Suburban homeowners are transforming their tidy lawns into beds of flowers and thriving gardens, lined with budding fruit and vegetable plants that can supply the average household with months of fresh produce. For homeowners inundated by hectic work schedules and busy families, tending to a garden can be a great way to unwind on a weekend afternoon. Although, at times, garden maintenance can be energy and time-intensive.
Annoying garden pests will only add to already-existing stress. Don’t worry, scientists are always working hard to develop better ways of controlling pests while reducing the harmful effects of pesticides on beneficial microorganisms.
Effective pest control solutions can be categorized into two branches: mechanical methods and chemical methods. This guide will help you assess which method is more compatible with your unique garden needs.
If you find yourself in need of some professional help dealing with the pests in your garden, partner with a reputable service provider like Moxie Pest Control — a premier Stafford pest control company with local offices and services across the United States.
Mechanical methods of controlling garden pests
Mechanical pest control methods can be defined as physical or manual strategies used to manage garden pests. These methods require the garden owner to deploy physical barriers like electric fences and perform tasks such as weeding, handpicking, and placement of mechanical traps.
Here are a few options for mechanical method pest control solutions that you can adopt in your own garden.
Barrier methods encompass a variety of fences, paper collars, and nets, which are specially designed to keep insects and other invading pests away from your garden crops.
You can use transparent floating row covers to deter pesky flea beetles. These floating row covers will allow light to reach the crops, while simultaneously protecting them feeding insects.
During the installation phase, avoid applying the floating covers during the blooming phase, as this can prevent cross-pollination.
Handpicking is one of the most effective mechanical methods for garden pests control. The method is non-toxic, eco-friendly, and requires zero background knowledge or skill. Despite its benefits, handpicking can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.
Traps lure pests and keep pests physically detained and far away from your blossoming produce. In order for this method to be effective, you may need to purchase several types of traps.
Garden owners can map-out their design plan, nail the traps, and install them in their designated areas with the strips down. That ensures proper placement and helps increase the effectiveness of traps that regulate snails and slug entry.
Water pressure sprays
You can use water pressure sprays to manually control pests in your garden. Water sprays apply direct force to dislodge both spider mites and aphids that may go unnoticed. Be wary of overusing water pressure sprays, as continuous watering can lead to devastating plant disease.
Insect vacuums are battery-powered devices engineered to remove insects perched on plant stems and leaves. When operating the tool, shake the plant and position the device to suck-up any rogue insects.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth
Farmers love using diatomaceous earth to control pests. This pest-fighting powder is made from dead and decomposing aquatic organisms. Diatomaceous earth can penetrate the insect’s exoskeleton and cause dehydration, to effectively kill existing pests.
For the product to work, sprinkle it at the stem of every affected plant to kill all crawling insects. Because the powder is food-grade, it is safe for pets and human contact. So, you don’t need to worry about household pets or young children experiencing any adverse effects, if accidentally consumed.
An unfortunate drawback of this mechanical method that it can easily wash away with continued exposure to water. In the event of rainfall, you will have to reapply.
You can dilute soap and spray this mixture directly onto plants, to keep pests at bay. If you are to employ this method, you’ll want to use a small amount of natural soap, as harsh detergents can damage the leaves.
To make insecticidal soap, you can mix five tablespoons of castile soap with a gallon of water and use it immediately.
Horticultural oils are specifically designed for garden pest control. Mix the plant-based oils with emulsifiers to create a solution that you can spray directly on your plants. These oils kill insects with soft exoskeletons, such as aphids and mites.
Chemical methods of pest control
Chemical pest control methods should be used as a last line of defense, due to their series of adverse side effects that can negatively impact crops, household pets, other wildlife, and even human beings.
If you decide to harness the power of chemical methods, be sure to use the agricultural chemicals approved by the specialized pest control organization. Compounds that are safe to apply are grouped into the following categories:
• Gibberellic acid
• Bacillus thuringiensis
• Corn gluten
• Kaolin Clay
• Lime sulphur
• Boric acid
• Horticultural vinegar
• Copper sulfate
• Diatomaceous earth
The looming possibility of destructive garden pests may thwart your desire to start your own backyard garden—but don’t be discouraged. Professional pest control service providers have devised a variety of methods to curb the survival and multiplication of pests. Overall, mechanical and chemical methods are among the most effective pest control methods available.