I have not heard of this before, and wonder, if anyone here has tried it.
Here is a link that might be useful: gardening tip with bleached flour
I've heard of it all my life. It is an old folk remedy. Some folks swear by it, while others swear at it....
With some bugs like grasshoppers, it is believed that the flour gums up their mouth parts sort of like a paste or glue. I've used it, though not in a very long time. Does it work? Not particularly that I could tell. It might have had a small amount of effectiveness, but not enough to make it worthwhile.
I don't like putting flour on plants. It you have dew or very light misty rainfall, the flour gets wet and gummy and even can start growing mold. Heavier rainfall or overhead irrigation washes it off the plant foliage and onto/into the soil.
I'd rather use either food-grade DE sprinkled on/around the plants as appropriate, or Surround WP, both of which are fairly effective and don't get gummy/moldy if there's dew every morning.
I can understand why the bugs don't want to eat it, I don't either. LOL I have heard of self-rising flour recommended also, but I don't use it. I do sometimes use DE.
Flour gums up my mouth parts too. That's why it's best to eat it in cookie dough or muffin batter form.
The flour should make it easier to track the the bug down, sorta like tracking a rabbit in the snow, and if you get good at it you may be able to tell a good bug track from a bad bug track. If the Fish and Game people get wind of this they will want to put a season on it.
Growing up, I was taught you shouldn't use self-rising flour because of the salt in the leavening agents but I don't know if that is "true" or another old wive's tale. I was taught to use only plain, all-purpose flour.
Okievegan, I totally agree. With the weather we've had the last two summers, we might be able to bake the cookie dough and muffin batter right out there in the garden too.
Larry, I have used flour that way too, though only to figure out what was getting under my first garden fence and digging up the garden by capturing footprints in the flour sprinkled on the ground. It was skunks, by the way, and led to a much-improved garden fence that kept out all the small critters except for armadillos who still managed to dig under the fence, which led to even more fence improvements.
I think (grin) it would be hard to identify most bugs by their tracks, except for snails. Snail leave a trail (which reminds me of one of my favorite pest control books "Dead Snails Leave No Trail".)
When it is not gardening season, I put up temporary fence in parts of the garden and let the chickens into it during the day. I feed them lots of vegetable or fruit scraps from the kitchen and when I have bread that is no longer fresh, I also give them that. I make a lot of our bread and use whole grain flours which I grind myself. They taste great fresh, but don't stay fresh for long, so after a couple of days I toss it to the chickens.
My 7 pound poodle loves homemade bread and walks the fence trying to find a place he can scoot under to steal what I give the chickens. When we eat a fresh slice of bread, he stays right under us, just hoping we drop some or breakdown and give him a bite. He is weird.
Dawn that is interesting about the flour because I think the ratio is one half teaspoon of salt per cup. That might be enough to do damage, and at the very least would add salt to your soil. Some people also spray diluted milk for aphids, I think. I have read some really weird things that people use.
I don't like to use anything on the plants, and other than sprays of water I have used an organic fungicide, and insecticidal soap, each one time, in the 12 years I have lived here. That is not to say that I haven't had a lot of Japanese beetles drown in a glass of soapy water. LOL
I don't like to use much of anything in my garden either. This year, when I sprayed the entire garden with Bt during the massive cutworm outbreak, it was the first time I'd sprayed the whole garden with anything since we moved here. If I "have to" treat something, I usually only spray that specific crop, and not the whole garden. I also used neem once or twice in the spring, but only on specific plants.
I've found cabbage worms and cabbage loopers on cole crops this past week. I was going to spray all the cole crops with Bt 'kurstaki', but instead, I've just been hand-picking them. I hate spraying anything. Like you, I do drown a lot of pests in a bowl of soapy water--usually it is either cabbage loopers or imported cabbage worms, or sometimes it is Colorado potato beetles.
The cold has finally shut down the grasshoppers for the most part, and I haven't seen a scorpion in about 2 weeks now, but the garden is full of butterflies, bees in all sizes, yellow jackets, predatory wasps, green lacewings, lady bugs and several kinds of flies (like tachnid flies and Southern robber flies, both beneficials) but also a few cucumber beetles and stink bugs, which I just ignore. There's been a little bean beetle damage on some of the remaining beans, but I just ignore them. It isn't enough damage to warrant action. We also have oodles of butterflies. I am glad I took the time to cover up a few zinnias and verbena bonariensis along with the southern peas and beans because everything else froze and the little flying critters fight over the few remaining flowers all day long. I left some henbit in the bean bed when it sprouted there in early October, and now it is just starting to bloom. That's a relief because once the beans are finished, the bees and little winged insects and butterflies at least will have the blooms of the henbit. There's also some chamomile that sprouted about the same time and it is about to start blooming, so that will be a few more flowers for the wild things.
I don't get too concerned about fall pests because the cold weather pretty much takes care of them anyway. I have dug up a surprising number of cutworms in the fall garden, and have killed every one. Maybe I'll have fewer of those suckers this spring than last spring, which was epic in its horrible-ness (I know that likely is not a word) but it is appropriate.
There's still tons of spiders too, so at least all the beneficial critters are hanging in there, and there's both toads and frogs lurking in the garden every day.
