6 Natural Pest-Management Options for Your Backyard

Would you want to discourage backyard pests from damaging your crops with out harming your loved ones, your pets, or the setting? Bugs are unavoidable however you don’t want poisonous chemical compounds to maintain them away out of your flower or vegetable garden. As an alternative, use pure pest management strategies generally utilized by organic gardeners.

Let’s take a look at some pest management options you’ll be able to safely use in your natural backyard — their advantages, disadvantages, and different noteworthy data.

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Natural Pest Management Merchandise

Neem Oil

A naturally occurring pesticide, neem oil is obtained from the seeds of the neem tree. Its lively compound is azadirachtin, an ingredient that kills bugs and retains them from reproducing. Neem oil controls powdery mildew, aphids, rust, spider mites, whiteflies, and beetles. It may be used on houseplants, roses, fruits, greens, decorative bushes, shrubs, and flowers.

The product can be used as a fungicide.

Not all neem oil merchandise are certified organic. Be sure you solely use USDA certified organic neem oil merchandise in your natural backyard.

Neem oil

Disadvantages

  • Whereas it kills pests, neem oil also can hurt some soft-bodied beneficial insects. Apply the answer solely onto plant surfaces, in a roundabout way into the soil.
  • Neem oil might be harmful when ingested by infants or small children, typically inflicting diarrhea, vomiting, or seizures.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is made out of fossilized skeletons of microscopic aquatic organisms. Their skeletons are product of silica, a pure substance that makes up a part of Earth’s crust.

This natural pest management technique works at a microscopic stage, appearing like tiny items of glass that kill bugs when utilized instantly on the crops. The sharp particles minimize soft-body bugs like aphids and caterpillars inflicting them to dehydrate and ultimately die. Diatomaceous earth additionally works on hard-bodied bugs like cockroaches, fleas, and beetles when the silica finds its method into the bug’s joints.

Diatomaceous Earth

Disadvantages

  • The sharp edges that kill roaches and beetles will even kill bugs we depend on to pollinate our gardens, equivalent to ladybugs, bees, and butterflies. Keep away from utilizing it on and close to flowers and crops the place pollinators can be visiting.
  • Diatomaceous earth might be harmful to people, irritating your nasal passages. It might additionally dry out and irritate your pores and skin and eyes.

Corn Gluten Meal

Extension brokers at Cornell University suggest utilizing corn gluten meal to inhibit the germination of weeds, noting it additionally wards off pests that feed on herbs. Corn gluten meal is innocent to people.

It could take a few weeks, however corn gluten meal is a pure technique to management ants in your backyard. These tiny critters take the crumbs to their nests and eat, however they can’t digest them.

Issues to notice

  • Many gardeners confuse corn gluten meal with cornmeal. The cornmeal in your pantry won’t stop weeds. Corn gluten meal is a byproduct created when making cornmeal.
  • Extension brokers on the Oregon State University dispute Cornell’s claims about its skill to manage weeds, however they discovered it makes a wonderful fertilizer.

Floating Row Covers

Floating row covers product of polypropylene- or polyester-based material, easy plastic covers, or canvas tarps assist management aphids, thrips, cabbage worms, squash bugs, and different pests. In addition they deter squirrels, rabbits, birds, and different critters. The covers create a windbreak and retain warmth whereas letting within the water, air, and light-weight the crops have to survive.

Floating row covers additionally assist management:

  • Caterpillars on broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage
  • Maggots on corn and beans
  • Beetles that prefer to munch on eggplants, cabbage, potatoes, and cucumbers

Issues to notice

  • Light-weight covers don’t want supportive poles, are the least costly, and are appropriate for house gardens.
  • Medium-weight covers assist crops mature quicker. They’re greatest for lettuce, carrots, radishes, and candy corn.
  • Heavyweight covers defend towards frosts and freezes.

Helpful Nematodes

To not be confused with non-beneficial nematodes that can hurt your crops, beneficial nematodes are microscopic, non-segmented roundworms that can kill soil-dwelling bugs or bugs of their larvae or grub stage. They don’t hurt earthworms, however assault pests like Japanese beetle larvae, cutworms, root maggots, and grubs.

Beneficial nematodes will provide you with greatest leads to small gardens since you will need to apply the right amount at the right time to ensure that them to work. Apply them too early within the season, and also you run the chance of them dying if the bottom temperature drops too low. Apply them too late, and also you threat the warmth killing them. The nematodes must be utilized to the soil when pests are current within the soil.

Nematoids
Helpful nematodes are tiny roundworms that kill bugs of their larvae or grub stage. Supply: CSIRO, CC BY 3.0, by way of Wikimedia Commons

Disadvantages

  • Helpful nematodes are a biological pest control technique that can take longer to work than chemical pesticides. Chances are you’ll not see a lower within the pest inhabitants till two weeks after the applying, and you might have to reapply the nematodes to your backyard each seven to 10 days.
  • Since nematodes live creatures, they’ve a restricted shelf life and have to be stored at a cool temperature.
  • You should apply the species of nematode that’s the appropriate dimension for the pest you’re controlling.
  • Nematodes can die from publicity to daylight or from drying out within the warmth. Apply them within the morning or night time when the soil is cool and moist

Mom Nature Is aware of Finest

Companion Planting

Companion planting is the observe of rising sure crops collectively for the good thing about one or each of the crops. Some crops assist repel pests or lure pests away from different crops. Some present meals for sure bugs that management pests. Both method, companion planting helps you management backyard pests with out the necessity for pesticides.

What sort of pests do you will have? There’s prone to be at the least one herb or flower that deters that pest. For instance,

  • Marigolds appeal to bugs that kill aphids. Alliums and petunias additionally maintain aphids away.
  • Marigolds and petunias additionally repel leafhoppers, asparagus beetles, tomato hornworms, and squash bugs. Plant petunias subsequent to basil and your tomato crops.
  • Nasturtiums and chrysanthemums beat back aphids, beetles, ants, and cabbage loopers.
  • Carnivorous crops, equivalent to pitcher crops, lure and eat bugs. These crops have advanced to avoid consuming beneficial pollinators.
  • Garlic and onions repel tomato worms. Tangy chives are additionally good to develop alongside tomatoes and carrots.
Pepper companion planting
Companion planting with pepper plant. Supply: Kazvorpal, CC BY-SA 3.0 by way of Wikimedia Commons

Not all bugs and bugs are dangerous on your backyard; many are pollinators which might be important to the survival of the crops. Through the use of pure pest-control strategies like companion planting, you’ll be able to deter undesirable bugs with out harming you, the planet, or the useful animals and insects that assist your natural backyard flourish.

Need extra pure pest-control suggestions? Try Bug Off (Naturally)! 7 Nontoxic Pest Control Remedies

In regards to the Writer

Todd MichaelsTodd Michaels is a conservationist with levels in biology and botany. He writes about eco-friendly landscaping and recycling efforts across the nation.

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