Garden Slug

How to Get Rid of Garden Pests

Growing a successful and productive garden is a lot of work. It can be rather frustrating to tend to your garden, only to watch a variety of bugs, insects, and other pests destroy it before you can harvest.

Before deciding to use chemical pesticides which may be harmful to the overall ecosystem of your garden, homeowners should consider using a natural approach to getting rid of those annoying plant-eaters and garden disturbers. Any number of homemade sprays and methods can be helpful in deterring garden pests from your yard, all while keeping your plants healthy.

To start, it is helpful to identify the particular pests that have invaded your yard or to discover common pests to your area so you know what you’re up against. Then, consider using a few of these tips to keep your plants thriving and bug-free.

1. Slow Down the Slugs

Slugs can be good at eating other bugs, but unfortunately they also tend to target your garden veggies. Fortunately there are a number of ways you can deter these slimy garden pests.

One way to keep the slugs from destroying your plants is by distracting them with copper flashing. The copper will give the slugs a slight electrical shock when they come in contact with it. This means that the copper will act as a barrier to keep the slugs out of the blocked off area or away from a particularly susceptible plant.

Because slugs have soft bodies, you can utilize certain materials as garden borders that the slugs would avoid coming in contact with. Try applying gravel or lava rock in strips around your plants or garden in order to keep the little slugs from crawling across and into your garden. Wood ashes are another good choice for this sort of slug warfare because not only are the ashes good for deterring these pests, but the potassium in the ashes is good for the soil too.




2. Avoiding Aphids

Aphids come in a variety of colors and are excellent at sucking the sap from new growth in a plant. Often, you can get rid of these garden pests simply by hosing them off, but you will need to be vigilant.

If you are looking for a method that is a little more effective and permanent, you could try creating your own aphid-repelling spray. For this method, you will be creating a blend of cooking oil, water, and dish soap. Mix approximately one cup of fresh cooking oil with a tablespoon of dish soap.

Then, dilute the mixture in a spray bottle by taking four teaspoons of the oil/soap mix and blending it with one pint of water. As you spray this on your vegetables, it can help keep aphids away, and also thrips, spider mites, and whiteflies. You should reapply this mixture to your plants once a week for the best results.

3. Utilize Citrus Peels

Citrus peels from lemons or oranges are a great way to add nitrogen to your compost pile, but they can also be used as garden defense. This method will not only deter garden pests, but it will also improve the health of your soil.

If you dry the peels first, you will be able to grind them up and sift the powder directly into the soil. This will make your entire garden more resistant to a bug invasion.

A whole orange peel is also able to help keep aphids and mosquitoes away. For this method, all you need to do is cut a slit in an orange peel and carefully slide it over an aphid-susceptible plant, or else simply rub the peels on the plants to act as a mosquito repellent. Even cats are supposedly deterred by citrus peel. Sprinkle leftover orange peels in spots where your or neighborhood cats tend to prowl.

4. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a powder made of fossilized bodies of tiny, aquatic organisms, also known as diatoms. The particles in diatomaceous earth are abrasive and excellent for deterring soft-skinned insects, such as slugs.

All you need to do is sprinkle the diatomaceous earth over plants and around the garden’s perimeter to control flea beetles, twig borer, thrips, cockroaches, ants, earwigs and spider mites. The sharp edges of the dirt dry out and kill these undesirable pests. It also works to destroy these pests if they ingest the diatomaceous earth.




5. Use Garlic on Your Garden Pests

Garlic, a seasoning we all have in our kitchen pantries, is surprisingly useful in the garden as well. If you are dealing with apple maggots, caterpillars, sowbugs, grasshoppers, grubs, leafminers, mealybugs or whiteflies, garlic spray is an effective and natural way to battle the bugs.

To make a natural garlic pesticide, you need to blend 12 cloves of garlic with one and a half cups of water. Strain the pulp and then dilute the strained garlic water with a gallon of water. Shake it well, and then use the mixture in a spray bottle once a week on your plants to keep the bugs away.

6. Use Your Chickens

If you keep a coop of chickens, know that you can use them for more than a food source. While you may want to keep your chickens out of your garden beds, you might consider constructing a chicken moat around your gardening area.

A chicken moat is essentially a strip of dry ground fenced in on both sides which surrounds the plants. This space allows for the chickens to go to town eating weeds and grasshoppers and any other bug or beetle attempting to enter your garden plot. This is an effective method for controlling the pest population while giving your chickens plenty to feast upon.

