Pests like squash bugs and Japanese beetles are the bane of many a backyard farmer’s existence, sometimes destroying entire crops. While some people use pesticides, there is one easy and natural way to keep them off your fruits and veggies — just feed them dessert!
“I’m gonna let you in on a secret that’s been a huge game changer in our garden,” says Jenn in a video for her TikTok account, @sunshinefarmny.
This millennial homesteader explains that Sunshine Farm used to have a huge problem with Japanese beetles.
“These beans right here would have been covered with Japanese beetles,” she says. “Totally skeletonized leaves.”
Not anymore, she reveals, adding that they didn’t even have to alter the garden. “And here’s the thing. The Japanese beetles … they haven’t left either.”
So what’s Jenn’s secret? Two words: trap crops.
Japanese beetles love feasting on raspberries, so Jenn and her husband, Chris, simply planted these delicious beetle treats in multiple spots across their farm.
“Give a pest their favorite dessert so they won’t eat your garden for dinner,” reads the video caption.
This doesn’t only work for Japanese beetles either, Jenn adds, promising a follow-up video about squash vine borers.
How it’s helping
Save your health by skipping pesticides. Using a trap crop is a clever way to keep your garden pest-free without using these chemicals, which contaminate soil, water, and other vegetation.
Studies have linked pesticides to a number of maladies including cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, ADHD, and birth defects. They can also do harm to the nervous, reproductive, and endocrine systems.
Pesticides can also impact animals, especially when the chemicals run off into streams and other bodies of water. This can cause fish and other animals to get sick and even die, which could potentially throw an entire ecosystem out of balance.
They can also poison mammals and birds like hawks, owls, squirrels, skunks, deer, coyotes, foxes, mountain lions, and bobcats. Planting a trap crop keeps your garden thriving without doing harm to animals and the planet.
Plus, trap crops aren’t just for pests. You can take advantage of the fruits or veggies yourself as well.
What everyone’s saying
Other TikTokers were enthusiastic about the hack, calling it “genius” and “awesome.”
“This is beautiful,” one person comments. “You are working with nature.”
Many others offer even more dessert options to detract pests from other crops.
“Aphids love cilantro … keeps them away from tomatoes,” one says.
Another adds, “I found that by planting OKRA in various spots attracted potato bugs and squash borers plus I got enough okra for some gumbo.”
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