MY SOLUTION TO PILL BUGS
10 years ago I moved to Sedona, Az and began turning my 1 acre plot into an heirloom, organic garden with dozens of beds. The 2nd year I was attacked by earwigs that ate everything in sight. Took me all summer to get them under control but it was doable. I noticed tons of pill bugs but they weren't bothering my crops that year so I ignored them. BIG MISTAKE! The next year I had a Super Explosion of pill bugs. They ate almost everything (except my tomato plants and carrots). I'd plant out seedlings and the next morning they would be gone! I would just find piles of pill bugs! And I couldn't stop them. Millions of them! Some have suggested that my garden must be out of balance. Yes, it was! I was amending my soil and trying to garden in high desert country, providing food where there had only been cactus and scrub oak before! The bugs found heaven and began procreating like crazy!!
I tried every suggestion I found online. Most of them like D.E. And Neem oil were useless. Some were slightly effective.... Place grapefruit rinds or cardboard down, lift them up in the morning and step on the bugs, sink a soup can down into the dirt and fill it half way with beer then dump out the dead bugs, sprinkle coffee grounds around the plants. I couldn't possibly drink that much coffee, the cardboard didn't attract enough of them, I really don't like grapefruit all that much and the beer worked great but would have cost me a fortune! I really had millions! And nothing here seems to like to eat them.
It took me 4 years to finally get them under control but here's what I did. I learned to practice really good garden hygiene all the time, even now that I don't see too many, because they come back quickly.
1. I took away all the mulch they live under. It's 100+ degrees here all summer and I would love to mulch, but I can't because they quickly come right back. I plant things together so they can shade each other.
2. When I pull my plants at the end of the season I remove every scrap of the plants and roots and even the weeds and leave the soil bare. Nothing to eat, nowhere to hide.
3. I moved my compost pit as far away from my beds as possible.
4. I don't bring my compost up to beds until it is 110% finished, till it looks and smells like great dirt and has no bugs in it.
5. I found one organic insecticide that works, Spinosad. It's not cheap but a quart makes 16 gallons. I spray my seedlings and a few inches of the dirt around them the minute I plant them and then every 3-5 days for the first 2 weeks or so. Then they have a good chance of surviving. Then I watch over them like a hawk and spray whenever necessary.
6. The minute I see my peas or beans coming up I spray those beds with Spinosad too, same as the others. Spinosad is made by several companies. You can find it at any garden center/hardware store. Sluggo Plus contains Spinosad but is not as effective. I would need to use a lot of it.
7. I always trim off the leaves from the base of every plant when they get big enough so that I can clearly see every stem and watch for trouble. Spray when necessary.
8. Plants in the squash family are their favorite. I thin the leaves on these too so that I can see the stem and once they start to grow well I place something under the vines to keep them off the dirt as much as possible. I use rocks or sticks or pieces of wood, whatever I've got.
9. Similar to cardboard I make traps out of old 1-2-3 gallon pots. I place some rocks and and a little dirt in them (2-3 pounds seems to be the weight they prefer) and place 1-2 right next to the crops they love. As I water my plants each morning I lift the pots, step on all the bugs under them and spray them with water to keep the soil moist.
This took awhile but it is working well for me. So..... ANYBODY HAVE ANY GARDENING SOLUTIONS FOR CLIMATE CHANGE BECAUSE THIS IS BLOWING MY MIND!