If you have a garden, then you know that there are many different types of pests that can get in your garden and destroy your plants. There are insects as well as other animals, weeds, and other unwanted plants, and there are even fungi and bacteria that can destroy plants. One of the most common ways to keep these pests away is to use a pesticide (a broad category that also includes fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, and rodenticides), but many of these things are harmful to the environment. Fortunately, there are several natural ways to keep pests out of your garden, backyard, and front lawn.
#1: Carrier Oils and Essential Oils
Carrier oils are plant-based oils that have no scent or aren’t as heavily scented as essential oils. Essential oils are also plant-based, but they’re highly potent— which makes them great natural repellents for pests.
Some examples of carrier oils and what they repel include:
● Jojoba oil is a popular oil used as a fungicide for soil.
● Neem oil is very good at repelling a variety of insects, and it also makes a good fungicide.
Examples of essential oils that repel pests include:
● Basil oil to repel deer and other animals.
● Cinnamon oil to repel fungi and insects.
● Citrus oil (bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, tangerine, etc.) to repel ants.
● Eucalyptus oil repels bees, flies, and wasps.
It’s important to note that even though these oils are natural, they shouldn’t be ingested. Both carrier and essential oils can be toxic when ingested, and essential oils can cause skin irritation if they’re not diluted. You can dilute essential oils with carrier oils or with water.
#2: Flowers, Herbs, and Plants
If you’re wary of using essential oils as natural repellants, you can simply plant the herb or plant in your garden instead of using the oil. Planting basil and eucalyptus in your garden alongside your other plants give off the aroma that many pests hate. You can also plant lavender and mint, as these two plants are also great at repelling insects and other bugs. You can also plant edible plants (basil is edible too) in your garden that will help ward off pests:
● Arugula is known to repel many different animals.
● Chili peppers repel a variety of pests.
● Garlic repels animals, rodents, and insects.
● Onion also repels a variety of bugs.
If you have a flower bed and find that weeds are taking over, you can plant some additional flowers and plants that are good at keeping weeds from taking over. These include:
● Creeping juniper
● Creeping thyme
● Lily of the Valley
Tea made from chrysanthemum flowers is also very good at getting rid of insects. However, if you have small children and/or pets, keep in mind that chrysanthemums and many other plants and flowers are toxic to them if they ingest them.
#3: Household Essentials and Food Sources
If you have pets and/or small children and you’re still wary about using certain plants as natural pesticides, don’t worry! There are some common household items and foods that you probably already have that make great pest repellants.
● Baking soda mixed with water and dish detergent and sprayed on the leaves of your plants prevents fungus from growing on them.
● Castille soap mixed with water and citrus oil can be used on ants, roaches, and slugs.
● Milk diluted with water and poured into the soil prevents mold.
● Mineral oil mixed with water dehydrates both insects and their eggs.
● Himalayan pink salt mixed with water treats a spider mite infestation.
Keep in mind that many of these remedies that are used on insects and bugs can actually kill them, rather than keep them away from your garden. If you don’t want to harm them, stick to the remedies that repel them (such as the essential oils and herbs), rather than the ones that can kill them.
Not only are natural pesticides good for the environment, but they’re also non-toxic and won’t negatively affect your health in any way. Most pesticides contain harmful chemicals that can cause mild symptoms such as eye, skin, and throat irritation, to more severe illnesses such as cancer and even death. Even two popular herbicides, Paraquat and Glyphosate are known to cause Parkinson’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, respectively. To learn more you can also read about Paraquat Linked To Parkinson’s Disease.
Many of these natural deterrents are available in your refrigerator, cupboard, or you’re able to grow them in your garden. Either way, they’re all a much safer alternative than chemical-based pesticides.