Experimenting with Trap Crops

castorpFebruary 18, 2013

I'm going to experiment with trap crops this spring/summer in the vegetable garden. Have any of you tried it? How did it work for you?

The basic idea is to plant things highly attractive to bad bugs to draw them away from the veggies.. For example, stink bugs love sunflowers and sorghum, and will choose them over tomatoes.

I became interested in this because I noticed that bugs/worms left my kale and collards in relative peace when I also planted turnip greens and mustard, which they seem to prefer.

I'm also considering planting some dill with the tomatoes to draw away the hornworms. I may even plant a yellow summer squash, which is highly attractive to pickle worms, between a trombocini and cukes--but this is more iffy.

What do you think?

Trap crops for stink bugs are showing some promise in UF experiments. See link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: trap crop experiments

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RetiredFlorida(9)

Interesting article.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 10:23AM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Bill, that will be very interesting....I am just the opposite, I don't want to put any plant in my garden that attracts bugs. My neighbors do that already and the community garden has a lot of bug problems from each other plantings.
Last season I was almost bug free that I can remember, not even stinkbugs were a problem.
I do plant flowers because I like them and for the pollinators..

Silvia

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 2:44PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Theoretically interesting Bill, I'd think our grandfathers and other old-timers we would have come in contact with would have known about this if it worked well...keep us posted.

Tom

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 6:59PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

I just remember something today, when I went to Monticello and took the garden tour of flowers and vegetables, I never saw so many bugs, they had everything in the book! they said they plant companion plantings for bugs like some herbs and flowers, but it was not working, especially with the stink bugs.

I like the veggie garden layout

And the flowers that were close to the house

Silvia

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 7:36AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

I don't know about trap plants, but apparently beer, Landshark to be specific, is a good trap for houseflies. I was out in my chain yesterday, sipping a cold one when I noticed something in one of my beds needed adjusting. So I got up and went to adjust it. When I came back, there was a fly in my bottle. Bugger! I had to dump half the bottle out before the fly fell out as well... talk about alcohol abuse... About thirty minutes later the area where I had spilled the beer was carpeted with flies. Needless to say, I took the opportunity to thin out the population a bit.

I plan on using this to my advantage later on. I'm going to try pouring a little beer near the areas where the anoles mostly frequent and see if I can't lure the flies and let the lizards do the thinning out for me.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 7:50AM
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castorp

Ha, ha! Do I sense some skepticism?

Thanks for the pic of Monticello, Silvia. I've always wanted to go there. It's so beautiful--even if it is full of bugs!

The trouble with companion planting is a lot of it's based on folklore. Some of it's true, but a lot isn't, and some of it is actually creates problems. I've been trying to find actual tests, but even tested techniques aren't always reliable. Much of this seems to be in the experimental stage.

Whatever happens, I'll let y'all know.

Bill

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 8:46AM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

I plan on using this to my advantage later on. I'm going to try pouring a little beer near the areas where the anoles mostly frequent and see if I can't lure the flies and let the lizards do the thinning out for me.

I have two suggestions:

1) Use Red, White and Blue, no need to waste good beer!

2) Please draw in the dang Cuban anoles, hopefully they'll drink the beer and die too, then we can save the native green anoles ;-)

Much of this seems to be in the experimental stage.

Bill, in science we call that anecdotal evidence ;-)

Tom

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 6:40PM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

Problem for me is that I don't have straight-up Cuban anoles. I mostly have the cross-bred Cuban/Brown anoles. There are some green and browns as well, but the hybrids are very dominant. I also have sand skinks and a few other skinks. There are also some Mediterranean Geckos, but they're a very small population and I haven't seen one since September or October.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 6:55PM
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jane__ny(9-10)

When I lived in NY, I had a problem in one flower bed from slugs. I did the beer trick, pouring some in a small tuna can and putting them amoung the flowers. In the morning, the cans were filled with slugs. It was so disgusting to empty the cans.

A few days later, we woke up to a lot of noise outside our window. There was a huge flock of crows all around the tuna cans, happily slurping up the slugs along with the beer. I swear, we had drunk crows!

They loved those slugs with beer.
Jane

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 12:37AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

I swear a bar I went to in Michigan served the exact same thing.... Beer and Chips my *****.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 6:36AM
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happy_fl_gardener

Silvia - I've been wanting to go to Monticello, either this year or next. What time during the growing season did you go? I'm guessing around July?

Bill - Best of luck with your experiment. The data that you gather should be interesting.

Christine

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 10:55AM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Christine, I went for the Heritage festival for 3 days. It is really worth the trip and to go to the lectures and tours that interest you. If you go around that time, you can plan everything while you are here, they have a lot of things to do and see. Food from the farms is also good. It was a little bit chilly around that time...

They had the heirloom tomato sampler

They invite different famous people every year, one of them was Allen Smith when I went, he is in the picture with one of the tour guides

Silvia

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 3:39PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

I forgot the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: heritage harvest festival

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 4:19PM
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castorp

Thanks, Christine. I'll let you all know what happens.

Jane, I once tried the saucers of beer for slugs, but it was the raccoons who threw a party.

Bill

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 6:19PM
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gardeniadyl(9aFL)

I have almost no bad bugs in my garden. I also use no insecticides . I let nature take care of things. After all the birds and lizards need food too.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 10:11PM
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