Organic Pest Control: Keep bugs out, the natural way

Organic Pest Control: Keep bugs out, the natural way
Before using chemicals to rid your garden of pests, consider using natural pest control, which is safer for your garden, yourself and your family. Natural pest control methods also ensure that ‘good’ insects are not killed off in an indiscriminate dousing of pesticide.

Keeping ‘good’ insects alive in your garden is important because many of them naturally prey on harmful pests. Examples of these helpful bugs include the ladybug, praying mantis and certain types of wasps. 

Non-toxic and homemade remedies for garden pests are cheaper, safer, and easy to make at home. Many of these recipes include noxious ingredients like stinging nettles, cayenne pepper or garlic, which are diluted with water and then sprayed onto plants where pests reside. 

For soft-bodies pests, such as slugs, sprinkling an ingredient called diatomaceous earth over and around flowerbeds can kill pests. This ingredient works through its small, sharp particles that are harmful to the exoskeletons of soft-bodied pests.

To kill insect groups like mites, mealybugs or aphids, mix a few drops of Ivory soap with a tablespoon of canola oil into 900ml of water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle after shaking well, and simply spray the infected plants from roots to tip. Remember to spray on the underside of leaves too. The spray kills these pests by blocking their access to air with the oil.  

A natural remedy for grubs, which are the larvae of beetles that tend to destroy plant matter, is called milky spore powder, which can be bought from local gardening shops or nurseries. Milky spore, when spread over soil, cause grubs to catch a disease that destroys them and has the added benefit of only being harmful to the grub pest, thereby leaving helpful insects unharmed. A single treatment of milky spore can lay dormant in the soil for up to 40 years, and will become active whenever grubs come into contact with it.