Organic garden pest control uses a combination of preventative methods. First, support the natural ecosystems within your yard. Some bugs and insects occur naturally and are beneficial to your yard. The easiest way to distinguish the good from the bad is to simply remember the three P’s: pollinators, predators and parasites.
Pollinators, such as honeybees, fertilize flowers, which increases the productivity of all flowering plants in your garden and yard. Worried about bees stinging? Bees will rarely sting when it is away from the colony foraging on pollen, nectar or water.
Predators, such as ladybugs and soldier bugs, consume pest insects as food. Parasites use pests as nurseries for their young. On any given day, all three P’s are feeding on pests or on flower pollen and nectar in a diversified garden. If you recognize these good bugs, it’s easier to appreciate their work and understand why it’s best not to use broad-spectrum herbicides.
A second way to keep your pest population under control is by adding plants to attract beneficial insects. A general rule of thumb is to designate between 5 and 10 percent of your garden space to plants that bring in beneficial insects. Plant so that there are blooms year-round — the beneficial insects will not stay or survive through a season if no food is available. Using this continuous-bloom feature, your garden or farm will be beautiful year-round with a variety of colorful blooms and humming insects.
Although there are natural products for controlling insects, intervention by such means should be a last resort. Pesticides — even organic varieties — are not the safest, healthiest or most effective natural pest control options. Instead, adding certain plants that encourage biodiversity and creating a healthy population of beneficial garden insects can act as Mother Nature’s best organic pest control.