When mosquitoes or aphids become a nuisance, pass on chemical products and try these natural solutions to keep unwanted garden visitors away.
Use Odours They Don’t Like
Certain essential oils are great at keeping away mosquitoes, ants and even fleas. Look for repellants that contain lemongrass, cedar or eucalyptus. Reapply often.
Invite Beneficial Insects
Talk to a garden centre about native plants such as grasses, flowers, shrubs and trees, that are inviting to insects that prey on the others who can damage your plants. For example:
- Ladybugs are excellent predators of aphids, spider mites and other tiny pests;
- Rove beetles live in the soil and prey on root maggots and insect eggs;
- Ground beetles eat grubs, insect pupae, cabbage maggots and some beetles;
- Bees and butterflies are important pollinators.
Aromatic herbs and companion flowers act as natural deterrents. For example, marigolds in the garden repel most insects and many weeds, aromatic plants such as chives, dill, thyme, basil, oregano, and mint ward off pests and petunias planted next to beans repel bean pests.
Remove pests, such as aphids, from ornamental plants with a blast of water from the hose. Ordinary dish soap and water (non-detergent soap mixed with water) also works – apply and leave on for up to 30 minutes before rinsing it off. Repeat twice a week for a few weeks. Or, pick off offending insects by hand.
Set Up Lures
To control snails and slugs that feed on plants after dark put a shallow dish of beer among the plants that need protection. Slugs especially love beer and will fall in and drown. Diatomaceous earth and crushed eggshells sprinkled among plants help deter slugs and snails because these insects won’t cross over something that might damage their soft undersides.
Since many common birds prey on insects, set up hanging feeders, bird baths, and nest boxes in your yard to attract them.