Wednesday, January 17, 2024

OMRI - What's this all about?!

Have you ever noticed an OMRI logo on a product  from us? 


It’s likely you have because these products have been evaluated for their suitability in producing organic end products and they align with our vision to offer products for organic growing! 





We even have products that we have had go through their rigorous vetting process like our ARBICO Organics OMRI Listed®” Beneficial Nematodes! 

 

These products that they certify range from every kind of growing input from fertilizers to fungicides and more. These products serve to help make it easy and transparent for growers and gardeners alike to choose the type of products that best fit into their growing strategy. It also makes it possible for growers and gardeners to have certified organic end products should that be their goal. If you have ever been curious about this organization and what they provide, look no further! We have dug up the details for you and are pleased to share them with you! 

 

What is “OMRI” exactly and who are they?

  • OMRI stands for Organic Materials Review Institute
  • It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
  • It was founded in 1997 by organic certifiers and stakeholders
  • Vist their site to learn all about their history and mission here: www.omri.org

 

What does the OMRI organization do? 

  • They provide an independent review of products intended for use in certified organic production, handling, and processing.
  • They list these compliant products as “OMRI Listed®” and provide access to “OMRI Products Lists©”  for the public.
  • They also provide information, education and training on the suitability of material inputs for organic requirements. 

 

How do they establish what products are “OMRI Listed®”?

 

OMRI just passed a major milestone by establishing 10,000 OMRI Listed® products reviewed and verified for organic use! 


Here at ARBICO Organics, our mission aligns to provide gardeners and growers with sustainable choices and the opportunity to grow organic and we are pleased to offer some of these amazing products! 


Check out our OMRI Listed® product page to see which ones are available for you to use!

How Insects Survive During Winter

Ever wondered about how bugs make it through the winter? 

It’s not uncommon to see a line of ants marching up the sidewalk in the summer, but you won’t see the same colony going up and down through snowbanks in the winter. You’d think that due to their small size, insects wouldn’t hold up well to cold weather. And you’re correct! 



Insects that do not have specific adaptations to deal with the cold can freeze to death in as little as 24 hours when exposed to freezing temperatures. This effect is compounded when you account for the fact that typical insect food (pollen, nectar, leaves, etc.) is no longer available in the winter. 

Yet come spring, all these insects are back out in full force with no noticeable decrease in numbers. 

So, what’s the trick? 
For some insects, like butterflies, the answer is to leave for warmer weather. 
These insects have no special resistance or adaptations to the cold, so their answer is to get away from it. Species of insects that migrate are butterflies, dragonflies, moths, and beetles.

Of course, wings are necessary for migration, and not every insect with wings chooses to migrate. What do the remainder do?

Hibernation is a common strategy for insects.
Burrowing deep into the soil, finding leaf litter,
crawling into a cave, and even going within your home! In fact, human homes are one of the easiest ways for an insect to survive the winter. After all, while the outside might be below freezing, your house is climate-controlled year round (Looking for more information on pests inside your home? Check out one of our previous articles). For insects unable to punch their ticket in your home, natural shelters reduce the severity of cold temperatures but do not remove them entirely. 


To survive the winter, insects must avoid having ice form within their cells. There are two methods for doing this: freeze avoidance and freeze tolerance. 
Freeze avoidance, as the name implies, means that the insect does everything it can to avoid getting frozen. To do this, freeze avoidant insects produce a chemical within their bodies that is virtually identical to antifreeze. Yes, the same antifreeze that you put in your car! This chemical keeps fluids circulating throughout the insect’s body even when temperatures are below freezing. Freeze avoidant insects will also produce proteins that bond with ice crystals forming inside their bodies and break them down.

Some insects don’t bother with exerting energy to prevent themselves from freezing. Instead, they’ve evolved freeze tolerance, which means that these insects allow themselves to freeze and cope with the formation of ice crystals in their bodies. This type of insect is commonly found in the Southern Hemisphere, likely due to the more severe swings in climate.

It’s difficult to imagine turning yourself into a popsicle for the winter then waking up just fine in the spring. What needs to happen so the insect doesn’t die? First, ice just doesn’t form anywhere. The insect keeps any freezing outside of its cells through the creation of ice nucleating proteins. These proteins attract ice crystals, causing them to form on the outside of the body instead of inside cells. Freeze tolerant insects also attract water into their bodies. This prevents ice crystals from extracting water from the insect’s cells.


