The Safest Organic Pest Repellent Ever?
Image credit: Vik Oliver
Organic gardeners and farmers like to talk about balance in nature and working with natural systems, not against them. To that end, the idea of eradicating pests becomes a self-defeating goal as it throws nature off balance and deprives predators that would normally keep populations in check of their food. The end result—so the theory goes—is a greater and greater reliance on pesticides as critters develop a tolerance for our poisons. But as John demonstrated in his post on Japanese beetles, even the keenest organic gardener can be driven to despair by the more destructive elements in the animal kingdom. Now one designer in New Zealand has come up with a unique pest repellent for at least one pesky species—and all it took was a 3D printer and a bit of research. From parasitic wasps to sexy sterile insects there are, of course, plenty of ideas out there for biological control of troublesome insects. But each of these comes with their own risk—especially when using non-native species. Introducing an entirely new element into an ecosystem is, after all, tampering with the natural order of things too.
Designer Vik Oliver over in New Zealand thinks he may have come up with a novel solution for deterring the cabbage white butterfly. It turns out that cabbage white butterflies are antisocial when they're laying their eggs. By sticking up decoy butterflies, says Vik, you can scare them off your crops. And just in case you see butterflies trying to mate with yours, don't worry: "They are stupid males and will not be laying eggs."
There is, of course, nothing new under the sun. In some ways pest control like this is just another take on the original organic pest repellent—the scarecrow. But if it's not broken, don't fix it.