Identify Good Insects from the Bad and Getting Rid of Pests Naturally

September 13, 2017

Identify Good Insects from the Bad and Getting Rid of Pests Naturally

Whether you have a flower or a vegetable garden, it can be heartbreaking when pests attack your plants and tear them apart. In addition to having all your hard work go down the drain, garden pests also pose a significant health risk to you and your family if left unattended.

Before you start destroying these invaders with some strong pesticide, it would be wise to first take a look into the type of pests you have. There might be a few friendly species that can contribute to the growth of your garden. Also, note that strong inorganic chemicals in pesticides might damage your plants and the soil surrounding it. It is especially ill-advised to use chemical pesticides on vegetable gardens with produce meant for human consumption.

To help you with your pest problem, we have compiled a list of some of the most common kinds of garden insects — both the bad and the good — and which nontoxic pest control method is best used to prevent them from damaging your garden.

Insects that Harm Your Garden

  • Aphids

Identify Good Insects from the Bad and Getting Rid of Pests Naturally

Aphids are some of the most common pests found on plants. When left unattended, these can cause leaves to fall off the plant, lead to the development of mould, and can also result in spreading viral diseases.

Aphids are relatively easy to take care of. You can simply wash them off your plants with a strong spray of water, or spray a mixture of water and soap on to the infected area. Other natural methods include utilizing specific types of oils that remove aphids or the use of bug-eating birds.

  • Slugs and Snails

Identify Good Insects from the Bad and Getting Rid of Pests Naturally

Slugs and snails are also among the most common types of garden pests. It’s fairly easy to identify if slugs or snails have made their way into your garden. They usually leave traces of their slime all over the plants they’ve been chewing on, as well as large holes in leaves. In addition to this, there is also the risk of certain diseases present in its slime trail.

In order to get rid of them without having to resort to chemical barriers that can negatively affect your plants and soil, you can look into using natural deterrents. Materials like coffee grounds, cornmeal, and salt can be used to build a wall to stop slugs and snails from getting into your garden.

An alternative method is making use of natural predators that feed on these pests. Birds and toads are a couple of the more common animals that feed on slugs and snails. Attracting these animals to your garden can help rid your garden of them.

Insects Beneficial to Your Garden

Some insects, while considered as pests, can actually benefit your garden. These beneficial insects can contribute to a garden’s overall health from pollinating plants to being natural predators that can help eliminate the more bothersome pests in your garden.

  • Bees

Identify Good Insects from the Bad and Getting Rid of Pests Naturally

Many people are terrified when they hear the buzzing of a bee drawing near. While this is understandable because of their painful stings, bees are significantly helpful to the natural ecosystem. They pollinate different plants, flowers, and fruits.

  • Ladybugs, Praying Mantises, Beetles

Identify Good Insects from the Bad and Getting Rid of Pests Naturally

These insects are the natural predators of some of the pests that we’ve mentioned above, and much more. Ladybugs feed on aphids; while praying mantises on a variety of garden pests.

Additionally, different types of beetles prey on different types of insects. Ground beetles, for example, feed on slugs and snails; while soldier beetles feed on caterpillars and aphids, among others.

Alternative Methods of Extermination

In addition to applying specific extermination methods to certain types of garden pests, there are also a number of general strategies you can use.

  • Make use of plants and herbs that act as natural deterrents to garden pests. These plants include: basil, thyme, bay leaves, dill, and chives.
  • Maintain the soil in your garden, making sure that there are no rotten leaves, flowers or fruits that can attract unwanted pests.
  • Store compost in a dry and safe area, as well as removing any rotting wood from your garden, such as from old trees and your shed.
  • Remove any water buildup from empty containers or drains as this can attract slugs, snails, and mosquitoes.

Having these pests in your garden does not immediately mean the end. By taking the right steps, you can drive these pests out without compromising the health of your plants.

While the pests listed above are of the more general garden variety, there are a few more unusual and more harmful type of invasive pests that can prove to be more harmful to the environment in general. Fortunately, following the aforementioned steps can also keep most of these pests at bay.

Posted in Home and Garden by Sophie Ruiz