Many people shy away from organic gardening because they believe that their plants will become infested by insects if they do not spray them with the correct “poisons.” The truth is, there are plenty of natural ways to keep bugs off of your plants – that is, there are lots of ways to keep the bad bugs off while attracting the good ones.
· Garlic. We all know that garlic keeps away vampires, but did you know that it also keeps annoying insects like aphids out of your garden? You can create your own insect spray by crushing the cloves. Also, plant a sprouting garlic in the garden to act as an additional repellent.
· Allium Family. Other “stinky” plants besides garlic, like onions, chives, and scallions also repel pests. Plant these throughout your garden.
· Fennel. Attract those beautiful ladybugs by planting this wonderful herb. Remember, ladybugs will kill spider mites and aphids, but they will not hurt plants, people, or pets. Compared to chemical pesticides, ladybugs are much less expensive, and they are self-renewing!
· Other herbs. Dill, cilantro, angelica, and parsley attract ladybugs to your gardens, too. They also attract other beneficial insects.
· Praying Mantis. A praying mantis can be the answer to your prayers… or they can become a bit of a pest, themselves. This insect is a very hungry one, all to happy to eat aphids, fruit flies, grasshoppers, moths, crickets, and house flies… but that is not all that they eat. They also tend to eat those beneficial insects like lacewings and hover flies. It is possible to buy cases of praying mantis eggs, if you want to include this hungry insect in your garden.
· Organic sprays. If adding insects to your garden is not your idea of the best way to get rid of insects, there are some organic sprays that you can use (like neem or pyrethrum). You can also set out sticky traps.
· Maintain proper soil fertility. Start with the soil – use proper waste handling methods as well as good compost methods. Plant a diverse ecosystem (of native species). By maintaining proper soil fertility, you will repel pests, weeds, and fungus.
The type of pest control that you decide to use depends greatly on the type of pest that you have – flies, grasshoppers, fungus gnats, leafminers, leafhoppers, crickets, caterpillars, aphids, bean beetles, etc. The list of insect pest seems to go and on. Luckily, there are some beneficial insects to combat them!
Overall, it is a good idea to invite green lacewings, ladybugs, and praying mantis to your garden. Find ways to attract them, or go out and buy them and bring them by force to your garden!
Besides using insects as pest control, there are plenty of traps and organic pesticides that you can use. Why not try these out first, before you try out pesticides that can be harmful to the environment?