Once a pest management program is in place, you can consider what future tactics and treatment or combination of treatments will work most effectively on the problem.

Consider the least harmful and most natural solution first.

Cultivate a Pest Free Habitat

Removing opportunities for further damage may be all that is required for you to be satisfied with the results. You can minimize the potential of attracting pests in the first place by removing any welcoming place in your garden.
  • Clear debris from your yard, such as piles of wood where pests lurk
  • Add nutrients to soil, such as compost
  • Use native and disease resistant plant varieties

Try Companion Planting

Companion plants will protect other plants from weeds and pests if planted side by side.

For example:
  • Plant carrots, radishes and cucumbers near lettuce to protect it from bugs
  • Plant marigolds throughout the garden to repel many insects
  • Use aromatic plants such as chives, dill and mint to attract pollinators and ward off pests
  • Avoid overhead sprinkling in the evening, a major cause of mildew on sensitive plants

Use Manual Efforts

Be informed – find information on your plants from books, the Internet or garden centres.
  • Remove insects by brushing them away, putting out traps (for slugs), crushing by hand or using a forceful spray of water
  • Eliminate weeds by spreading mulches between plants or aggressively hand weeding

Natural Controls

Since the materials that make up natural treatments are already found in nature, some tend to be more effective for longer periods of time and pests may not build up a resistance.
  • Insecticides in the form of soap can be used to wash leaves and eliminate pests and diseases
  • Make a natural fungicide (one tablespoon each of baking soda and horticultural oil diluted in four litres of water and sprayed on the leaves) to eliminate fungal diseases on plants such as black spot (rose bushes), blight (tomato plants), mildew and rust

Encourage Biological Controls

Pest Predators are beneficial creatures that are busy working the soil, pollinating crops and feeding on (or inhabiting) pest insects. They include:
    Predator insects such as flower flies, spiders, ground beetles, honeybees, and ladybugs
  • Parasites that lay their eggs inside the eggs or bodies of host insect pests – when the eggs hatch, the parasites kill the host
  • Vertebrates such as birds, frogs, snakes, bats, mice, moles and squirrels – they snack on eggs, larvae, pupae and adult insects, mites and slugs

Use Biologically Derived Pesticides

  • Pheromones made from excreted body fluids of the targeted pest, lure pests into traps
  • Juvenile insect hormones interfere with growth and reproductive functions of pests
© Image courtesy of Darlisa Black