"And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress and keep it". Genesis 2:15

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pill Bugs - Gone! Hail Update

Pill bug Cemetery

I checked the garden for pill bugs this morning when I went out to get some spinach for my smoothie. The pill bugs that had been huddling under the lettuce and the spinach are gone. I looked under the soaker hose and those were gone too. What I did is an old organic trick that I have used many times before. Take a small plastic drink glass, or any small container, sink it into the ground with the rim level with the soil, and fill it with water. Pill bugs, snails, slugs, and cutworms are attracted to the water, fall in, and drown! I have had cups literally fill up with dead pill bugs in the past. What I used this time was a few empty cat food tins. Hey, recycling!

I first set these out a few days ago, but the garden was so wet from all the rain we were having that it did little good in attracting the bugs. Friday however was a very hot day, I think it got to 90, and that was all that was needed to attract these bugs to the water. This also works well to drown gnats and aphids. If you have a bad aphid problem set out yellow plastic tubs, like butter tubs, filled with water. Aphids are attracted to the color yellow. This will get the flying form and for those stuck on your plant your best bet for organic control is to just squash them with your fingers. Wear garden gloves if you are squeamish like me ; )

The one draw back to the bug drowning thing is that it can smell really bad after a while, so just empty the cups frequently. One thing that works well is to use a double cup (one cup inside the other) so that you dont disturb the soil each time you have to empty the top cup.

As far as the hail update goes, the garden seems to be completely recovered. The spinach and lettuce may be a little tattered looking, but I usually harvest the leaves from the outside of each plant, and new leaves are still emerging in the centers that look great, so soon all evidence of the hail damage will be gone.


  1. This is a brilliant idea. I will try it.

  2. Brilliant idea. I will try it.

  3. o_o trying it on a indoor garden, which i used some soil that was probably infested with pillbugs :| as there's lots of them in my container but they can't escape :)

  4. What about mosquitoes? Did you have a problem with them?

    1. I periodically empty out the containers, so by al means if you see mosquito larvae in there then empty it out and refill with water. That's a good point. I use a product for mosquitoes in my rain barrels that contains Bt. It's supposed to be non-toxic, but I am willing to learn about it if it isn't : )

  5. A very small amount of cooking oil placed into the water will produce a thin film of oil, which will kill mosquito larva since they cannot breathe through it