3 Organic Ways to Control Insects In Your Garden

Controlling your garden pests is easy with natural pest control. Natural pest controls allow your plants to grow in natural harmony with nature. Even though the insect eats your plants they are a crucial part of the system. When finding insects in your garden, take time to watch what they are doing. Are the insects destroying your plants or just nibbling? Healthy plants can outgrow minor damage. Insect normally attacks stressed out plants. Look around the area of the stressed out plants and determine if you have enough healthy one to spare the sickly ones. Can you restore the sickly plants and bring them back to health so they can resist insect attacks? The best defense against insect attack is to take preventative measures. Follow these preventative measures to control the insects in your garden.

1. Preventative Measures:

Grow plants best suited for the area you live in and they’ll be less stressed out. Do not let your plants be too wet, too dry, or receive too much shade. Plan your garden, so that insects of a particular plant won’t infest an entire section of your garden. Healthy soil conditions produce healthy plants that are resistant to insects and disease.

2. Sprays and Powders:

  • Insecticidal soap is made from sodium or potassium salts and combined with fatty acids. When using the soap spray both sides of the leaves and all crevices. Soap sprays only kill insects that are sprayed directly. Repeat the application every five to seven days to control aphids and whiteflies hatching. Do not spray insecticidal soap around tomatoes and pea plants. The spray will damage the plants. Pay attention to spraying the soap on leafy greens, which tend to pick up a soapy taste.
  • Bacterial spray known as Bacillus thuringiensis is a stomach poison that releases toxins in the stomachs of insects. This causes the insect to stop eating and starve to death. The product is available in powder form that you dust on the plant. The dust must be eaten by the targeted insect.
  • Neem spray is made from the seed kernels of the neem tree fruit. Spray on the plant leaves to upset the insect’s hormonal system and prevent it from developing into its mature stage. Neem spray is most effective on immature insects and species that undergo complete metamorphosis.
  • Horticultural Oil is made from refined petroleum oil and mixed with water. Mix in spray bottle and coat both sides of the leaves. The spray coats and suffocates the insects and disrupts their feeding.
  • Rotenone and Pyrethrum are made from the roots of tropical legumes. Normally comes in powder form that is dusted onto the plants. The powder inhibits the cellular process and deprives the insect of oxygen to their tissue cells. 

3. Animals and Bugs:

Inviting different animals and bugs into your garden becomes your best friend for pest control. Birds, ladybugs and praying mantises control the insects in your garden. Encourage birds into your garden by hanging feeders, birdhouses, and a birdbath.

Ladybugs are sold by the pint, quart, or gallon at most local nurseries. An average sized garden needs less than a quart that contains 25 to 30 thousand ladybugs. The average adult ladybug consumes 40 to 50 aphids each day.

Praying mantis can be purchased at your local nursery in cases. One praying mantis hatches up to 400 young. The praying mantis disappears from the garden rapidly and it is recommended to purchase 2 or 3 cases to begin with. The praying mantis will eat any insect they can catch.

Inviting frogs and lizard to your garden controls the pest in your garden. The frogs and lizard eat the insects in your garden. Plant small blossom plants like Sweet Alyssum and dill. The plants attract predatory insect that feed on the flowers’ nectar between attacks on insects.

Organic pest control is the preferred approach to chemicals. Create a healthy biodiversity garden so the insects and microbes will control themselves. Using natural product and building a healthy soil is the best long term treatment for insects in your garden.

*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.

Julie Sinclair

Julie Sinclair

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