Pesticides cost lots of money, especially organic ones. A carton of iron phosphate type snail bait sets me back $10 to $15, depending on volume, and it needs to be reapplied every few weeks. Hand picking is generally as affective as using chemicals, and a whole lot safer, but I don’t always make time to do it. However, the bug bounty hunters are often happy to do it for me. My kids, as well as a few of their friends, like that some bugs around here have a bounty on their heads. I will pay cash for certain pest bugs my bantam Cochin hens can’t easily catch, like grasshoppers, or the cochins don’t care for, like snails.
Once tomato season starts, the kids are eager to scan my tomato plants for horn worms, sometimes daily. A few large tomato horn worms can decimate a tomato plant in a matter of days, and by pricing them the highest ($0.50), they have never become a problem for my tomato plants. Each bug variety has a different price on its head, based on difficulty to find or capture. My two conditions are the bugs must be captured in my yard in order to earn the bounty, also any bug, in order to be fed to the chickens must originate in my yard.
On Saturday, my son wanted some extra money to spend at the new arcade a few blocks away. Therefore, he decided to go out and collect snails from the amaryllis and agapanthus in the front yard flower beds. After about 10 minutes, he handed over a plastic bag stuffed with 40+ slimy snails in exchange for $2. The next day, he wanted to take his neighborhood friends to the arcade and show off how easy it was to win at the claw machine there, but he spent all his pocket money. He grabbed another bag and scooped up an additional 20 snails to quickly earn $1 and off he went. I didn’t realize the snails had gotten that out of control out there. He was happy about it though, and he managed to win 4 angry bird stuffed animals in 2 days to show for it.
Snails often end up being disposed of or feed to the ducks at the pond, but grasshoppers, tomato horn worms, and cabbage looper larvae all end up going to the chickens.
The bug reward at Hanbury House is as follows:
- tomato horn worms $0.50
- grasshoppers $0.25
- snails or slugs $0.05 w/ a minimum requirement of 20.
- cabbage looper larvae $0.05
© 2012, Hanbury House.