Summer is fast approaching, which means it’s time to plan out all the fun outdoor activities in your garden. Whether that’s having a barbecue, starting a vegetable patch, or chilling in an outdoor pool, summer is the perfect time to take advantage of your garden and patio spaces. Unfortunately, it is also the time when pests are at their most menacing. Sweating at the thought of blood-sucking mosquitoes or invasive stink bugs entering your yard? Here are some great ways to pest-proof your garden using natural methods.
Attract Natural Predators
What better way to get rid of pests than having an army of predators do the job for you? Natural predators may include specific types of birds like owls, amphibians like frogs, or even mammals like hedgehogs. It ultimately comes down to what species are native to your area and the type of pests that frequent your backyard. You might want to even consider purchasing insects like ground beetles and ladybugs. They are known as beneficial insects because they help control the pest population and for the most part leave you or your garden crops alone.
You may want to consider providing a place to live to attract some natural predators. Owls like to shelter and roost on dense, mature trees that are nicely shaded. If no such trees exist then a good alternative is to set up an owl nest box in the corner of the garden. Owls will not just help to rid your backyard of pesky bugs but all types of furry rodents as well.
Clear Up Debris
Don’t allow the pests and rodents to get cozy. Piles of debris and weeds could provide the perfect environment for pests to live and breed in. If you live in a place that gets plenty of rain you’ll want to examine your outdoor space and make sure to clear away any wet foliage and standing water which again could act as a breeding ground for pests like mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks.
Wet environments may also drive pests like roaches indoors. Examine your patio space and make sure there are no crevices or holes along the wall for the insects to sneak through.
Grow Pest-Repelling Plants
Consider forming a natural barrier around your garden by growing pest-repelling plants. A lot of plants naturally produce essential oils that repel pesky insects. These types of oils are often extracted from plants like lavender, citronella grass, and chrysanthemums. Strangely enough, the scents we find fragrant from these plants may repel pests like fleas and mosquitoes.
Other popular pest-repelling plants include basil, lemongrass, mint, and rosemary. The benefit with these plants is that they can serve additional purposes. For example, if grown organically, herbs like basil and rosemary can be used in the kitchen.
There are other natural solutions you can use to control pests. One of the most effective is food-grade diatomaceous earth. This white powder is made from the fossilized remains of single-celled algae. We won’t notice it because they are microscopic but diatomaceous earth has razor sharp edges that could pierce the protective layer of an insect’s exoskeleton. Eventually, the piercing effect would cause the bugs to dehydrate and die. If you start to notice a surge of pests appearing on your patio then consider applying diatomaceous earth around high-traffic pest areas.
In addition to diatomaceous earth, you might want to consider other natural ingredients like cinnamon, baking powder, and garlic. Cinnamon, for example, is a great natural repellent for ants. A few studies suggest ants do not the like strong scent of cinnamon and the way it affects their sense of direction. The chemicals found in cinnamon, such as cinnamaldehyde, has also found been notes as having a repellant effect to ants.
As you can see, chemical pesticides are not the only solution for controlling pest problems in garden and patio spaces. Going the natural route is always preferable since you, your family, and pets won’t be exposed to any hazardous chemicals.
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