How to Control Garden Pests
Garden pests are a constant menace. It’s one thing we have to live with. After all the effort you put in your garden and it’s ripe with fruits, flowers, and vegetables, along come the pesky garden pests.
Here’s how you can control the unwelcome arrival of garden pests.
1. Introduce Beneficial Insects
Not all insects can be classified as garden pests. Some are harmless, even beneficial to your garden. How? These insects prey on other bugs that harm your plants, helping to eliminate garden pests.
Examples of beneficial insects are ladybugs, lacewings, and soldier beetles.
You can attract these beneficial bugs and insects by planting flowers in your garden.
2. Plant Pest-Repelling Herbs and Flowers
Most garden pests don’t like strong scents. So when you plant heavily scented flowers and herbs, it irritates such pests, driving them away without much effort on your part.
You can plant aromatic flowers and herbs in small pots and place them throughout your garden. These pest-repelling plants will not harm your garden.
Some examples of pest-repelling herbs and flowers you can plant include:
3. Floating Row Covers
Floating row covers are white polyester fabrics you erect over your plants to serve as barriers to some common garden pests. They also prevent adult pests from laying eggs on your plants or in the soil.
What’s great about using floating row covers to control garden pests is you can use them in all seasons.
In addition, floating row covers don’t hinder sunlight from reaching your plants.
4. Crop Rotation
Crop rotation means planting different types of crops in your garden. It’s a highly effective management method that brings various benefits to a farm.
When you plant different crop types, garden pests accustomed to eating only one type of plant are forced to leave the garden or die off when their source of food is cut off.
Crop rotation also enhances soil tilth, nutrients, and physical properties. It also helps fight weeds better.
5. Companion Planting
Companion planting is a common gardening method where you plant certain plants close to each other. These plants can act as natural barriers to pests.
A good example of companion planting is planting radishes next to lettuce. Earth flies, which attack lettuce, are repelled by radishes.
6. Improve Your Garden Soil
Improving the quality of your garden soil is one of the best methods you can use to counter common garden pests. One way to improve your garden soil is by mixing it with compost.
Compost contains nutrients that make the soil healthy, thus attracting the good bugs and insects that prey on garden pests. In addition, the plants get the necessary nutrients that help them to be less vulnerable to pests.
This is the most common type of garden pest control you can use. It involves the use of either organic or synthetic compounds (pesticides) to eliminate pests.
Pesticides can be in the form of liquid, solid, or aerosol (gas). Some examples of pesticides include:
- Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt)
- Diatomaceous earth
- Insecticidal soap
The disadvantage of using this method is that you can affect the surrounding plants and vegetation. Children, pets, and sometimes even adults are no longer safe anywhere near the garden. That’s because pesticides are often toxic, and depending on the strength, some are incredibly harmful.
Some pesticides can be homemade. A good example is garlic spray—a super plant when it comes to pest control.
To make a garlic spray, crush garlic, mix it with water, and spray it on plants. It has a powerful scent that is unbearable to common garden pests.
The advantage of using garlic spray is your pets and children are safe near the plants as it has no harmful effect.
8. Essential Oils
Just like garlic sprays, essential oils are the bane of common garden pests. They are natural, and you can mix them or use them separately.
9. Remove Weeds and Use Mulch
Although using pesticides is a much more effective and comprehensive method of controlling garden pests, removing weeds and mulching is another approach. It’s a simple and easy method of controlling garden pests.
By removing weeds in your garden and mulching, you prevent potential pests’ breeding grounds from forming. You see, garden pests also like to take shelter in weeds. Also, mulching prevents weeds from growing.
Removing weeds and mulching provides a more hands-on approach to controlling garden pests.
You can use the weeds you remove to make compost.
10. Remove by Hand
Some garden pests are easier to handle in that they’re easy to identify, and you can easily remove them by hand. This is a good and fast method as the garden pests offer little resistance.
Common garden pests that you can easily remove by hand are caterpillars, slugs, Japanese beetles, and tomato hornworms.
This method best works during the evening when the sun is setting. It is at this time these pests come out to feed.
11. Use Fences, Barriers, and Traps
Fences and barriers are a more direct method of controlling larger garden pests. Such pests are usually periodic invaders that attack and destroy your garden then leave. Some of them don’t even feed on your plants.
You can use electric fences to ward off big garden pests or install mesh wires to keep off the smaller pests.
Examples of larger common garden pests you can keep off using these methods are raccoons, moose, skunks, and squirrels. For smaller squirrels and skunks, you can trap them in cages since they are likely to pass over fences.
Common garden pests can be a nuisance, but you can control and even get rid of them by employing the methods mentioned above. Some of these ways to control common garden pests can be supplemented or combined for more significant results, of course, depending on your location, garden size, and what type of pests have invaded your garden.