Insects and their larvae are the worst troublemakers in the garden. They can ruin your harvest and lay your best efforts to waste. Chemical pesticides are a no-no if you growing your fruits and vegetables organically. Besides, they may be harmful to the environment and dangerous to you and your family. Fortunately, there are alternative ways to kill pests and harmful bugs safely and organically. Here are some of the things that you can do to get rid of the nasty critters:
You can manually remove bugs and worms off the plants and put them into a bucket of water until they drown. You can then feed them to chickens, ducks, and other fowl or simply throw them away. If you’re not going to feed them to animals, you can kill the pests more easily by squirting some dish washing liquid to the water.
Keep Them Away!
You can use floating row covers to keep some bugs out. These covers are made of translucent polyester fabric that lets up to 80 percent of sunlight in while shielding plants from harmful insects. Use row covers to protect seedlings. However, you should use other methods to deter insects when plants are in the latter stages of their growth, especially when they need insects to pollinate them.
Not with chemical pesticide. You can make your own natural bug spray by mixing some water, minced garlic, hot peppers and some mint leaves and heating the mixture until it almost boils. Let the liquid sit overnight. Strain the liquid and add a few squirts of dish washing liquid. Make sure that you use protective gear when using the spray.
The spray is not poisonous, but it is very irritating. It repels bugs and it may even kill pests if they come into contact with the spray. The spray is spicy so make sure that you don’t use the spray before you harvest your produce.
An insecticidal soap has fatty acids that dissolve the skin of insects. It only works when insects come into contact with the soap while it is liquid, so it will only kill the existing bugs in your garden. It will not deter the insects that are about to invade your garden. Insecticidal soaps can be harsh on some plants, so make sure that you test the soap on a few plant leaves before using it. Check for damage after 48 hours. If the soap did not hurt the leaves, you may spray it on the entire plant.
Some insects lure the opposite sex with pheromones, which are aromatic substances that these critters secrete. Scientists have been able to replicate natural pheromones and use them against harmful insects. While pheromones do not kill harmful bugs, you can use them to find out whether there are pests in your area so you can take measures to control them. They are especially useful for moths whose larvae are notorious garden pests.
Some insects are attracted to certain colours. To make your own trap, use a wooden board or a rigid cardboard. Paint it with the colour that the pests are attracted to and coat the board with a sticky substance such as Tangle-Trap, which is specially made for trapping insects. Light blue traps are for flower thrips. White attracts cucumber beetles (shake and brush the branches as you go), flea beetles, and white flies. Yellow traps are for fruit flies, leaf hoppers, midges, and aphids.
Make Them Sick!
You can use germ warfare to keep harmful bugs at bay. Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterium that naturally grows in the soil, releases a protein that causes the larvae of insects to stop feeding. The infected larvae die within a few days. You can buy the bacteria as a liquid or as a powder that you can dissolve in water. Some people have reported allergic reactions to the bacteria, so wear protective gear when you spray the bacteria onto plants and make sure that you do not inhale any of it.
There are many more ways to control garden pests and harmful bugs besides using chemical pesticides, but these seven methods are proven to be safe and effective. They are environmentally friendly, too. The next time pests attack your garden, check back on this list. One of these methods may just save your plants and you from a lot of trouble.