Pest Control

Natural Ways To Control Pests & Insects

Don’t you get irritated when you see those pests munching and damaging your hard earned produce? Having a garden of fruits and vegetables means you are constantly pestered by unwanted guests like bugs and insects and most of us think that the best solution to ward them off is to make use of pesticides. Using pesticides are a good option as far as pests are concerned but it’s not a good option when our health and environment is taken into consideration. So for those who are concerned about soil quality and health you should probably shift from chemical pesticides to homemade made ones.

To discern more regarding homemade pesticides, go through the following segments:

  • Homemade pesticides and its working mechanism
  • Benefits of homemade pesticides
  • Certain homemade pesticide recipes which you can try
  • Precautions while using homemade pesticides
  • Companion planting to control pests
  • Simple tactics for controlling pests in your garden
  • Conclusion
Credits: http://www.eco-mothering.com/
Credits: http://www.eco-mothering.com/

Homemade pesticides and how does it work

If you are Wondering how to get rid of pests in a natural way rather than using chemicals and harmful pesticides then start using items from your own pantry and make excellent natural pesticides. Pesticides are used to kill organisms like weeds, insects or microorganisms that cause diseases. Natural pesticides are derived from organisms or natural sources that are usually made for their own defense. Using pesticides not only kills insects but also reduces nutritional value and quality of the produce so using homemade ones is a better option. Homemade pesticides are easy to make and store as all the ingredients are readily available at your own home which are free of toxins.

The working mechanisms of homemade pesticides are very simple; some do the work of controlling pests by using their smell like garlic and rhubarb. Pests cannot stand the smell of these substances and they just flee from the site as soon as possible. Some plants like marigold give off natural odors which most of the insects as well as mosquitoes cannot tolerate so it’s a good idea to grow such plants nearby. You can also make use of heat, fumes, natural oils and even soaps to repel insects.

Benefits of homemade pesticides

Maintains Soil quality

Healthy soil is a prerequisite for growing healthy foods and crops so if we treat them with harmful chemicals and pesticides, the end result will be poor dirt quality. Nowadays, most of the cultivators are turning their face of chemical substances and are looking for natural methods to treat pests and insects. Homemade pesticides go smooth on soils without harming their quality. For example, using garlic sprays will not cause any dreadful effects on soil but it will add to its nutrient pool.

Animal friendly

Using chemical fertilizers will pose problems for animals as well as birds by contaminating their natural habitats. For example, when DDT was used in large scale for farming purposes, it adversely affected the brown pelican population. The chemical compounds in DDT had a negative impact on the calcium metabolism of brown pelicans which resulted in weak eggs as their shells lacked calcium. So like this case many examples unmistakably point towards the usage of chemical pesticides which are not so animal friendly. On the other hand, using homemade pesticides are mostly safe and do not cause any dreadful effects on the habitats or animals. Planting marigolds or using natural oils to ward off pests will no way cause any harm to other creatures.

Safe for youngsters and pets

Homemade pesticides do not emit any toxins or harmful substances which are unsafe for pets and children since majority of the homemade pesticides make use of natural ingredients readily available at our own houses. Natural bug killers used are borax, diatomaceous earth or even certain plants and these do not cause any harm to kids or pets that walk around the garden most of the time doing something or the other. You can freely relax with no worries compared to that of using chemical pesticides.

Positive impact on Environment

Using homemade pesticides do not contribute to global warming or climate change like those of chemical pesticides. Homemade pesticides are made of natural substances and they easily mix up with the soil without causing any mismatch. Chemical pesticides are largely one of the reasons which contribute towards green house gases, ozone depletion, acid rains and serious ailments. If we start making a change by using homemade pesticides we would actually be doing a favor to the environment as well as ourselves.

Conserves water quality

Spraying chemical pesticides in farms or individual gardens may be a good idea to ward off pests but in reality they end up killing all that comes in their way. They get washed away by rains and mix with rivers and other water bodies killing fishes and other aquatic animals. There are many cases reported around the world regarding water contamination due to use of pesticides and many have started organic ways to kill pests so that they don’t create problems to the water bodies. While working in individual gardens it is better to use homemade pesticides as they will be safe and will not contaminate wells or water bodies nearby. They help to maintain the quality of water thereby preventing serious ailments which can otherwise occur due to toxins.

Easy on pocket

Homemade pesticides are really easy on the pocket as they make use ingredients which are very cheap unlike those costly and harmful chemicals. Getting garlic gloves or marigold plants or even natural oils like eucalyptus is just a cake walk. When things can be done in a cheap way then why to rely on harmful substances?

Readily available

Homemade pesticides are easily available at your own pantry or even from local grocery shops. You will need few apparatus like sprayers or mixers which are already a part of our store rooms. Making and using homemade pesticides are an easy task as it requires no expertise.