If you are a homeowner interested in more details on how to construct a good chicken moat, check out this blog post. The double fence has the advantage of keeping deer and rabbits away from your plants, as well.

7. Invite Friendly Birds

Hornworms and other bugs are destructive to your tomato plants and can easily gobble up leaf after leaf if left unchecked. To prevent this, try attracting birds to eat these worms by placing bird feeders or a bird bath around your vegetable garden.

Check your plants once or twice a day for hornworms, and if the birds aren’t getting them all, you can always create another homemade spray. Try mixing garlic, soap and cayenne pepper with water to spray over your plants for added protection. This green pesticide helps to keep the moths that lay hornworm eggs out of your garden.




8. The Five-Finger Trap

One of the most common, cheap, and effective ways a homeowner can get rid of squash bugs, slugs, Japanese Beetles and hornworms is handpicking. It is tedious and not for the squeamish, yes, but very effective because you can see exactly what bugs you are removing and from where.

If you happen to have chickens, you can feed the insects and critters to the chickens or hope that some local robins may come scoop up the handpicked pests. Handpicking, along with some of the other remedies in this series, is a great way to be sure you have a pest-free garden.


As you prepare your garden, find out which pests are common to your area, and then arm yourself with these natural remedies for keeping the bugs out of your vegetable beds. By following these tips, you will find that garden care isn’t so challenging after all.


Wasp

How to Get Rid of Wasps & Hornets Around Your Home

Wasps. The winged menace that take over patios and gardens all around the world. The evil cousin of the honey bee that fears no human.

Well, that’s their reputation, but an obvious exaggeration.

For the most part, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets generally try to avoid human interactions. Regardless, very few homeowners welcome the spring invasion of nests. It’s always preferable to ensure that these insects are kept away, especially if their nest is near a doorway or other area that increases your chances of crossing paths.

With this in mind, let’s discuss some methods that every homeowner should know to get rid of wasps, create an unwelcome environment, and, most importantly, help you avoid getting stung.

How to Keep Wasps Away From Your House

Like many other insects in your garden, wasps are going to go where they believe food is. So, if you want to limit the amount of wasps living near your home, then you need to attempt to limit their food source. This means ensuring that no food is left out in the open. Especially, sugar sweets and fruit.

During the summer, you may enjoy having a meal in your backyard. All that food can be rather enticing for wasps, yellow jackets and other insects. That is especially true if you have anything sweet in the vicinity such as an open can of soda or juice box. Always cover your drinks if you are outside.

Citronella Plant

Grow Plants That Wasps Don’t Like

A great way to prevent wasps from living around your home is to grow plants that will deter them. This is an ideal solution for homeowners that want to keep wasps at bay, while also adding beauty to their yard.

Generally, wasps do not go near the following plants:

  • Citronella
  • Mint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Wormwood

Incorporating these plants into your landscaping will help create an environment that wasps and hornets do not like. Therefore, they will likely look for another location to build their nest.

Bonus: A few of these plants also repel other pesky insects, such as mosquitoes.

Maintain Your Fruit Trees

Additionally, you want to be mindful if you have any fruit trees in your yard. Throughout the year, a piece of fruit may fall off and smash to the ground. With all the sweet juices now in the open, it can attract certain pests, including wasps.

Try not to make the area more appealing than it needs to be. Regularly inspect underneath your fruit trees and remove any pieces of fruit as soon as they hit the ground.

Create & Hang a Fake Nest

Wasp colonies are incredibly territorial. If wasps believe there is another colony already living in the area, then they are likely going to look elsewhere to make a home.

Hornet Nest

There are a couple of ways to accomplish this. The easiest method would be to buy a fake nest online. Or, you can make a fake nest with a brown paper bag.

How to make a fake wasp nest:

  1. Fill your brown paper bag with crumpled newspaper or debris.
  2. Close off the opening with sting or tape.
  3. Crumple the bag a little bit, to give it the appearance of a hornets nest.
  4. Hang it in the area where you don’t want wasps buzzing around.

This is a great way to deter wasps, as they will not want a confrontation with other colonies already living in the area.

Other Ways to Prevent Wasps From Living Near Your Home

While the food source is going to be the best method, there are a few other ways you can deter wasps and yellow jackets from living around your home.

  • Seal Cracks, Window Frames & Entry Points:

    Before summer comes around, you should thoroughly inspect your house to see if there are any cracks or other entry points in the siding. You should also inspect door and window frames to make sure there are no areas for wasps to get into.

