Pests can be a major problem around the home and gardens. Although there are many chemical pesticides that are available in the marketplace for you to buy as a potential solution, these treatment methods tend to not only be toxic to pests, but can also be harmful to humans, pets and the environment as well. Here are 3 natural pest control methods for you to consider.
1. Take Preventative Measures
In the garden, prevention is often the best defense against pests and insect damage. The idea is discourage them from ever entering your gardens to begin with.
- Get rid of any weak or potentially infected plants. These plants can attract predators and lead to pests spreading to your healthy plants.
- Use natural composting methods to build organic, healthy soil. This will help you grow plants that are vigorous and strong. They will be less susceptible to pests and disease.
- Keep your gardens free of weed and debris. These tend to be places where insects like to breed. Also spread generous layers of mulch.
- Rotate and interplant crops. This will help to prevent pests from spreading through a crop and keep plant specific pests from overtaking your crops and gardens.
2. Make Use Of Beneficial Insects
These are insects that you can either purchase or attract to your garden that prey on harmful pests or their larvae. Some species are better for certain pest problems than others, so do some additional research to find the right beneficial insects to introduce into your gardens.
- Ichneumon, Chalcid and Brachonid Wasps – These wasps destroy leaf-eating caterpillars. To attract them into your garden, plant parsley, celery or carrots. The wasps are attracted to the flowers of these plants, and once they are drawn in will help to get rid of caterpillars feasting on the leaves of your plants.
- Ladybugs – These beneficial bugs eat white flies, mites and aphids. To attract them into your gardens, you can plant yarrow, tansy or daisies. You can also purchase them.
- Lacewings – These insects eat aphids and other pests. You can purchase them, and they are also attracted to asters, black-eyed susans, goldenrod, yarrow and other composite flowers.
- Praying Mantis – These beneficial insects consume most garden pests. You can purchase praying mantis eggs through the mail or online and then place them in your garden.
- Nematodes – These are effective against beetles and cutworms. You can purchase these and place them in your garden.
3. Non-Toxic Remedies And Sprays
There are many inexpensive non-toxic sprays and home remedies that can be used to effectively combat harmful insects. Some of the more common ingredients used include horsetail, stinging nettles, cayenne and garlic, which you dilute in water and then spray on plants. Here are a few examples:
- For mites and other harmful insects you can mix two tablespoons of cayenne pepper sauce with a couple of drops of Ivory soap and water. Stir and let it sit over night. Then pour the mixture into a spray bottle and use on your plants.
- For slugs and earwigs, you can sprinkle diatomaceous earth in your garden beds and over your plants. They are only harmful to pests such as snails, slugs and insects.
- For fungal diseases, mix together water with 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Place the solution into a spray bottle and spray areas that are affected.
There are many other natural pest control methods that can be used, but the three above are very effective. So start with one of these methods first to help control pests around your home and gardens naturally