Have you begun to notice an invasion of garden pests on your outdoor shrubs, plants and flowers? While professional pest control is often the most logical solution, if you are concerned about the use of pesticides and chemicals, you might want to try a few all-natural methods. To rid your garden of those annoying and destructive creepy crawlies and help prevent a re-invasion, try these simple solutions:
1. Use Natural Seaweed
Are your garden plants affected by slugs? Garden slugs feed on organic materials, including the plants and vegetation you've tried so hard to maintain. To help keep them at bay, treat your outdoor garden with an all-natural spray solution of seaweed extract.
Alternatively, you might want to purchase some dried seaweed powder at your local garden shop. This may be sprinkled on the soil or directly on plant leaves that have been affected by pests. Not only will this deter the slugs, the seaweed's mineral content will condition the soil and provide resistance to disease and nutritional content for your shrubs, bushes and plants.
If you're so inclined, scout your favorite beach and collect some seaweed that has been washed ashore. You might use a burlap sack to gather the seaweed in. Look for the brown seaweed such as the kelp variety, as these seem to be heartier than other varieties such as red or green. Spread the seaweed around the garden soil.
Before you collect the seaweed, it's advisable to note whether your township or state has regulations pertaining to harvesting seaweed.
2. Don't Reuse "Infected" Tools
After using your tools on garden plants you suspect are infested with pests, clean the tools thoroughly before using them again. Reusing dirty tools may spread the infestation to other plants. If you don't care to use household disinfectants or chlorine bleach, try natural pine oil for disinfecting your tools. White household vinegar is a natural disinfectant as well, and you can prepare a spray solution of vinegar with equal parts of water.
3. Spray Your Plants With Vegetable Oil
Try mixing up some household vegetable oil and soapy water into a spray bottle. Mist your plants thoroughly and the pests will become suffocated and die. The oil may also destroy eggs and larva. Alternatively, you might want to apply a few drops of mineral oil on plant leaves or anywhere you've noticed pests.
You should note that some plants may be sensitive to oils and detergents. As a precaution, it's a good idea to test these solutions on a small area of the plant first, just to be sure the ingredients won't harm the plants.
4. Treat Your Garden Bed and Plants With Organic Diatomaceous Earth
What is diatomaceous earth (DE)? Sometimes referred to as insect dust, this powdery natural substance contains diatom particles that cause dehydration to the tiny pests and insects plaguing your garden plants. Once affected, the pests should be killed in a few days. Find this non-toxic pest repellent at your local gardening store. Don't forget to reapply the DE after it rains.
5. Break out the Peppermint Oil
Visit your natural health food or organic supply store for a bottle of essential oil in peppermint flavor. Peppermint essential oil is a natural deterrent for rodents, rabbits and other common pests. Simply dab some cotton balls in the peppermint oil and place them anywhere around your garden where you suspect an infestation. Be sure to saturate the cotton balls thoroughly with the peppermint oil.
6. Create a Copper Tape Barrier
Lastly, here is a simple and inexpensive solution for garden pest control. Copper tape is non-toxic and is sold at many garden stores. Basically, the tape repels garden pests by emitting a very mild electrical charge to keep snails and slugs out of your garden.
If none of these methods work, contact a company like Cavanaugh's Professional Termite & Pest Services for professional advice.