A couple of weeks ago we discussed bugs and the damage they can do to your garden. So the logical step is to discuss what you can use to keep these garden killers away.
Oddly enough, some of the remedies are (no kidding) bugs!! That’s right. Just doesn’t seem right does it? But, it is true. Bugs still creep you out?
We will also discuss things you can mix up and put directly on your plants, ingredients that are safe and some you probably have in your home right now.
If you’re just as concerned about pesticides on your food as I am you’re going to love this article.
Good Bugs For Your Garden
- Lady Bugs. Who doesn’t love the cute ladybug? Now you have more reasons to love them. Most lady bugs feed on aphids and other soft bodied insects. Adults will be attracted to your garden if there is pollen and nectar as they need these things to reproduce.
- Lacewings. Lacewings feed on aphids and other types of insect pests. To attract them plant, “composite” flowers, like yarrow, goldenrod, black-eyed Susan and asters.
- Braconids, Chalicids and Ichneumon Wasps. These helpful insects target leaf-eating caterpillars. Attract them by planting carrots, celery, parsley, caraway and Queen Anne’s lace (Umbelliferae family). It’s the flower that attracts these garden savers so let them bloom.
- Praying Mantis. The Praying Mantis is a large insect that loves to munch on bad garden pests. You must order the eggs of the Praying Mantis and place them in your garden, where they will waste no time hatching and doing the job you placed them there to do.
- Hover-Flies. Hover-Flies (and their larvae) do pretty much the same job as the, “Lacewing”. They are also attracted by the same flowering plants. Two different bugs sometimes are better than one.
- Nematodes. Nematodes will go after cutworms, beetles and root weevil larvae. They are harmless to humans and pets. This helpful garden bug comes in a small sponge that has a million of them at a time. Mix with water and apply to the soil where they hatch. If they get on your plants just wash them to the ground with water. They are available at most garden centers and nurseries or you can order them online.
- Another great idea is to set aside a small plot for flowering plants that will attract beneficial garden bugs and insects. Flowers to plant: Achillea filipendulina, Alyssum,
Amaranthus, Anethum graveolens (Dill), Angelica gigas, Convolvulus minor, Coreopsis,
Cosmos bipinnatus, Digitalis,Daucus Carota (Queen Anne’s lace), Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel), Helianthus annulus, Iberis umbellata, Limonium latifolium (Statice), Lupin,
Melissa officinalis (Lemon balm), Petroselinum crispum (Parsley), Scabiosa (Pincushion flower), Shasta Daisy, Sunflowers, Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy), Verbascum thaspus, and Yarrow.
Non-Toxic Homemade Remedies
- Soft-bodied insects (mites, aphids, mealybugs): Mix one tablespoon canola oil and a few drops of Ivory dish soap into a quart of water. Shake well and pour into a spray bottle. Spray plant from above down, and from below, getting the underside of the leaves.
- Earwigs, slugs, and other soft-bodied garden pests: I’m for anything that gets rid of Earwigs and Slugs. Sprinkle, “diatomaceous,” over plants and around edges of garden beds. The particles are tiny, yet sharp, but only harmful to the small exoskeletons of insects, slugs and snails. Insects cannot become immune because this is not a chemical pesticide.
- Grubs: For garden grubs, unless you plan to dig them up and use them as fishing bait, there is a natural remedy called, “milky spore”. When you spread the granules on the soil it causes the grubs to contract a disease that kills them. Milky spore multiplies over time and will sit inactive, waiting for grubs to infect. They say one treatment will last 40 years.
- Mites and other insects: You can declare war on these insects by mixing two tablespoons of hot pepper sauce or cayenne pepper with a few drops of Ivory soap into a quart of water. Let stand overnight, then stir and pour into a spray bottle and apply as above. Shake container frequently during application.
Do you have a tip or trick you use to get rid of garden pests?