Continued from page 1
Live traps can be used for smaller rodents and rabbits. Bait traps with a small amount of peanut butter, check them regularly, and transport any captured animals to another location immediately. Wear plastic gloves when handling live traps to prevent exposure to diseases carried by rodents and their parasites. Sticky insect traps and lures are another good pest control. Paint a thick piece of cardboard a bright color to attract pest, and coat with a sticky substance such as Stick-em or Tanglefoot.
Electronic Pest Control
There are several electronic pest control devices available on market as well, including electric fences, motion detecting water sprayers, and ultrasonic noisemakers that humans can’t hear, but that garden pests find annoying. There are some units on market that allow you to adjust unit to pest you are trying to drive away, without bothering other critters you would like to have around.
Electric fencing can be installed around perimeter of yard. Some of these products claim to be strong enough to deter deer from entering garden, but weak enough that they do not hurt family pets.
Moles feed on earthworms and grubs, not plants, which can make them a benefit to gardens, but as part of their natural activity, moles tunnel through soil, causing damage to delicate plant roots. Battery or solar operated devices can be placed in ground to help deter moles from burrowing in your garden. Place a few around garden to prevent these pests from making paths in a new area.
Insects that prey upon garden pests are called beneficial insects. In nature these insects keep garden pests under control. Encourage beneficial bugs by avoiding use of commercial pesticides as these are usually non-discriminatory and will kill good and bad bugs alike. A small number of pests in garden will encourage those beneficial bugs to stick around and multiply, making your work easier.
Ladybugs are natural enemies of aphids. Green lacewing in larvae stage feeds on thrips, mites, aphids, and various other insect eggs. Trichogramma wasps are effective against corn earworm, tomato hornworm, and loopers. The tiny wasps are also a parasite to many kinds of caterpillars.
Sprays and Soaps
There are many organic pest control sprays you can make at home, as well as purchasing less harmful insecticidal soaps. Many of homemade sprays include ingredients such as garlic, onion, or cayenne pepper. A word of caution when using sprays intended to go directly on plants. Never apply sprays in heat of afternoon sun. The water can heat up very quickly and cause brown spots to appear on leaves.
Most gardeners have a connection with earth and enjoy wildlife and insects nature has provided…just not in garden! For those who prefer to practice organic pest control, there are many options. They may not work as well as pesticides in some cases, but they are a lot less harmful and can even add fun and beauty to your garden.
Karen Gross is a professional gardener and design consultant. She provides valuable tips and advice about seed companies, container gardening and other vegetable gardening topics.