Synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides are not only unhealthy for the environment and living beings, but they can also create more problems than they solve. In fact, they often aren’t even that effective in getting rid of bugs and weeds. The best plan is to start with healthy soil, match your plants to the soil type, ensure proper sunlight and watering conditions, and use appropriate organic fertilization and pruning. However, if that doesn’t work, there are many alternatives to chemical pesticides that can reduce pests while leaving a healthy environment for your plants, pets, and family.
Barriers and repellents can act like a wall to prevent crawling insects from accessing your home or vegetables. For example, planting peppermint, spearmint, or pennyroyal can naturally deter aphids and ants. Simmering cedar twigs in water can deter cutworms and corn earworms, and lime can prevent snails from crossing a line. Additionally, you can purchase organic pest control products that work on just about anything lurking around the garden or home.
Beneficial insects, such as lady beetles, green lacewings, and praying mantis, can be lured into the garden with attractive habitat or purchased and released into the garden. They are safer and more effective than chemicals, but you need to research your specific pest problem and which beneficial insects to enlist.
Naturally occurring insect diseases caused by protozoa, bacteria, fungi, and viruses, known as biological pest controls, are effective against their target insects but are nontoxic to humans, pets, wildlife, and beneficial insects. Approved for organic gardening, Bacillus thuringiensis and Spinosad are examples of biological pesticides. Milky spore powder is another biological pest control that targets the white grubs of Japanese beetles.
For inside the home, boric acid powder can control cockroaches, ants, termites, and many other household pests, while live or snap traps can catch mice. To get rid of fleas, treat the host, the house, and the yard with citrus repellent, table salt or boric acid, and diatomaceous earth, respectively.
Traps use visual lures, pheromones, or food to attract pests and capture them without hurting other insects, animals, or the environment. Natural insecticides are generally botanical and derived from plants that have insecticidal properties. Insecticidal soaps and oils are most effective on soft-bodied, sucking insects and can control their immature larval stages and eggs.
Plant diseases can be avoided by ensuring good draining soil and adequate air movement. If that doesn’t work, you can use organic fungicides such as copper and sulfur, which have low toxicity to animals, including humans, or Serenade Garden Disease Control, a new bio-fungicide approved for use in organic production.
In summary, there are many effective and safe alternatives to synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides that can help you get rid of bugs and weeds while maintaining a healthy environment for your plants, pets, and family.