How to Control Garden Pests?
There is nothing worse than a pest, right? Whether they’re in the home or in your garden, they seem to be there for one reason, and one reason only – to irritate and spoil things.
When it comes to frustration levels, however, there often isn’t much worse than a garden pest. Think about it, you spend all year long caring for your garden, plants and produce – then in one singular night an army of hungry pests can appear and put all of that to waste.
And yet, it’s expected when it comes to the great outdoors. Pests are more likely to be found here than anywhere else.
So this really does beg the question, what is the best and most effective method of controlling garden pests?
Read on to find out more!
Why are Pests So Attracted to my Garden?!
Okay, so chances are if you’re having a few pest problems in your garden, you’ll be reaching the end of your tether somewhat. You might be left asking, why are they so attracted to my garden?!
Well, we’ve got news for you. Unfortunately, insects are attracted to all kinds of gardens. However, they thrive, more so than anywhere else, in gardens growing produce such as fruit and vegetables.
The difficult thing about this is, there isn’t really any way of stopping them altogether. Insects are always going to be attracted to these smells and kinds of produce, and therefore the art of getting rid of them is more commonly than not, down to trial and error. You might have to lose a few cabbages before you know what works best!
Luckily for you, however, we have some suggestions and further information coming right up below.
What are the Most Common Garden Pests?
First things first, you’ll want to know exactly what it is you’re looking at before knowing how to effectively deal with the pest in question. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, identification is often the best first step towards prevention.
Gardens will attracts pests of all different varieties, sizes, shapes, and even colours, all of which will be harmful in varying degrees of severity. Some insects – such as ladybirds – are actually welcome in your garden, as they actually prey on the bugs which are harmful to your produce!
This is why it’s so important to know which insects are likely to be destructive in your garden.
We’re going to list the main ones of these just below.
- APHIDS. You may not have heard of these before – and why would you? They’re green, tiny, and look harmless. However Aphids are known to jump from plant to plant and spread diseases.
- POTATO BEETLES. Potato beetles are large bugs, and are therefore easily identifiable. One of their prime giveaways, is their colouring – which is bright orange with black stripes. They will happily feed on potatoes – their name was probably a giveaway for this – eggplant, and even tomatoes.
- SNAILS AND SLUGS. You probably already know that snails and slugs feed on the leaves of plants, which of course, makes them detrimental to their growth. It even tends to kill them off quickly.
- CATERPILLARS. Remember the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Well, there was actually some truth in this fable. In the caterpillar phase of their lives, much like snails and slugs, they feed on leaves of plants in the garden. However, it’s well worth baring in mind that caterpillars, in time, transform into butterflies – and butterflies and moths can be very helpful to have in the garden. With that in mind, it’s probably worth deterring them from eating your plants, but not exterminating them entirely!
How Can I Identify the Garden Pest at Hand?
One of the biggest difficulties that garden enthusiasts face, is identifying what the garden pest causing the issue actually is. Unfortunately, we do not all have the experience and expertise of exterminators and pest specialists, but there are certain things we can do to help us identify the pest at hand.
It’s easy enough to start off using a few simple steps:
- Start by examining your plants closely.
- Are there any holes in the leaves, or in the produce itself?
- Do your plants look remotely unhealthy, despite the fact you care for them effectively? If so, look on the underside of leaves for any tell tale signs of bugs being there. This is not only where they eat, but where they hide too.
- Look at the ground surrounding your plants. Remember that some pests will attack the roots, and live under the ground. Yuck.
All of these steps will help you to root out – pardon the pun! – the source of the problem, and ultimately take the next steps in eliminating the pest.
Read on to find out our top tips on how to naturally get rid of garden pests!
Using Natural Remedies to Keep Your Garden Pests at Bay
The main issue with using chemical products and insecticides, is that they can actually cause harm to the produce that you’re attempting to grow.
Baring in mind that this is food that you grow organically and intend on eating, using chemical sprays and insecticides actually starts to defeat the point. Organic living is all about going chemical and plastic – free, so why would you want to spray your produce with harmful concoctions?
Well, luckily, we’re here with some natural remedies to help you with your garden pest control, without harming or contaminating the produce in the process.
Using Garlic Soap Spray
Okay, so this might sound a little bit like a method of warding off vampires, but actually, it’s a method that many home owners – and garden enthusiasts alike – swear by.
There is a method to creating the perfect garlic soap spray, and it’s extremely cheap and easy to do! It’s as easy as abiding by the following instructions.
- Start with four cups of water.
- Boil the four cups of water with garlic and one onion, and boil it.
- Bring the mixture to the boil.