With the salt issue in self-rising flour, it is a much bigger problem for those of us who have certain kinds of alkaline soils that are more sodic in nature, so I never would use flour in my clay for that reason. I used flour in about 2002 or 2003 when the grasshoppers were so bad, and it just ruint all the foliage of my beautiful tomato plants. They looked crappy the rest of the summer, long after I'd hosed off the flour....and we still had tons of grasshoppers too.
A friend of mine doesn't have chickens, but she has an old mother coyote who has raised many dens of pups in an area near her pond, and she always puts out the stale bread and stale crackers for that coyote.
I also have used an organic fungicide (Greencure) and once or twice have used insecticidal soap, but I'd rather flick the pests into the soapy water in a bowl than spray the soapy water on my plants. I don't think I've sprayed a lot of garden plants with a soap spray in about 10 years, though I have sprayed an occasional single plant in a pot.
Our chickens are having garden withdrawal because the fall garden is doing so well that I haven't let them into the garden yet to dig and scratch and hunt for bugs. At the rate its going, the chickens may not make it into the garden until January. This evening we came back from a fire (it has been a very busy fire week since about Tuesday) and had some unhappy chickens in the chicken coop. They were up roosting but were chattering even though it was dark. Usually that means a snake is in there, but this time it was a little possum curled up in the corner of the coop. Tim showed him or her the way out and then closed the door. I guess the little possum thought he'd found a nice place to spend the winter.
Hawks have been trying hard to get the chickens so they haven't been out free-ranging much, but I planted 5 rows of winter greens in the big garden for them, so every day I cut them a bunch of greens and toss them into the chicken coop. The greens might make being cooped up a little more bearable.
When I let them out to chase bugs around the yard, I stay with them as much as possible to keep the hawks away. In this drought, the hawks are having trouble finding enough food and it is going to be a long winter for the chickens with those hawks hovering over the yard.
I still have not had enough cold to freeze out everything that I thought would be gone by now. I found 3 bell peppers this week. The tops of the plants were hit by frost, but it didn't take the entire plant. I have zinnias whose leaves froze and curled up, but they still have a flower on top. I started to pull squash vines down from the trellis and they are very hard to pull loose. The leaves are dead, but the vines are still green. Almost everything still has green foliage at ground level and about a foot above the ground. I have a few tomato plants that came up and are 8-10 inches tall and they are untouched.
I knew that I had left a few potatoes in the ground, and about 6 came up in the Fall, but since we went so long without rain, they came up much too late. I left them anyway and decided to cover them by putting those big 5 gallon water jugs with the bottom cut out down over them. One of them was big enough to touch the sides of the bottle when we had a freeze so the leaves that touched the bottle froze, but it didn't stop the plant. One came up under the low tunnel and it is rather lanky, but the ones under the bottles still look healthy and green. The bottles have an open top so they don't hold all of the heat in. I don't know what it will take to freeze them out, but it hasn't happened yet. My asparagus is still green so I haven't prepared that bed for the winter. It may be after Thanksgiving again this year before I get my garden clean-up finished. By this time last year, I had one half cleaned and lots of leaves on the ground, but not this year.
Dawn, yesterday when I went out in the middle of the afternoon all of the chickens had gone back inside their covered run, when normally they would have been outside. They didn't even come out for the pear peelings and stuff I tossed into the pen. Al said they had probably seen a hawk. The area of the garden that they are allowed to run in right now has two big pepper plants in it and they are usually pecking at the leaves, or sitting in a hole they have dug under the plant so they can sit in the shade, but I think they were hiding yesterday.
Trees are losing their leaves at a rapid pace now, but the grass is still very green. We need to mow the grass again.
Today I stripped all the purplehull pea plans and bush snap beans off the plants before I left to go to the fire station. Our forecast for tonight is 40, but last night our county went 3 to 7 degrees lower than forecast, and if that happens tonight, I might see frost or freeze hit the plants. I really wanted to at least cover up the peppers, but we didn't get home from the fire station early enough. I just won't go into the garden in the dark because of previous issues with scary wildlife.
We have had some pepper plants freeze on the top half or third of the plant but not all the way down yet, and I have found a few peppers that have survived (miraculously) the six freezing or frosty nights we've had already, but found others that did not.
If the peppers survive tonight, I'll cover them up tomorrow night if I am home before nightfall.
I found stink bugs on the purplehull pinkeye pea plants today, but since it is close to the end of the plants' lives, I ignored them. I might have tried to use something to kill them (though probably not flour, lol) if it was earlier in the season. Then I saw some spined soldier bugs nearby, so I'm glad I hadn't used any sort of pesticide.
I hope the zinnias make it through tonight without damage because they and the pea and bean blossoms are keeping tons of bees, flies, wasps and butterflies happy. On the other hand, we also have cucumber beetles and I hope they freeze to death and soon.
Hawks are outrageously bold lately. Our coops sit under a very large pecan tree and sometimes the hawks sit on the very top of the tree and try to spot chickens out free-ranging. Well, lately, they are coming down to low limbs and sitting there....which explains why the chickens are not free-ranging much now. I only let them free-range if Tim and I will be out in the yard or garden working so we can keep an eye on them. It is going to be a long winter. I think the hawks are running out of things to eat, and it isn't even winter yet.
I didn't see a single live grasshopper today, for probably the first time since roughly May. Hooray.