Having a home garden takes hard work and dedication. You have to plan out which plants and vegetables you want to grow, make sure your soil is compatible, and then nurture your plants as they grow. The result can be gratifying, but this accomplishment can be dashed when you notice tiny pests feeding on your plants and destroying the garden you so carefully put together. How do you protect your plants without using chemicals? You have many options if you want to practice natural garden pest control.
Natural Garden Pest Control
Depending on the type of pest you’re dealing with, there are different ways to correct your problem. From mosquito repellent plants to homemade pesticides to adding beneficial bugs to get the job done, home gardeners have many tools at their disposal.
Mosquito Repellent Plants
If you live where the climate stays warm for most of the year, mosquito season can last virtually all year. Although mosquitoes don’t directly threaten your garden, they are arguably the most annoying pests because they bite, leaving red, itchy welts on your skin. The good news is that there are plants you can add to your garden to keep mosquitoes away.
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
Does lemongrass repel mosquitoes? Yes! Citronella (lemongrass) is a lemon-scented grass that does best in large planters and is an active ingredient in some natural mosquito repellents. Remember that these plants can’t withstand frost, so they are best suited for warmer climates or containers that can be brought inside.
Lavender (Lavandula spica)
Lavender is a drought-resistant plant that has a beautiful fragrance. Its essential oils keep mosquitoes away while adding purple to your garden’s natural beauty.
Marigold (Tagetes erecta)
Marigolds are a beautiful addition to any garden and are easy to grow. They are golden-colored annual flowers that can be added to the borders of vegetable gardens or kept in pots near your entryways to deter mosquitoes with their smell.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil is a common household herb used for cooking that also makes an excellent mosquito repellent and even doubles as a fly repellent. This plant requires good drainage and lots of sunlight.
Homemade Pest Control Solutions
You may not want to use chemicals to treat pests in your yard or garden. You can make your homemade bug spray for vegetable plants using items you can find around your house.
Soap spray insecticide is best for ridding your garden of beetles, mites, aphids, and other plant-damaging pests. To make it, mix 1 ½ teaspoons of mild liquid soap with a quart of water, pour the liquid into a spray bottle, and spray the solution directly on affected plants.
Diatomaceous earth is made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms called diatoms. This powder can be sprinkled directly onto plants and around the edges of your garden bed to protect against earwigs, slugs, and other pests.
Neem oil spray is a powerful natural insecticide that can eliminate pests at any stage in their life cycle, including eggs and larvae. The great thing is that neem oil is biodegradable and safe for pets.
Another way to control lawn pests is to introduce beneficial bugs. You may be thinking, “I want to get rid of pests not add more!” That’s completely understandable, but remember that not all bugs are nasty. In fact, many bugs can benefit your garden and help you get rid of the pests ruining your plants and vegetables. Here are a few:
These tiny, red beetles have small black spots on their wings and help consume aphids, mealybugs, and other pests that damage your garden. They also lay their eggs among the aphids so that newborn larvae can feed on these pests.
Green Lacewings (Chrysoperla)
Adult lacewings are pale green, about one-inch long with four wings and shiny, golden eyes. In the larval stage, lacewings feed on small insects and insect eggs, but as adults, they only feed on nectar.
Predatory Stinkbugs (Linnaeus)
The large red spots on their black bodies make this species easily distinguishable from other stink bugs. Predatory stink bugs measure anywhere from 12-17 millimeters in length, with the females being more significant than the males. These stinkbugs prey on plant-damaging bugs; they feed on more than 100 species of insects and attack pests bigger than themselves by sucking the body fluids of their prey with a needle-like beak.
Dragonflies come in many sizes and can grow up to four inches long. They are giant, heavy-bodied insects that prey on midges, mosquitoes, moths, and other flying insects that may invade your garden. Sometimes they even eat spiders! The larvae, or nymphs, live in water and can catch and eat small fish such as bloodworms. Most dragonflies live about six months, but in some cases, more giant dragonflies live up to six or seven years. They do not bite and can even be held in your hand.
ABC Can Help With Your Outdoor Pests
We understand the hard work and dedication that goes into your yard and the frustration when pests undermine your efforts. If the do-it-yourself approach doesn’t work, it’s time to call in the experts. Call ABC Home & Commercial Services to let our professional pest control exterminators get rid of your lawn and garden pests so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.