I do all organic gardening in my community garden and I use a few "home remedies" that do okay for me that I've never worried about with my bees. That said, I'm in Colorado and we don't have near the insect activity that wetter states do and I garden on a small scale; 2 plots that are 12x13 each in a community garden (that has a hive, right by my beds) so my homemade methods might not work for those bugs in Florida that get big enough to carry off small children.
I use regular old fashioned original Dawn dishwashing soap, though any biodegradable soap will work, like camping soap. Put about a tablespoon in 20 ounces of water in a sprayer, and swirl to dissolve it, don't shake or you'll get suds. The idea is to make some water "sticky" so it drowns small bugs. Use it in a few hours before or after watering if you top water with a hose or cans, etc. This is for getting rid of tiny bugs, like aphids.
For the big nasties or really bad infestations, I make a pretty vile homemix. 3 big cloves of garlic, smushed really well + 1 tablespoon red pepper powder (ground very fine) + 1/4 cup vegetable oil is all mixed together in my food processor. I strain that through some cheesecloth into my 20 ounce sprayer then fill the rest with water.
I also do some companion planting and have calendula and marigolds spread through the garden; a lot of bad bugs seems to hate both those flowers while pollinators and lady bugs generally love them.
you don't want to be using any pesticides or you will not have honey bees. in the general gardening forum, there are some great posts relative to what other folks use....i am looking for a couple of great threads about this right now in that forum. will post the link to them when i find them for you:grin:
looking for a couple others in that forum with some great tips......
btw what insects are you looking to control, might be able to help out.....i have huge gardens, but my better half is the gardener with all kinds of organic methods for various insects.
To be honest I'm not really sure what is getting on them but all of my plants seem to have holes eaten in the leaves. Last year we had a bad problem with aphids but I'm not seeing a lot of those this year. I do notice a small greenish fly of some type that is always present so that may be the culprit!
what kind of plants are you growing? there are a number of insects that do this (holes in the leaves), but it depends on the plant, as to what they are. we need some of the gardeners in here to help you out,........i garden but just follow instructions.....:grin: i can tell you all about picking colorado beetles off potato plants though....lol!
sorry i can't help you out more right now, my BHalf is gone tonight, but would still need to know what plants.
also, if you can't get many replies here, you could ask charles to move your thread to the gardening forum where folks can help you out better than i can?
I like to use yellow plastic sticky cards. I hang them up between the branches of trees or the rows of vegetables. Somehow, the color yellow is a good attractant for many flying insects. They sit down on the card and get stuck for good. But this is not for all insects. The soap remedy is generally considered a good solution for aphids. Most often, the solution has to be tailored for the pest. BT, for example, is considered a non-poisonous solution for caterpillars (that eat leaves, among other things). Beetles require different solutions, but I don't know what to suggest.
If you can, try to get someone to identify the specific pest you are dealing with, that should narrow down the serach for non=poisonous control methods.