Natural Pest Insect Control

by Grant Estrade, Laughing Buddha Nursery

Repellents

There are various repellents that may be used to deter pest insects from even wanting to go near your plants. The most popular and effective are those that are pepper or garlic based. The repellents must be used before insect infestation occurs because once the insects make themselves at home they will be very hard to get rid of with the use of repellents and other methods must be used.

Pesticides

The organic pesticides are extremely safe to use and are highly effective. Insects must be identified because organic pesticides are more selective than conventional (toxic) sprays. We simply do not approach pest control from a “kill everything that moves” paradigm. Once insects are identified the best solution can be used.

bad-bug
bad bug!
  • For snails and slugs use Sluggo (iron phosphate)
  • For Caterpillars and Cutworms (nocturnal caterpillars) use BT (Bacillus thuringiensis).
  • For soft body insects such as Mealy Bugs, Aphids, Scale, White Fly, Leafminer, Thrips and Spider Mites use oil sprays such as Organocide (Sesame & Fish Oils).
  • For Hard Bodied Insects such as Stink Bugs and Ants use Pyrethrin Powder or spray.
  • For Mosquitos use a strong repellent Garlic spray such as Mosquito Barrier or bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis to kill their larvae.
  • For Japanese Beetle Grubs that attack your turf use Milky Spore Powder (Bacillus popilliae).
  • For cockroaches, silverfish, fleas, etc inside the home Pyrethrin “bombs” can be used safely and effectively as well as Boric Acid.

Beneficial Insects

good-bug
good bug!

The two most popular and effective beneficials that are available for purchase are Beneficial Nematodes (worms not insects) or Ladybugs. Beneficial Nematodes are used for control of fleas, beetle grubs, and mole crickets. Lady Bugs are used to control soft body insects.

Other Methods

Biodiversity: Use a diverse selections of plants to create a balanced ecosystem that contains natural checks and balances.
Mechanical: How simple is this? Use your hand, some other tool, or spray with the garden hose to knock some pest right of the plant.
Traps: There are traps available for leafminer, beetles , thrip, aphids, and whitefly. The traps are hung from plants in the garden to control adult populations of the insects.

More Info:

Visit Laughing Buddha Nursery for organic pest controls (including live ladybugs!)

LSU Ag Center’s Best Pest Management Practices

ExtremelyGreen.com’s Organic Pest Control Guide

Texas A & M’s Plant Pest Identification Aid

Mac’s Field Guide Southeast Good & Bad Garden Bugs