Pest Control For Organic Hops

Pest Control For Craft Beer Makers

IPA Beer

hop crops infested with aphidsAre there insects in your favorite craft beer? The answer is probably yes! Like any crop, hops is susceptible to aphids and other garden bug varieties that like to hang out on plants and nibble on the leaves and fruits that they bear. Because of the extra hops found in your favorite craft beer, most notably IPA’s, you must realize that these beers have more hops being used during the fermentation process and with more plant life, comes more insects. If you are sipping on your favorite IPA while you are reading this, you can bet you are sipping down some aphid juice along with that delicious fermented nectar in that bottle. Sounds gross, I know, but chances are they are not that bad or the FDA wouldn’t allow it… well, they probably would so disregard that. Insects like aphids can destroy plants and entire crops, so it’s important that if you are growing your own hops you utilize some form of pest control. This can be self-applied if the crops are small enough, larger industrial solutions may require the best ag planes on the market to crop dust with pesticides and other chemicals to keep your plants producing. Ideally, all of our favorite brewing companies would be using organic pest control solutions that would keep those harsh chemicals out of our beer mugs. If you are a micro-brew hobbyist and you are growing and treating your own hops, then DIY pest control is probably your best option and it can be even more organic than you ever imagined! Did you know that you can purchase ladybugs on the internet and release them among your crops to feed on aphids? It’s true, and it’s probably the best natural way to rid your crops of those leaf-eating pests! Now in commercially grown hops, our good friends at the FDA allow for about 2,500 aphids per 10 grams of hops. Digest that thought for a minute, now take a phat pull off that bottle and enjoy the fine brew that has been fermented for your enjoyment. If you break that down on a per bottle basis, that equals about 1,800 aphids per bottle of brewski. Just the sound of that makes me want to spit up what I’m sipping on, but I love it so much I think I’ll leave it in my gut to absorb into my bloodstream. Don’t be too grossed out though, even though that’s a lot of bugs in your beer, it still only equates to about 0.01 ounces of fermented bugs in your beer.

shot of mezcal with wormThink of it like Mezcal with the worm, except you don’t actually get to eat the insect at the end, it’s already been pulverized and filtered into your brewski! Insects help with fermentation in the wild, so I don’t see any harm in this personally. Yeast, for example, emits a fruity aroma so that the yeast can attract fruit flies in nature. While I am personally annoyed by the fruit flies that make their way into my home, they do have some value in the wild. Just not a fan of them swarming my beer bottle while I’m chugging down a few cold ones. At the end of the day, I think the home brewer can make the effort to control these pest populations, but you are never going to completely be pest free and either will the commercial producers. So make an effort with organic pest control ideas, and then let nature take its course and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Cheers!