Natural Solutions to Pest Control
Prevention is going to be your best way to keep the pests at bay. Practicing good husbandry techniques that keep your plants healthy will help deter or at least help them cope successfully with infestations without needing any intervention from you. Some basic steps you can take regarding good husbandry include:
- Make sure your plants are properly spaced and given lots of room- that includes in containers.
- Mulching can be a great way to keep plants healthy.
- Plant vegetables and fruits that are resistant to common diseases. Many insect pests only become problems when a plant is sick.
- Keep your plants properly watered and fed. Weak plants become easy prey for insects.
- Practice crop rotation, companion planting, and good pruning techniques.
- Plant robust, well grown and well started plants only. Use only the best seed.
Natural Bug Killers
Sometimes despite your best efforts, you need natural ways to kill pests. Believe it or not, there are just a few products you can make at home that can do a wide range of damage, without being damaging. Here are some ideas:
- Insecticidal soap is simple to make and kills many common and annoying pests, such as spider mites, aphids, Japanese beetles, white flies, mealybugs, and many others. It’s extremely effective. To make your own insecticidal soap, simply combine 1 tablespoon dawn dish soap with 1 table spoon canola oil in one gallon of water. Pour some of your mix into a spray bottle and spray directly onto the bugs. In this concentration, it’s not harmful to plants- but still be careful spraying insecticidal soap onto plants like cacti and succulents.
- Pepper oil used as a spray is another very effective spray for most all bugs. Mix two tablespoons of pepper oil and one tablespoon of Dawn into one quart of water and use it as a spray as well.
- Ladybugs can be used in the garden to eliminate insect pests, such as aphids.
- For grubs that are in the ground, a product called milky spore will kill them. It comes as a granule that you spread in the soil, and contains a bacterium that kills grubs.
- Diatomaceous earth works to kill most all soil dwelling bugs and their larvae. It comes in powder form and works as a treatment but is best used as a preventative.
- Traps are another solution. The beer in a shallow dish works to kill slugs. Yellow fly paper, apple maggot traps, and covering your crops to keep bugs out are other natural methods of stopping insect damage.
If all else fails and you have the space and desire, consider getting a few ducks, chickens, or guinea hens.
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