Tree Swallows, Bats, and Barn Owls

I can be a little batty at times, but now that label will be justified! There are a few ways to combat pests on a farm, but keeping pests under control in an organic system can be challenging. I know that there are “sprays” that kill pests, even organically approved sprays, but I just don’t like to use that technology. I do have a sprayer, but I use it primarily for spraying nutrients, things like Kelp or Potassium, to help keep the plants at their optimum health.

However, we do have a few persistent pests, particularly in the orchard and especially, the dreaded Apple Maggot Fly that can render a whole crop unmarketable! The solutions to keeping that critter in check are mostly sprays. (Yuck!) I am not willing to go down that path. So, I have been spending a fair amount of time thinking about how to naturally (using nature) control those critters.

Strategy #1: I have decided upon a few nesting boxes for Tree or Violet Green Swallows, a bat house and a nesting box for Barn Owls. Swallows are insect eating machines and will be for daytime bug control. The Bats will be for nighttime bug control and the Barn Owls will help with the rodents that also call our organic farm home.

Strategy #2: I am going to use black plastic on the orchard floor to prevent the Apple Fly larva from emerging from their winter rest and becoming adult flies.

Strategy #3: I will use some sticky traps as well. Yes, all of this is a lot more work than using a spray, but, like I said earlier, “I don’t like to spray.” Check back in September to see if I was successful. 🙂

Increasing biological diversity is the best strategy. Using nature to keep nature in balance. Whoa! That’s revolutionary!

Tristan Klesick, Farmer, Health Advocate