One fine morning, you were walking along your garden and you suddenly saw pests creeping in and out of your lot and worse, you found out that your crops have already been damaged. Probably, your initial reaction is to smash every single one of them and you’ll end up devastated of what happened to the fruits of your labor. Well, no one could blame you – if it happens to anyone, they would have the same reaction. It is easier to think about crushing them with your own bare hands just to end their acts of cruelty. However, it is not as easy as it seems – they also come in numbers, so you better prepare for it big time.
Now, while some resort to pesticides or insecticides to do the job fast, you can still opt for the natural way. Using organic or natural ways to get rid of these pesky pests are not only proven-effective but it’s also safe. Pesticides or insecticides may contain harmful chemicals that may affect the growth of your plants or crops and in some cases, it may cause them to wither and die. You wouldn’t want that to happen, right? So here are the five major pesky pests and how to sort them out organically.
Snails are the most common and troublesome garden pests. They may be small in size but they can create huge problems to gardeners like you. These slimy pests chew through the tender leaves of plants and at worst, it will kill your plants. Its closest family, the slugs, are also culprits so you better watch out.
What to do:
- Beer pan trap – snails are attracted to beer, hence you can use this as a trap. Place beer in a shallow pan and leave it out overnight. Snails will be drawn to the trap and drown.
- Grits – sprinkle gritty substances like crushed egg shells, sand or diatomaceous earth around the plants in your garden. This will injure them and eventually kill them.
- Barriers – the use of barriers like copper wire, Vaseline, or any other stuff that snails hate could help repel them from your plants.
- Water in the morning – always remember to water your plants in the morning. These slimy buggers become less active when the soil is dry at night.
Aphids are tiny, pear-shaped critters which can usually be found hanging out on fruits, vegetables, flowers, and in trees. These pests cause foliage to distort and leaves to drop by sucking plant sap. It feeds on new plant growth, attacking the leaves, stems, flowers, buds and roots, and at the same time, it spreads viral diseases to the plants causing it to die.
What to do:
- Use a strong spray of water hose to get rid of the aphids off the plants. Do this every day until there are no more signs of these pesky critters.
- Make repellent sprays which contain pepper or garlic and spray it on the leaves of the infested plants. Aside from that, a repellent spray made out of orange or lemon rind mixed with boiling water is the way to go. Reapply as long as the aphids exist.
- Plant onions or garlic around infested plants – the smell repels the aphids.
Before they transform into beautiful butterflies, caterpillars cause garden problems first. They feed on the leaves or along margins of fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, and shade trees. It even tunnels into fruits, causing it to rot from the inside. Some prefer to hand pick these pests but it’s inefficient and time-consuming.
What to do:
- Spray the foliage of your plants with neem oil. You might also want to try Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) powder to dust plant foliage. It’s a natural bacteria that can effectively kill caterpillars but does not pose any harm against plants or other beneficial insects.
- Use rigid collar to surround your plants – you can use toilet paper roll or plastic cups. This will ward off unwanted caterpillars.
- Take a cardboard and place it around the base of your plants and leave it overnight. This makes it easier to capture caterpillars lurking under the board, so make sure to check it in the morning.
- Plant herbs like lavender, mugwort and peppermint around your plants to repel caterpillars.
4. Japanese Beetles
Japanese beetles are small bugs but they are one of the major insect pests that cause huge damage to crops. Adult Japanese beetles feed on leaves, flowers and it defoliates plants while its larvae feed on plant roots.
What to do:
- In the morning, put down a drop cloth and shake the off the plants. Then, soak them in a bucket of soapy water to terminate them.
- Apply floating row covers to protect your plants from Japanese beetles.
- To prevent the threat of Japanese beetles, you can use milky spore (a natural powder) that kills larvae before it can mature. It may take a year or two for the spore to become established in your soil, but it definitely provides long-lasting and effective results.
5. Cabbage Maggots
These pestsstick to cabbage-family crops, especially to Chinese cabbages according to experts. It kills plants by penetrating in the roots of plants and creating entryways for disease organisms. Cabbage maggots are very destructive which is why you have to pay attention to it if you have cabbage in your garden.
What to do:
- To prevent cabbage maggots from destroying your crops, it’s important that you control the cabbage root fly from getting in your garden. To do this, place row covers over plants during spring.
- Apply parasitic nematodes to the roots of your plants to avoid maggots from tunneling.
- In cases where cabbage maggots have already penetrated in the roots, you have to destroy the crops to prevent them from returning. Burn roots from harvested plants and place a pile of wood ashes or red pepper dust around stems.
Overall, dealing with your garden’s pesky pests using organic method is not that difficult to do and you don’t have to look further or spend a lot of money for it. You can even find most of them in your own kitchen! They key factor here is patience and before you know it, those pesky pests are no longer causing any trouble in your garden, yay!