Pest control

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So, time to time the aphids come and try to kill all my things. This is one of those times.

Ive been using bottles of insecticidal soap, lacewings, lady bugs. And while the infestation is not worse, it eventually kills my plants. RIP pansies. I also get caterpillars.

Im going to be putting tomatoes in my balcony soon, and I have very little space for just 8 grow bags, so I need to minimize the risk of desease.

So im wondering about the following, could use opinions and success stories:

Option A:
Treat ornamentals with systemic insecticides to kill the buggers and treat edibles with soap or neem weekly to prevent infestations.

Option B:
Find a food safe insecticide and apply on everything. Is cyfluthrin food safe?

Option C:
Is there a better pest control option? I am not an "organic only" person but I want to apply stuff that is food safe and pollinator safe.

Thanks for any ideas
 
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I'm not certain why the methods you used were not effective. It might be good to see photographs of your growing area. The plants that you mention do best in full sun. Is your growing area in full sun?

Start by remaining flexible. Any of the options you listed, and others, may be effective in some situations and not others. There is no point in committing to one option, a priori. As circumstances change, you many try different methods. Continually observe and analyze results and other feedback to determine success.

Apply less, observe more. There is no point in applying any of the products you mentioned when there is not an active infestation.
Prevent infestations, by giving optimal care, and noticing the first signs of pest presence or damage.

You can't hope to use both biological controls and pesticides. The pesticides will always undermine the ecological interactions of biological controls. Does that mean bio-controls are failure. it depends on the situation and also on values. What type of garden do you want to grow and work around? What type of produce do you want to harvest?

Many pesticides might be considered food-safe in that they are legally allowed to be used on food crops. However, organic growers and others would strongly disagree. Ultimately you must decide what makes sense for you in your garden.

Explore mechanical means such as hosing off aphids or even simply crushing them. Since your balcony garden is not large, such methods can easily have a large impact.
 
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Thanks @Marck , yes i have full sun. I think the issue is that the aphids will go on the plants with lots of little leaves where I cant possibly reach all with soap. So even if I kill many, the survivors in the crevices will keep hurting the plants and reproducing like the plague.

Or maybe im not regular enough and I need to really make sure I apply soap every night.

And with the caterpillars, they are easier to manage by removal but they do hide well (even with a uv torch i struggle to find them). They are less of a concern.

Id rather stay away from proper pesticides unless absolutely necessary. Are other "organic" methods more efective? Maybe ill give Neem a try. You are right about being flexible.

Thanks again
 

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