” The nursery started using the new method last year with its fall mums, noted Robert Moon, adding the bugs – which come as both mature bugs and eggs – live in sacks providing them with enough food for a several number of weeks.  “The more you use a spray, the more a plant becomes immune to it. They weren’t being effective,” he said. “It’s just like cough medicine,” added Laura. “The more you take, the more you (don’t respond).”  With 90 per cent of the plants sold at the nursery being grown there from seed, using this new “greener” process can also be a bit time consuming, they noted.  “We’re still at the early stages, and you definitely have to keep on top of it,” said Laura Moon. “You’ve got to get it managed. If you just sense that there are some, and you find a few, you’ve got to get right on top of it because, if you just let it go and they’re everywhere, then these aren’t going to work. You have to bring these in early and stay on top of it,” added Robert Moon. The couple said even though the bugs cost approximately 50 per cent more than what they were previously paying for chemical sprays, the benefits are priceless. “It’s just a better way of doing things,” she said. “Never mind what the sprays and chemicals are doing to us – obviously, they’re not good for us to breathe them in, for our kids (or) the environment – but it’s the greener way to go. For us, doing what we’re doing, and moving to the next level, it just seems like the logical thing to do… like it’s the right next step.”