Natural Pest Control Methods

Article written by Saturday6TM blogger Amy Andrychowicz from Get Busy Gardening!

One of the biggest frustrations for gardeners is pest control, especially when it comes to insects. Sometimes pest infestations become so severe that chemical warfare seems like the only option.


Before you pick up that pesticide, consider this ' pesticides are made to kill bugs, and they don't discriminate. They will kill beneficial insects like the bee, ladybug, wasp and praying mantis right along with the bad guys.


To make matters worse, some pest insects are resistant to pesticides, and they recover faster from chemical treatments than beneficial insects do. Essentially, spraying pesticides is killing the good bugs and helping out the bad, creating a much worse problem for our gardens in the future.


It's best to use natural control methods that will target the pest insect, without harming beneficial insects in the process. There are several ways to fight pest insects naturally without using harmful pesticides.


Know the pest you're dealing with. If you can't find it on the Internet, put some of the insects into a clear, sealed baggie and bring it to your local garden center. They should be able to identify the pest for you, and recommend natural ways to control it.


Soapy water will kill many insects on contact, and it's easy to use to target the pest insect without harming other insects. Soapy water works best for small insects; larger insects can simply be picked off the plant and either squished or dropped into a bucket of water to drown them.


Enlist the help of natural predators to fight the battle for you by encouraging them to come to your garden. Plant flowers in and around the vegetable garden to attract wasps, praying mantises, ladybugs, and other predatory insects.


Spiders may be unwelcome in the house, but they are welcome predators in the garden. If you see webs in your garden, try to leave them intact so the spider can feast on the bad bugs.


Birds aren't just fun to watch, they are also beneficial predators that feed on pest insects. Invite them into your gardens by installing bird baths, feeders and birdhouses.


You can increase the population of natural predators, like ladybugs and praying mantises in your yard by purchasing them, then releasing them in your gardens. Buy them from a reputable dealer to ensure they are healthy.


Complete elimination of pesky bugs in the garden isn't a realistic goal. The key is to find a balance, so that your plants will thrive despite having a few bugs munching on them. Mature, healthy plants can handle a minor pest problem; and with a healthy population of natural predators, nature will take its course.