Natural Pest Control for a Healthy Home and Garden
You may be asking how natural pest control can be effective when all you want to do is rid yourself of uninvited guests as quickly and painlessly as possible. The truth is that there are several tried and true natural and organic methods that you can use that will not harm you, your family or the environment. Best of all for you, using these safe pest control methods will cost you less in the long run.
Did you know that every year in the United States about 136 million pounds of toxic pesticides are dumped on lawns, gardens & in the home? These pesticides are responsible for most wildlife poisoning and surface water contamination. In fact, where we live it isn't uncommon to see dolphins in the river with horrible skin lesions caused by contamination. Knowing that, we knew that we could no longer contribute to that contamination, so now we have a non-toxic home and yard.
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So how do you control pests in a natural way? Following are some tips to help you get rid of those unwanted visitors:
It goes without saying that prevention is the best way keep pests away. The healthier your garden, the less vulnerable it is to unwelcome guests. Here are a few ways that you can enforce natural pest control through prevention:
Develop strong, healthy plants by building healthy, organic soil. Topping your soil with natural compost and fertilizer and adding mulch will keep your plants strong.
Try seaweed mulch or spray to give your plants the strength to resist pests and disease. Seaweed is full of trace elements that promote development and it also repels slugs.
Planting different plants together, or interplanting, is a great way to control pests. Pests are often plant specific, so when plants are mixed, pests are less likely to spread throughout your crop.
Rotating crops is a way if insuring that pests which have over-wintered in the bed, do not reinfest your plants.
Pull out any weak plants that you may have. If they haven't already been infected, they will attract predators. Once you pull the plant make sure you dispose of it away from the garden area.
Keep your garden clear of debris and weeds where insects can breed and make sure you use clean mulch.
Keep your foliage dry by watering early. Wet foliage encourages insects and fungal diseases to your plants. Try a drip irrigation method so the water is only delivered to the root system.
Be sure to disinfect your tools, especially if you've been working with infested plants. Plain rubbing alcohol is a great way t o disinfect. Also be sure to clean the tools before moving on to other areas.
Another way to get rid of unwanted pests in your garden is by using other insects! Welcoming beneficial insects into your garden that prey on harmful insects is a wonderful natural pest control method. Some you can attract yourself, and there are others that you can buy in catalogs. Here's a simple list of beneficial insects you can use in your garden:
Lady Bugs Ladybugs will eat aphids, mites, whiteflies and scale. You can attract them to your garden by planting carrots, celery, parsley or caraway and allowing them to flower (the flower attracts the insect). You can also buy ladybugs from some garden centers or in online catalogs.
Lacewings Lacewings and their larva consume aphids. They are attracted to black eyed susans, yarrow, asters and goldenrod. You can buy them online and release them into your garden.
Aphidoletes Aphidoletes are small midge flies that feed on over 60 species of aphids. You can buy them online and apply to plants 1 to 2 times a week for optimal natural pest control.
Beneficial Nematodes Beneficial Nematodes naturally occur in soil and are used to control soil pest insects and whenever larvae or grubs are present. They are great for controlling ants, grubs,Japanese beetles, sod webworms, Cut-worms, Army worms and over 200 other insects. You can buy them online or at most garden stores.
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