A proper plan of action must be in place to get rid of garden pests permanently or at least for a longer time period. First things first, understand the kinds of bugs and identify the ‘bad bugs’, such as Aphids, slugs, snails, Japanese beetles, Root Maggots, Army Worm, etc., that can ravage through a beautiful garden. The next step would be to appreciate the use of natural, chemical-free or organic pesticides and methods to keep the garden free of pests.
There are plenty of natural methods to fight garden pests.
• One of the coolest ways to get rid of pests is to resourcefully use the natural ecosystems and useful insects such as lady bugs, lace wings, spiders, praying mantis, etc. This is called fighting nature with nature.
• Lady bugs are easiest to find and voraciously feed on bugs such as aphids, chinch bugs, grape root worms, thrips, mites and whitefly, as well as most of the other soft-bodied eggs and insects. Make friends with lady bugs and maintain your garden the organic way.
• Praying Mantis has a huge appetite for most garden insects and their larvae. These insects grow fast and efficiently control garden pests. Their eggs can be mail ordered easily.
• Lacewings are perfect to get rid of aphids and quite a few other varieties of insects. They are usually found around flowers such as asters, yarrow and black-eyed Susan.
• Brachonids and Ichneumon Wasps are great for destroying leaf-eating caterpillars.
• Hover Flies are also beneficial insects that consume aphids larvae and other insect larvae. They are usually attracted to composite flowers such as asters, goldenrod and yarrow.
• Nematodes are also excellent to control pests in the garden. There are basically three major kinds of nematodes. One which is harmful to the roots of the plants, the second one which helps in organic decomposition, and the third one which is extremely useful against beetles, cutworms and root weevil larvae. The nematode eggs are usually microscopic in nature and they hatch and grow in soil usually in millions. However, they are completely harmless to humans and pets.
• Marigolds offer natural pest control. Not only are they beautiful to look at, they also attract beneficial insects that help control pests. Many insects are repelled by the scent of these flowers.
There are also several organic pesticides to prevent garden pests.
• Ground coffee, vinegar and herbs such as tansy, thyme, lavender and catnip should be mixed with water and sprayed on plants to avoid bug infestation.
• A pesticide spray can be prepared by soaking garlic, ginger, onions, Indian lilac and mint in water overnight. This solution acts as a deterrent to soft body insects.
• Egg shells and salt are great to kill slugs and snails.
• Mixing mineral oils or canola oil with water and spraying on the underside of leaves kills insects.
• Mixing baking soda with water or milk with water and spraying on plants and leaves is also a completely natural and healthy way of eliminating bugs.
Extensive use of chemicals for pest control will create long lasting damage to the environment and may also have some adverse effects on the person who handles such chemicals. Therefore, many gardening experts recommend usage of organic chemicals. Besides the safety factor, it has its own set of unique benefits as well.