While I was on vacation, I had the chance to read Sylvia Bernstein's step-by-step guide to aquaponic gardening. The pest control section mentions feeding pests to your fish, which I hadn't even considered before. Simply remove the affected plant from the grow bed and submerse it in the tank for 15 minutes. While the fish are eating the pests, they do a great job of cleaning up dead roots and foliage too!
Before vacation, I had a waged a 2 month long battle against green aphids that were eating my peppers, and I was excited to get the chance to test this new form of IPM when I got back. Imagine my dismay when I returned home after 4 days to find that every single aphid had disappeared! What are the chances of that ever happening? Luckily, as I was walking out the door I noticed just a couple strawberries with early stages of spidermite damage (a phrase I never thought I'd say). It's so much fun to watch the fish clean up the infested plants!
I'm familiar with spidermites, and I firmly believe this has slowed down the spread over the past couple weeks. Be that as it may, about 1/3 of our strawberries are now affected. I pick out any mite ridden strawberries for a dunk in the tank every couple days, but I'm concerned about the problem getting worse.
Does anybody have experience with this form of IPM in their system? Should I keep on just with this method? Would you recommend I also start doing some insecticidal soap sprays and hort oils? Or should I consider some other way to control the mites?
Thanks for your help!
i would not use soaps or oils in an ap system, as either can kill fish -
some folks have had success with a garlic chilli spray.. i've used beneficial nematodes/insects with very good results
spider mites: I control them by washing them off with water spray. Usually every other day takes care of it in a week or so. If outside, it works well - seems to be a more difficult method indoors.