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Controlling insects on Seagate’s farm

October 2016 has become a critical month for Seagate’s harvests. The olives are ripening early and the tomatoes are all ripening at once. Tomatoes generally all ripen and need to be picked all at the same time.

tomatoes ripening in early October

tomatoes ripening in early October

That is not a problem because we have a lot of machinery in the plant to handle this spike in volume.  The machine below is one of several large freeze-dryers. The rims on either end allow this tank to rotate slowly, keeping the product we are drying turning over inside the tank and in constant contact with the vacuum. This tank has the capacity to handle 2 metric tons when half-filled, the level we generally use for the fastest rate of drying. This is of course the raw material for Seagate Lycopene-15. Product Image

 

Large freeze-dryer

Large freeze-dryer

However, the real problem that we have to deal with at this time is fly-control.  The insects are at their peak when the fruit is ripening. We have to maintain control without using pesticides. Below is a picture of one of many fly traps we have scattered among the trees. An attractant lures the flies to the trap where they eat a poison and die.

One-day catch of flies in this trap

One-day catch of flies in this trap

Notice the brown specs in the red goop are the dead flies.

flies in trap

flies in trap

Each trap must be cleaned out every day and new poison added.  In addition to these traps, we also mix a liquid spray from garlic to spray the trees and the tomatoes.  This works for a few days, but unlike commercial pesticides, we must reapply the spray twice a week. It is very difficult to control these pests when you do not use chemical pesticides, which is perhaps the hardest part of our work.

So its time to take a break from the flies and go down to the one place that they cannot attack. Fifty feet below the surface.  The blue fish in the picture is the Blue Tang. This is what a healthy coral reef should look like, with lots of fish.

Blue tang and other fish along a healthy tropical reef

Blue tang and other fish along a healthy tropical reef near Belize

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