Like all gardens, hydroponic gardens are subject to infestation by insects, pests and diseases. These insects will move into the growing space and can cause significant damage to the plants. Nearly all pests like spider mites, whiteflies and aphids can cause problems in a hydroponic garden, just like they can affect plants grown in soil.
To eliminate harmful insects, you have to identify them and understand the other insects will eat them. For example, if aphids infest the plants, you can grow plants that attract ladybugs as it the best way to get rid of aphids. Small and medium infestations can be controlled by the introduction of beneficial insects. A quick intervention of these friendly insects can help in controlling pests and will reduce or even eliminate the harmful impact they can have.
One of the most popular ways to combat a pest infestation is by introducing beneficial life forms into the system. Certain types of fungi and bacteria will push out these pests by either consuming them or by producing toxins that are harmful to them. Pesticidal soaps, that contain compounds naturally produced by plants, have been used for many years to exterminate pests. Neem oil is also useful for controlling pests that affect plants.
Sticky Cards & Sprays
Yellow sticky cards can be used for trapping or monitoring fungus gnats and many other flying insects like aphids, thrips and whitefly. The bright yellow color attracts the pests and they get stuck on the sticky surface. These cards can also be used as an early indicator for detecting a potential pest infestation. Botanical sprays are made from plants that have insecticidal qualities and are safer than chemical insecticides. Even though they are natural, they should be used sparingly and as a last resort.
Inspect & Clean the Equipment
Routinely inspect, clean and sterilize the pumps, trays and all other equipment with bleach or hydrogen peroxide solutions.
Pavel Sluka is the owner of Hydroponics Habitat.