Natural Pest Control

Radishes Stop Aphids and Ants Don’t Like Spearmint – Natural Pest Control for Your Home and Garden

Submitted by Louisa May

PestsMost people know that pesticides can be toxic, hurting people and pets, but did you know that certain plants repel insects and reroute scampering mice? Companion planting is a form of natural pest control. Insects and animals don’t like the smell and taste of certain plants, so the trick is to mix these plants in with your regular garden plantings and let nature do the rest of the work.

Some plants such as garlic can be made into a natural insect repelling tea. Spraying garlic tea on your rose bushes will get rid of fungus and mildew and keep insects from eating the leaves of other plants, too. Cloves of garlic placed between the slats or in the cracks of a deck will keep the ants away. If bigger critters are a problem, raccoons hate the taste of salt, so sprinkling salt around trash cans and dumpsters will keep the masked marauders moving on. Rats and mice don’t like the smell of daffodils or hyacinths, and these are beautiful flowers to use as borders near your buildings.

Here are a few other time-tested suggestions for ridding your home and garden of insect armies and other pests:

  • Ants will not cross a line of cayenne pepper, cucumber slices, cinnamon or spearmint. A few teabags of mint tea placed in areas where ants are most active is neat and easy, especially if you have pets that might be tempted to eat cucumber slices or lick up cinnamon or cayenne.
  • Just a little bit of cayenne pepper sprinkled in with the bird seed will keep the squirrels out of a bird feeder, too, and the taste of the pepper doesn’t seem to bother the birds.
  • Citrosa geraniums planted around the yard or patio will help cut down on the buzz and bites of mosquitoes and so will a few potted Thai lemon grass plants. Lemon grass plants can grow up to two feet tall and fifteen inches across, making beautiful ornamental plants. Ornamental ponds can be breeding ponds for mosquitoes-to keep them away, mix one tablespoon of olive oil in with the water, but only if you have no fish in the pond.
  • If you have trouble with aphids, sneak in a few radish plants around your rose bushes and flowers to keep the aphids away. Aphids abhor the smell and taste of a radish plant.

You may find you need to use a chemical pesticide on occasion- it’s important to read the label and not use more than you need and also to save the label. Don’t tear it off for any reason. The label is a product’s legal document and not only lists the ingredients and instructions, but often has antidote information in case a child or pet should ingest any of it.

Depending on your geographic location, finding just the right place for your plants may be a matter of trial and error, but natural pest control has been around for ages, and these solutions are always worth a try.

See other green features by Louisa May, including Choosing Deck Stain: Aesthetics vs. DurabilityA Brush With Kindness, Brad Pitt Builds Green (and Pink) in New Orleans,  and Green Flooring Adds Value, Not Allergens.

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