Healthy produce

Using homemade pesticides are relatively safer and better options than chemical pesticides. You will get fresh produces which are toxin free and which are highly packed with nutrients.

Certain all purpose homemade pesticide recipes which you can try:

Pesticide Recipes using chilly:

  • Take 2 cups of fresh chilies’ or one cup of dried chilies’ and two cups of water, blend them well and spray fresh to get rid of caterpillars.
  • Take 500 grams of ripe chilly pods and place them in a vessel filled with water and allow decomposing for a week. Strain the liquid and dissolve 30 grams of potash based soap (do not use detergents or powders which contain caustic soda). Use a spray to sprinkle the mixture evenly on leaves and stem surfaces so that you can get rid of aphids, caterpillars and other bugs.
  • Grind dried chilies’ into dust form and sprinkle around the base of the plants to get rid of ants, snails and other pests.
  • Blend one cup of fresh chilies’ and one cup of wormwood into 6 cups of water and boil them. Strain the liquid after cooling and bottle it. You can spray this liquid on plants to get rid of possums, snails, rabbits and slugs. It kills certain insects like aphids and flies.

Note: Make sure you don’t overdo the quantities of chilies’ used as too much can cause harm to the plants.

Pesticide Recipes using garlic:

  • Take 10 minced cloves and soak them in 2 tablespoon of mineral oil for a day. Later strain out the garlic and add 1 tablespoon dish wash soap and 3 cups of water. Use a bottle and spray it well on plants to do away with aphids, spiders and whiteflies.
  • For killing ants, caterpillars and cabbage worms you can just mix four garlic cloves in one litre of cold water for few days and blend them well before using. Spray them on ant colonies and plants on a weekly basis to get rid of these pests.
  • Grind garlic cloves and red peppers to make a paste. Later add them to hot boiling water and brew it. Strain the liquid after cooling and spray in it your garden as well as indoor plants.

Other recipes which you can try at your home are as follows:

  • Milk spray: If you are worried about powdery mildew affecting your plants then milk spray can help you out. All you need to do its mix 500 grams of dried milk to 4L of water and spray it on plants when the sun is at its peak may be afternoon. Powdery mildew is nothing but white colour powdery substances (basically fungi) which accumulate on plants and leaves there by hindering photosynthesis as well as sucking out the nutrients from plant cell walls. To know more about Powdery mildew, you can visit this site: http://www.growveg.com/growblogpost.aspx?id=242.
  • Coriander spray: Fed up trying to shoo away spider mites and aphids then you must try this coriander spray. This is very easy to make and use. Just mix a part of coriander plant with equal amount of water and boil it for 10 minutes. Later after cooling strain it and spray on plants and soil. Additionally you can add soap flakes or coconut oil to make it stick better.
  • Onion spray: Take an unpeeled chopped onion and mix it in a blender so that everything gets grinded well and to it add 1 cup of water and blend again. Now take this mixture and pour it in a bucket filled with 1 litre water. After mixing well you can use this spray against aphids and red spider mites.
  • Marigold Spray: Pour boiling soapy water over marigold flowers and leave it overnight. Next morning you can strain it and use it for spraying.
  • Rhubarb Spray: Boil one kilogram of rhubarb leaves in a pot for half an hour then cool it for some time. To this mixture add soap flakes and bit of coconut oil so to make it sticky and lathery. Use this mixture to fight against pests in the soil as well as plants.
  • White cedar spray: Take a bucket full of boiling water and to it add white cedar leaves and allow cooling for some time. After few hours you will notice that the liquid has turned into pale brown colour if not add more white cedar leaves. You have to make sure that you don’t inhale the steam or store this mixture for a long time. This is very effective against most of the pests that harm your garden.
  • Wood ash: sprinkling wood ash around the base of the plants will help to keep away pests like slugs and snails as it contains substances which irritate the insects. Apply the wood ash evenly without any gaps so that it will stand as an effective barrier.
  • Condies crystals: also known as potassium permanganate can be used to repel aphids and snails. Mix 30 grams of potassium permanganate with 9 L of water and 30 ml of petroleum oil. Spray this mixture undiluted to get effective results.
  • Fine clay: Mix fine clay in water and blend it well. Spray this mixture on leaves and other parts thoroughly. This mixture actually works by suffocating the insects or pests and either kills or wards them off.
  • Chamomile tea: Dip chamomile tea bags in hot water (one tea bag for a cup) and allow them to cool. After cooling take the mixture and spray it without diluting. This is known as a mild fungicide.
  • Tomato leaf spray: mix 2 cups of tomato leaves with 4 cups of water and let it stand overnight. The next day you can dilute it with few cups of water and spray it on plants to get rid of spider mites.
  • Simple Soap Spray: mix one table spoon of dish washing soap to one gallon water and use it as a spray against wide variety of insects like aphids, mites, thrips, snails and slugs.
  • Beer: Get them drink this happily and drown them. This is mainly intended for slugs as they are attracted towards yeast. Make sure that you pour beer on a can and place it at least 1 inch deep inside the soil so that slugs have to crawl down to enter it. If you keep it on the surface slugs will drink and just pass of to munch on the plants. If you place it deep then they will drink and drown to death.
  • Boiling water: Pour boiling water over weeds growing on the sidewalks and crevices. Weeds cannot stand this hot water treatment and tend to stop growing.

