Every healthy eco system, including your backyard, should have insects. By removing the unwanted pests, you also get rid of the beneficial creatures and create more problems than you actually solve. The chemicals kill vital microorganisms that help aerate the soil and enrich the land nutrients. On the other hand, plants sprayed with pesticides are deprived of certain nutrients. Organic garden pest control may sound like an impossible task, but it’s not. With the right preventive measures and eco-friendly methods, you can keep the bad bugs away from your site.
Beneficial Insects and Other Helpful Wildlife
According the qualified gardening experts beneficial insects are a must in every organic garden. Praying mantis, lady bugs, some spiders, certain types of nematodes, lacewings and even wasps can take care of your pest problems.
- Chalcids, Barchonids and Ichneumon Wasps – eliminate leaf eating caterpillars. Attract them by planting celery, carrots, parsley and caraway. These crops are easy to grow and should be left to flower to attract the insects.
- Ladybugs – these insects consume mites, aphids and whiteflies. You can invite them in your site by planting yarrow, tansy and members of the daisy family.
- Lacewings – these bugs can help you get rid of the aphids and their larva, as well as other varieties of insect pests. Lacewings are attracted to “composite” flowers like goldenrod, asters, black-eyed Susans and yarrow.
- Praying Mantis – these bugs have appetite for most garden pests.
- Hover-flies – like lacewings, hover-flies love “composite” flowers and feed on aphids and their larva.
Companion planting is another way to fight the pests in your garden. Some plants can repel the insects with their strong scent. For example, basil can protect your tomatoes, while garlic will drive off the aphids from your greenery. Permaculture gardening is a great way to use your space more effectively by cropping diverse plants in a smaller place and protect your greenery without pesticides.
Hand-picking is a time-consuming, yet effective and eco-friendly method to get rid of the insects. Look up the underside of the leaves and remove the bugs manually. Spare a couple of minutes each day to practice this organic pest control technique and you will prevent most infestations.
Sticky traps work on the same principle as the fly paper. They attract the insects with scent and colour and trap them on the sticky surface. Use them at the beginning of the gardening season. Sticky traps are very convenient and can be thrown away afterwards.
Soapy or Oily Water
Water combined with soap or oil can suffocate pests like aphids. You can safely use the mixture around beneficial insects. Keep the solution in a spray bottle and apply when needed, especially after rain. The downside is that sun exposure can cause burn spots on the sprayed leaves. Use the mixture on the undersides.
Copper and Salt
If your garden experiences slug problems then this is the best solution for you. Get copper strips and place them around plants, garden beds or the edges of containers. Slugs avoid the copper and will stay away from your precious greenery. Salt also kills slugs, but it can be bad for the soil and unhealthy for the plants.