When I moved to my farm, rain was an unusual event. I had to conserve water, even making it a habit to flush my toilets only when I really needed to. After the eruption ended in late 2018, the weather patterns changed. With no VOG, the sunlight is stronger and heats up the ocean surface quicker where the warm moist air now rises up the mountain and it cools then condenses and comes down as rain at higher elevations nearly every afternoon and evening. I haven't had to have water delivered in about 18 months and my tanks now regularly overflow. But I grow cactus which is a dry environment loving plant. As the weather patterns change so do the problems. Meet Cactoblastis. He was brought to Hawaii and Australia among other areas in the 1950s to control the prickly pear cactus which thrived on range land inhibiting cattle grazing.
or the cactus moth is supposed to just subsist on prickly pear but as most things in nature it has adjusted to the available food source and now is munching my dragon fruit plants. So far the infestation is growing exponentially. The more plants that become infested the more moths it creates thus more plants that become infested.
My plan of attack is to spray with Bacillus thuringiensis a naturally occurring bacteria that kills the larvae. Next I will cut the affected limbs out and destroy them then if need be I'll dig out and remove plants that are too far gone. Another layer of protection will be a couple of strategically placed bug zappers that will hopefully kill the flying moths before they are able to lay eggs.
Other problems that the rain brings is rot brought on by fungus and virus infections that thrive in warm and wet environments. Pollination is also affected as the bees need to pollinate for the short window in the evening as the dragon fruit blooms open and before dusk as bees don't fly at night. If it's raining the pollen becomes less viable and we have less fruit set.
These are certainly huge problems for our farm. For every solution there are unintended consequences and with farming comes the realization that everything is out of our control. All we can do is our best to adapt to the changes presented. My challenge to figure out how to find balance with my new friends. They will always be present just like the birds who enjoy the ripe fruit I grow. And to find balance with the fungus and other insects too. Like all of us, I suspect, I strive to find balance within myself, with my business and with the world around me. Thank you for reading, may you find balance in your world today. Aloha.