Precautions while using homemade pesticides

  1. The ingredients used should be added only in required quantities else it might harm the plants.
  2. Wear masks and gloves while applying the sprays as well as while preparing the mixtures.
  3. Wash and clean yourself after working with homemade pesticides.
  4. Keep the mixtures out of reach of children and pets.
  5. Do not rub your eyes or skin after coming in contact with the mixtures.
  6. Make sure you are not sensitive to to any of the constituents in the homemade pesticides and choose accordingly.
  7. Do not smell them or taste as it is only intended to ward off pests.
  8. Be careful while using indoors.
  9. If you develop any kind of irritation or discomfort make sure get some medical help.
  10. Do not experiment yourself with different ingredients.

Companion planting to control pests

Nature has its own ways to protect it and it is sometimes better to leave it to the nature to take care of itself. We are more like the bugs and insects pestering with the soil quality and the environment. We have been harming them constantly for decades until now as we have started suffering from its aftereffects. Presently most of us are understating the value of environment and its impact on the human race so we are more concerned about protecting it rather than destroying it. Here in this section I would like to discuss about companion planting and how it can be used to control pests.

What is companion planting?

This is also known as inter-planting method which was used thousands of years ago across the Asian continent and the Americas. It is simple and an ancient method in which different plant species are planted in closeness so as to enhance many factors like

  • Supporting each other
  • Enhance mutual growth
  • Attracting pollinating agents
  • Controlling pests
  • Suppressing weeds
  • Adding flavors
  • Maximizes garden room

Inter-planting is used by many to get rid of pests and insects by disguising the host plants. There are many plants and flowers which can be grown in combination with others so as to curtail and control pest population. Here is a list of few examples which you can try out in your garden.

  • Artemisia – this plant helps to repel insects like ants, cabbage maggots, carrot flies, moths, beetles as well as mice. It is also said to have a mild antiseptic effect and it can be used to plant along with lemon balm, rue and sweet pea.
  • Basil – this can be grown between tomato plants and you can get rid of carrot flies, mosquitoes and asparagus beetles.
  • Chrysanthemums – white flowers are known to drive away insects like Japanese beetles, ticks, fleas, bed bugs, nematodes and this can be grown along with tomato plants.
  • Potato plants, marigolds, garlic, savory – you can plant any of these along with beans and get rid of bean beetles.
  • Mint, thyme, onions and sage – you can use these for controlling pests like cabbage worms in cabbage, broccoli or even cauliflower.
  • Marigolds, radishes and catnip – these help you to ward of pests like aphids and beetles thereby giving protection to cucumber plants.

So these were few examples of companion plants which can be used as an effective to way to get rid of pests. If you wish to know more about different plants and varieties which can be used in a similar manner you can visit this site: http://www.windcrestorganics.com/CompanionPlants.html#pests

Simple tactics for controlling pests in your garden

  1. Before pounding into any homemade pesticide decide what you need and use only those which are necessary. Do not overdo anything.
  2. Never use detergent or other acid based powders to homemade pesticides as it may cause the leaves to burn. Only make use of mild soaps or wetting agents.
  3. Clean out weak plants as they may be infected already and will be an attraction to predators.
  4. Try natural composting methods to top dress your soil so that plants can develop and thrive in healthy and organic soils.
  5. Keep your garden clean by removing all debris and unwanted weeds which are otherwise breeding spots for insects.
  6. Practice companion planting or even rotate crops rather than just going with one crop all time. Mixing or rotating crops will help to control pests to a large extent.
  7. Use disinfectants to clean the garden tools so that you won’t be infecting other garden areas with them.
  8. Water your plants early in the morning so that they become dry by the start of the day and this will help to prevent fungal damage to plants.
  9. Make use of raised beds and fences so that you can prevent rabbits and gophers from entering.
  10. Make your garden attractive so that you will be inviting birds which are good predators of pests.

Bottom-line:

Having a great garden with beautiful flowers, fruits and veggies are so tantalizing to look as well to be owned and most of us do everything possible to take care of it in the most effective manner. But we always forget that while taking care of our gardens we are polluting our environment and natural habitats of other creatures. So in this article I have specified few techniques by which you can shield your gardens and in the meantime secure the earth by staying far from perilous chemicals. Using homemade pesticides and natural ways to ward off pests will help to create an environment free from toxins and harmful chemicals. Create a clean environment and eat healthy foods with the help of natural methods. Practice environmental safety and feel brimming with life.

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