Finally, one of the most common winter adaptation strategies for insects isn’t necessarily what we’d think of as an adaptation. Countless species of short-lived insects don’t even live for one month in ideal weather. If this is the case, why evolve to live through the most difficult part of the year? Instead, these insects lay eggs before dying out in the fall. Once warmer weather appears, these eggs are triggered to hatch, as warm weather implies the existence of food for the larvae.

Regardless of how they do it, insects will find a way to make it through the winter. Even if you don’t see them when there’s snow on the ground, know that they’ll be back in the spring.


Robin @ ARBICO Organics

Monday, January 8, 2024

Two Winter Pests That Invade Your Home

New Year's has come and gone, and several parts of the USA already have snow on the ground. For all practical purposes, winter is here. And while you’re rummaging through your closet wondering where you left your pair of winter gloves, various types of pests are trying to get out of the cold.

A quick note: Rats and mice are common trespassers during winter months, and they can definitely wreak havoc on a home, but they aren’t the focus of this article. 
Instead, we’ll be focused on insect pests, specifically ants and cockroaches.

Ants are notorious for being persistent invaders during every season. Many ants retreat into their burrows and enter a dormant state during cold periods, but not all of them. Some ant species, such as the stink ant (also known as the odorous house ant), can move indoors to escape the cold. When ants feel cold weather, they respond by instinctively searching out warm places. Though this is traditionally an ant burrow, almost any species of ant is happy to substitute a climate-controlled home. Whether it’s food or warmth, ants will seek it out and can enter homes through minuscule cracks and openings. Though ants do not pose an immediate health risk, their presence can be a nuisance, and some ant species can cause damage to property. Plus, an ant colony definitely produces a distinct smell!

Do you already have ant problems? Take a look at the EcoSmart® Ant & Roach Killer Spray. It uses natural and essential oils to kill ants on contact. These oils also do a great job of taking care of lingering smells after you’ve taken care of the colony.

During the winter, ants largely only enter human homes for warmth and consider the food that they find a natural bonus. However, cockroaches are a completely different story. They are attracted to not only warmth, but also moisture, food, and refuse. This tendency only increases in winter. Different types of cockroaches prefer different environments. Here’s a quick breakdown of common cockroach species found in residential homes across America.

German Cockroach
This is one of the most common species of cockroach, and it's what likely comes to mind when you visualize a cockroach. It’s found across the entire world, and the only factor that limits its population growth is cold weather. This aversion to cold weather means that cockroaches are naturally attracted to human homes and dwellings. And they’ve made it work. German cockroaches are usually found in kitchens, bathrooms, or food storage areas, even in areas as far north as Nunavut, Canada. If you spot one, know that it cannot fly away. Though German cockroaches have wings, they can only glide short distances.

Brown-Banded Cockroach
This species is smaller than the German cockroach, though it’s not a noticeable difference to the naked eye. Also like the German cockroach, the brown-banded cockroach prefers warmth. A noticeable difference is the brown-banded cockroach’s' inclination to settle in high elevations. It’s not uncommon to find them in upper cabinets, on top of refrigerators, and in attics.

Oriental Cockroach
This bug is also referred to as the black cockroach due to its dark coloration. This type of cockroach prefers moist environments and tends to settle in basements, crawl spaces, around leaky water pipes, in bathrooms, and in places with fungal infections. All cockroaches can spread disease, but oriental cockroaches are among the worst. Take extra care to exterminate them if you notice these bugs in your home.

Thankfully, all species of cockroach can be controlled similarly. 

There are simple steps you can take, such as sealing entry points with caulk or weather stripping, keeping a clean environment, working with a plumber to seal leaky pipes, and making sure your food is secured -- including the food that’s thrown in your trash can and any pet food you use for your furry friends. If you’re dealing with an infestation, try using Avenger® Roach Tablets. Just drop them where cockroaches gather then check back in a day. Cockroaches are drawn to these tablets and will die once they ingest them.

By: Robin @ ARBICO Organics

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