Pests infest crops which in turn reduce the garden’s overall production. To control the invasion of, let’s say spider mites, many gardeners use pesticides which can affect their family’s health, pollute the environment, and if misused, can even kill plants. No wonder, finding new pest control methods without requiring harmful chemical inputs has become a priority among most farmers nowadays. Good thing is – a number of eco-friendly methods have been discovered to help protect garden plants from these toxic substances. These natural pest control practices are not only less expensive, they have been found to be safer for our health and the environment, too! To get rid of garden pests naturally, you may try the following:
- Parasitic nematodes. This refers to microscopic organisms that live underground and whose mission is to destroy pests. Beneficial nematodes tend to move through the soil, enter the body cavities of their targets (i.e. wire worms, cutworms, white grubs, weevils, etc.), and then release bacteria that kill it. They are completely safe for people, pets, and environment, and are even compatible with the other “good” bugs.
- Beneficial insects. Some of the creepy crawlers found to be excellent predators for pests like flies and aphids are ground beetles, lacewings, lady bugs, and tachinid flies. They are the sworn enemies of most harmful insects so just unleash these good bugs into your vegetable garden, and they will help fight the bad ones on your behalf.
- Farm birds. Chickens, ducks, and guinea fowls love to feed on Japanese beetles. During late spring, when the larvae of these damaging bugs are close to the soil surface, let these wild, insect-eating birds work over the area to finish them off.
- Sticky traps. These can be bought from garden supply stores or made at home just by using a rigid material (of a specific color) that’s coated with a sticky substance. First, you have to ensure that the material is of the appropriate hue as colors like white, yellow, red, and light blue each attracts a different group of pests. Second, wrap it in a plastic bag (to make it easier to remove the trapped insects), then third, cover the material in organic adhesive.
- DIY all-purpose spray. This insect spray contains a combination of the repellent effects of onion, garlic, and hot pepper along with the insecticidal and surfactant properties of soap. This is known to be especially effective in getting rid of leaf-eating garden pests. However, remember to apply only when absolutely needed as this can be fatal to your little garden friends like beneficial insects and pollinators.
Don’t wait for your garden to be swarmed with pests. Before they become a serious problem, consider the following eco-friendly pest control practices for your garden:
- Maintain soil health by planting your plants in the right place so they get sufficient sunlight, watering them properly, enriching the soil with mulch and compost, using only organic fertilizers.
- Use companion plants which are grown closely together and are interspersed with other plants to promote permaculture-like habitat.
- Applying other natural pest control methods like the use of silver reflective mulch which is a fairly new tool designed to keep birds and insects away and/or the application of neem oil to repel insects like aphids, ants, cockroaches, beetles, and caterpillar..