- Once the mixture has cooled down, remove the garlic and onion.
- After this, add a table spoon of washing up liquid – natural is best – and stir it in.
All you need to do following this, is to funnel the formula into a spray bottle – but only do this once it has cooled down. Then you should simply spray your plants once thoroughly every few days, just until the infestation has gone away.
Using Pest Repellent Herbs
Herbs have been used for centuries for medicinal purposes, many of which we still use today – for example, did you know that lavender can ease anxiety and help you sleep, and garlic can help to keep infections away?
Well, keeping this in mind, herbs can also be used to repel pests from your garden. You can actually incorporate them into your garden and grow them yourself if you so desire – but if not it’s easy enough to purchase herbs in various states.
We would advise using the following herbs for the following pests:
- FENNEL. Fennel can be bought in oil form, or grown organically in your very own garden. This herb is particularly good at repelling snails, aphids, and slugs.
- ROSEMARY. Rosemary is particularly good at repelling snails and slugs.
- PEPPERMINT. Peppermint is particularly good at repelling cabbage moths and ants.
- DILL. Dill is particularly good at repelling potato beetles and cabbage loopers.
- SAGE. Sage is well known for being good at repelling various kinds of garden insects, so is well recommended by us!
Using a Hot Pepper Spray
Hot pepper spray is another healthy alternative to using chemicals and pesticides to spray your produce and repel pests.
One thing we will say about using hot pepper spray, is to avoid getting the ingredients in your eyes or in any open cuts because it will hurt. We would recommend wearing gloves!
The only ingredients you need to create an effective hot pepper spray are:
- Two cups full of hot peppers. A recommended variety would be habanero.
- One table spoon of cayenne pepper.
- One clove of garlic.
- Three table spoons of washing up liquid.
- Four gallons of water.
This pepper spray is best applied in the evening when the weather is cooler.
Using Eggshells as a Method of Garden Pest Control
Ever heard the expression “walking on eggshells?”. We’re going to guess that the answer to that would be yes, and it very much means to be cautious. Ultra – cautious. Which is what pests will want to be if you use eggshells as a method garden pest control.
It’s worth bearing in mind – and we’re sorry to say if they’re your main issue – that snails and slugs can be a lot more stubborn than other garden pests. Many people will use salt to exterminate the slimy critters, but actually, deterring them by using eggshells can be far more effective.
Slugs and snails can not handle rough texture on the ground. Therefore, making the entrance to your garden or vegetable patch “rough” is a prime method of stopping them from entering in the first place. like we always say – prevention is often the best solution!
It might sound cruel, but you’re doing it for the good of your produce. Effectively, it’s like using barbed wire fencing for security. The egg shells are far too sharp for the slugs and snails to slither over – meaning they won’t have access to your garden goods at all!
Another great plus to using egg shells, is that they break down with time. In doing this, they add valuable vitamins and minerals into the ground, which is good for your plants, and they’ll definitely enjoy.
If you’re not on board with the eggshell method, then ground coffee can be just as good a deterrent for slugs and snails – and it’s something the vast majority of us will have in our houses anyway. Coffee grounds also do not harm your plants, and of course, don’t contain any dangerous chemicals. Plus it can benefit your soil. We call that a win – win – win!
Calling an Exterminator – is it a Good Idea?
If you notice that you’ve got a pest problem, then it’s a good idea to try natural preventatives and methods before doing anything else. Not only is it healthier for your plants, but for your bank accounts too.
However, in some cases where the pest infestations are more extreme, it can be difficult to do it yourself. If you’ve tried the above home methods, and they haven’t worked, then now might be the right time to call an exterminator, or a professional pest control expert.
The good news about doing this, is that they will be able to identify the cause and therefore come up with the most effective solution instantly – regardless of what the infestation is.
The down side, is that they’re likely to have to use pesticides and chemicals. Furthermore, it’ll cost you. the average cost to hire an expert is around the $210 mark, with the vast majority of homeowners spending somewhere between $130 and $200.
As you can see above, growing fruit and vegetable gardens can be a task, and can take a lot of work. Particularly when it comes to keeping them safe from harm – as in from the pests!
In order to maintain your plants and produce, you must water them regularly, and look after them. By using our DIY methods, you should be able to prevent them being damaged by critters, and ultimately be able to keep them away. As we always say, prevention is, more often than not, the best solution!
Remember that gardening should be enjoyable, and your produce should give you something back. It’s a hobby to be enjoyed, and should never be spoilt by pests – so long as you keep a close eye and deal with them accordingly.
We hope that today we’ve been able to help you to better understand how to control garden pests, in the safest and most natural way.
Thanks for reading!
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