Phipps Cuts Down On Pesticide Use By Turning To Bugs
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A lot of people these days are worried about the health effects and risks that chemical pesticides have on the environment.
However, there are some insecticides out there that pose no threat to people or the environment, and they’re effective weapons.
When it comes to good bugs versus bad bugs, Scott Creary is the point man at Phipps Conservatory.
On the day KDKA visited, Creary was releasing thousands of ladybugs onto a hardy hibiscus plant to help in pest control. The bugs are shipped in from a commercial supplier in Detroit.
“You shake them kind of like pepper, and they land on the plant,” said Creary. “You can see them crawling all over the plant, and doing their thing.”
And, what is “their thing?” For adult ladybugs – which despite their name are both male and female – Creary says “they’re looking for love, looking for food, looking for water.”
You see, it’s not the adult ladybugs that dine on insect pests; it’s their voracious offspring that have very big appetites.
“The ladybugs like to eat aphids, white flies, spider mites they are not exactly choosey,” Creary says.
Ladybugs aren’t the only reliable sources for pest control at Phipps; Creary’s got other small surprises in his bug box.
It’s a case of making Phipps a healthier place, using the natural environment and mostly unseen visitors.
“Over the course of four years, we’ve reduced our pesticide use by 90 percent,” Creary said. “The amount of money we spend on pesticides has dropped off to nearly nothing.”
So, next time you’re in your garden, think twice before you kill any bugs, especially if they look like a ladybug. After all, you know what they say, they are lucky.
“The bottom line, most bugs are benign, if not beneficial,” said Creary. “By releasing the bugs that eat the other bugs, you are enhancing the way the system is supposed to work.”