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6 Natural Pest-Management Options for Your Backyard

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Would you want to discourage backyard pests from damaging your crops with out harming your loved ones, your pets, or the atmosphere? Bugs are unavoidable however you don’t want poisonous chemical compounds to maintain them away out of your flower or vegetable garden. As a substitute, use pure pest management strategies generally utilized by organic gardeners.

Let’s take a look at some pest management options you possibly can safely use in your natural backyard — their advantages, disadvantages, and different noteworthy information.

This text incorporates affiliate hyperlinks. If you buy an merchandise by way of one in every of these hyperlinks, we obtain a small fee that helps fund our Recycling Directory.

Natural Pest Management Merchandise

Neem Oil

A naturally occurring pesticide, neem oil is obtained from the seeds of the neem tree. Its energetic compound is azadirachtin, an ingredient that kills bugs and retains them from reproducing. Neem oil controls powdery mildew, aphids, rust, spider mites, whiteflies, and beetles. It may be used on houseplants, roses, fruits, greens, decorative bushes, shrubs, and flowers.

The product can also be used as a fungicide.

Not all neem oil merchandise are certified organic. Be sure to solely use USDA certified organic neem oil merchandise in your natural backyard.

Neem oil


  • Whereas it kills pests, neem oil also can hurt some soft-bodied beneficial insects. Apply the answer solely onto plant surfaces, in a roundabout way into the soil.
  • Neem oil may be harmful when ingested by infants or small children, generally inflicting diarrhea, vomiting, or seizures.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is produced from fossilized skeletons of microscopic aquatic organisms. Their skeletons are manufactured from silica, a pure substance that makes up a part of Earth’s crust.

This natural pest management methodology works at a microscopic stage, performing like tiny items of glass that kill bugs when utilized immediately on the crops. The sharp particles lower soft-body bugs like aphids and caterpillars inflicting them to dehydrate and finally die. Diatomaceous earth additionally works on hard-bodied bugs like cockroaches, fleas, and beetles when the silica finds its approach into the bug’s joints.

Diatomaceous Earth


  • The sharp edges that kill roaches and beetles may also kill bugs we depend on to pollinate our gardens, comparable to ladybugs, bees, and butterflies. Keep away from utilizing it on and close to flowers and crops the place pollinators shall be visiting.
  • Diatomaceous earth may be harmful to people, irritating your nasal passages. It may well additionally dry out and irritate your pores and skin and eyes.

Corn Gluten Meal

Extension brokers at Cornell University suggest utilizing corn gluten meal to inhibit the germination of weeds, noting it additionally wards off pests that feed on herbs. Corn gluten meal is innocent to people.

It might take a few weeks, however corn gluten meal is a pure technique to management ants in your backyard. These tiny critters take the crumbs to their nests and eat, however they can’t digest them.

Issues to notice

  • Many gardeners confuse corn gluten meal with cornmeal. The cornmeal in your pantry is not going to stop weeds. Corn gluten meal is a byproduct created when making cornmeal.
  • Extension brokers on the Oregon State University dispute Cornell’s claims about its potential to manage weeds, however they discovered it makes a superb fertilizer.

Floating Row Covers

Floating row covers manufactured from polypropylene- or polyester-based material, easy plastic covers, or canvas tarps assist management aphids, thrips, cabbage worms, squash bugs, and different pests. Additionally they deter squirrels, rabbits, birds, and different critters. The covers create a windbreak and retain warmth whereas letting within the water, air, and lightweight the crops must survive.

Floating row covers additionally assist management:

  • Caterpillars on broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage
  • Maggots on corn and beans
  • Beetles that wish to munch on eggplants, cabbage, potatoes, and cucumbers

Issues to notice

  • Light-weight covers don’t want supportive poles, are the least costly, and are appropriate for house gardens.
  • Medium-weight covers assist crops mature quicker. They’re greatest for lettuce, carrots, radishes, and candy corn.
  • Heavyweight covers shield in opposition to frosts and freezes.

Useful Nematodes

To not be confused with non-beneficial nematodes that may hurt your crops, beneficial nematodes are microscopic, non-segmented roundworms that may kill soil-dwelling bugs or bugs of their larvae or grub stage. They don’t hurt earthworms, however assault pests like Japanese beetle larvae, cutworms, root maggots, and grubs.

Beneficial nematodes offers you greatest ends in small gardens since you have to apply the right amount at the right time to ensure that them to work. Apply them too early within the season, and also you run the chance of them dying if the bottom temperature drops too low. Apply them too late, and also you danger the warmth killing them. The nematodes must be utilized to the soil when pests are current within the soil.

Useful nematodes are tiny roundworms that kill bugs of their larvae or grub stage. Supply: CSIRO, CC BY 3.0, by way of Wikimedia Commons


  • Useful nematodes are a biological pest control methodology that may take longer to work than chemical pesticides. You might not see a lower within the pest inhabitants till two weeks after the appliance, and chances are you’ll must reapply the nematodes to your backyard each seven to 10 days.
  • Since nematodes reside creatures, they’ve a restricted shelf life and should be stored at a cool temperature.
  • It’s essential to apply the species of nematode that’s the right dimension for the pest you’re controlling.
  • Nematodes can die from publicity to daylight or from drying out within the warmth. Apply them within the morning or night time when the soil is cool and moist

Mom Nature Is aware of Finest

Companion Planting

Companion planting is the follow of rising sure crops collectively for the good thing about one or each of the crops. Some crops assist repel pests or lure pests away from different crops. Some present meals for sure bugs that management pests. Both approach, companion planting helps you management backyard pests with out the necessity for pesticides.

What kind of pests do you’ve gotten? There’s prone to be at the very least one herb or flower that deters that pest. For instance,

  • Marigolds appeal to bugs that kill aphids. Alliums and petunias additionally preserve aphids away.
  • Marigolds and petunias additionally repel leafhoppers, asparagus beetles, tomato hornworms, and squash bugs. Plant petunias subsequent to basil and your tomato crops.
  • Nasturtiums and chrysanthemums beat back aphids, beetles, ants, and cabbage loopers.
  • Carnivorous crops, comparable to pitcher crops, entice and eat bugs. These crops have advanced to avoid consuming beneficial pollinators.
  • Garlic and onions repel tomato worms. Tangy chives are additionally good to develop alongside tomatoes and carrots.


Pepper companion planting
Companion planting with pepper plant. Supply: Kazvorpal, CC BY-SA 3.0 by way of Wikimedia Commons

Not all bugs and bugs are dangerous to your backyard; many are pollinators which can be important to the survival of the crops. Through the use of pure pest-control strategies like companion planting, you possibly can deter undesirable bugs with out harming you, the planet, or the helpful animals and insects that assist your natural backyard flourish.

Need extra pure pest-control ideas? Try Bug Off (Naturally)! 7 Nontoxic Pest Control Remedies

In regards to the Writer

Todd MichaelsTodd Michaels is a conservationist with levels in biology and botany. He writes about eco-friendly landscaping and recycling efforts across the nation.


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