Safe And Natural Garden Pest Control
Hello fellow Earthlings and welcome to the garden. Once again we are
discussing the topic of controlling the unwanted visitors that often plague
our precious plants. This time our discussing will focus on materials that
are easy to use and considerably less toxic to you and the environment. So
let's take a walk out to the garden and inspect those plants for marauders.
Pests attack plants most often when plants are stressed or weakened in some
way. The classic way for us to have fewer pest problems in our gardens is
to grow and maintain healthy plants. This is the most common form of pest
control. For those occasions when pests do take hold on your plants it is a
good idea to take a close look t the type of pest insect that has taken up
residence and tailor your control strategy to that pest. This is the best
way for you to do the least amount of collateral damage to beneficial
insects or other organisms.
Finding out what kind of bug is feeding on your plants is relatively
simple. Your local nurseryman or agricultural extension agent can normally
identify most garden pest insects. They will inevitably give you some
control information as well. If this data includes the use of chemical
pesticides, thank them for the identification assistance and ask them if
they know of any less toxic methods of control. This is the easiest way to
see if your local merchant or the USDA is increasing their knowledge to
include environmentally responsible pest control methods.
After identifying your pest is accomplished, you can go forward with
choosing a control method. I always like to start with my favorite pest
control method. A sharp jet of water aimed directly at certain pests like
aphids is a very effective control method. Not only do you clean the bugs
off of your plants this way but you also give your plants a nice bath. I
also use soaps to control pests. There are several insecticidal soap
products available at garden centers these days. Most are very effective,
but my favorite is a material sold at every health food market. It is
called Dr. Bronner's pure castile soap. I prefer the peppermint oil version
of this soap because it works very well at cutting through the protective
cuticle (waxy coating) of the insect exposing it to drying out. This
particular material also has the added benefit of an insect repellant. The
peppermint oils have a very strong vapor action that has the short lived
but effective action of making plants unattractive to pests. I also like
the smell of peppermint as an alternative to foul smelling toxic insecticides.
Other materials that are plant derivatives can be used to control insect
pests. Many of these materials are considered "least toxic" pesticides and
should be used with some care. Products derived from plant extracts are
sold today as organic and natural pest controls. It should be noted that
some of these materials are rather non-selective bug killers and should
only be used when other methods have failed or pest infestations are
threatening to kill your plants. Some of the more common materials are as
Garlic oil- This very effective insecticide is mostly a repellant. It has a
fairly long residual effect and will make you hungry for pasta.
Pepper Sprays- Yes, this is effectively the same stuff the cops use to
control unruly crowds. It is easy to use, very effective at controlling a
number of pests, and is harmless to the environment. Keep this material out
of your eyes unless you like to cry.
Pyrethrins- This is a general insecticide that is often useful when pest
problems are out of control. It should be used with caution due to the fact
that it is toxic to honeybees and is highly toxic to fishes. Pyrethrins is
derived from the flowers of a relative of the chrysanthemum. It has no
residual activity and breaks down immediately.
Rotenone- This derivative of the roots of various South American legumes in
the genus Lonchocarpus. This non-selective insecticide is a nerve toxin to
pests and has a residual effect that lasts about a week. Rotenone is
restricted in some states and is toxic to birds, fish, and honeybees.
Neem- Neem is derived from the Neem tree of India. Neem can be used to
control a number of pests and is known to render some pest species sterile.
It also has some fungicidal properties and is used to control powdery
mildew and rust on some plants. Neem is easy on beneficial insects and also
appears to have some repellant properties against pests.
These are just a few of the choices available to gardeners nationally in
environmentally sensitive publications. Look for Don's book Natural
Gardening A-Z from Hay House at bookstores everywhere and at all online
booksellers and check out Don's columns in Hearst's Healthy Living Magazine
coming soon.willing to try
less toxic and more environmentally sound methods of controlling pests in
the garden. They are becoming more available as their popularity increases
so ask your nursery professional about these materials. Chances are they
know about them and are more than willing to stock them for you. No logical
person wants to use something highly toxic to do a job that can be done by
a product that is natural and benign.
Next time we will be discussing
natural products for disease control. See you in the Garden!
Back To Dr. Curly Index
Copyright © 2012