  • Sweet Perfume:

    You also want to avoid wearing any sweet perfume during the summer. The scent you are emitting can attract the pests.

  • Bright Clothes:

    Finally, avoid wearing clothing that contains flower imagery or is generally bright. That can catch wasps’ attention, and they may curiously come to you to see if you are actually a flower.

TL;DR — If you do not give wasps a reason to buzz around your property, then they are probably going to go elsewhere and leave you alone.


General Tips to Removing a Nest

If you decide you want to get rid of a wasp nest on your own, then it would be wise to understand and follow these general tips.

Wasp Nest
  • Wear Protective Equipment:

    Keep yourself safe by wearing long sleeves, protective eyewear, and gloves. If you have a bee hat, that would be ideal. But, most homeowners will not have these.

  • Neutralize at Night:

    To ensure you kill the entire colony, as well as the queen, it is recommended that you exterminate the nest at dusk or night. Not only are wasps and hornets less aggressive at this time, but the entire colony will be back in the nest for the night.

  • Locate & Target the Opening:

    If possible, try to locate the opening of the nest. This will usually be located near the bottom. Spray your soapy water or pesticide in this area first, and then target the rest.

  • Do Not Stand Below the Nest:

    Most wasps and hornets will fall the moment they get sprayed. Because of this, you should not stand directly below the nest, unless you want to be exposed to chemicals or get stung by falling wasps.


4 Methods to Kill & Remove Wasps

In the event that you notice wasps, hornets or yellow jackets buzzing around your home, then your already beyond prevention. You’ll need to find a way to remove them.

The easy way would be to simply spray them with pesticide. But, do you really want to spend money to spray a poisonous substance around your home? Instead, try using a few of these tips to help you get rid of wasps naturally.

1) Spray With Soapy Water

An easy, DIY alternative to spraying pesticide is to create a solution of dish soap and hot water. Spray this onto the nest. This is the recommended first step that every homeowner should try. This will kill the wasps naturally and, most of the time, instantaneously.

How to Make:

  1. Mix solution in a spray bottle.
  2. For every cup of hot water, you’ll want to add 2-3 oz of dish soap.
  3. Shake vigorously.
  4. Spray directly onto nest while the water is still hot.
  5. Run.

Stay mindful of your escape route. Once you apply the soapy water, it is likely that you will agitate the hornet nest and they may try to attack. You could also try mixing in other detergents that are around your home.

Benefits:

  • Safe for all occupants and pets.
  • Cheap and easy to make.
  • Likely, you already have all supplies.
How to Get Rid of Hornets Nest

2) Suck Them Up With A Vacuum

Another easy way to remove wasps are to suck them into your vacuum cleaner. Most homeowners have a vacuum in their home, making this a zero cost way to remove adult insects.

Simply use the attachment hose, get close to the nest and turn it on. This will suck the adult wasps into the vacuum, containing them in an area where they pose no risk to you. Of course, this means you have to be brave enough to get close to the nest.

Benefits:

  • Costs nothing.

Disadvantages:

  • Need to get close to the nest, and are more likely to get stung.
  • You still need to destroy the nest.

3) Set Up Traps

If you don’t want to go near a nest and risk getting stung, you should consider setting up a few traps. There are a variety of different traps that will work.

You will want to hang these traps in areas where you, your family and your guests are not going near.

These traps consist of sweet-smelling solutions so wasps and other pests go to it and end up getting stuck. You can purchase wasp nests or make your own if you want to make it a DIY project.

  • Glue Trap — Widely available online and at many retailers, this type of trap is covered in sticky adhesive that makes it difficult, if not entirely impossible, for wasps to fly away after they’ve landed on it. While an effective method, this type of trap is often criticized due to its ability to trap other insects and the slow nature in which they die.
  • Bait & Lure Trap — Another trap you can use is a bait and lure trap. There are many versions available, including a few you can make yourself, but they all essentially accomplish the same task: Use bait to lure a wasp into the trap, where they are unable to escape.

How to Make Your Own Wasp Trap

  1. Cut the top off of a plastic 2-liter bottle.
  2. Fill the bottom part with sugary water.
  3. Turn the top part upside down, with the bottle top pointing downward.
  4. This configuration makes it difficult for a wasp to fly out.

4) Spray Nest With Insecticide

If the above methods fail or you just prefer to start with a commercial insecticide, here are some general tips you should know before you buy.

  • Active Ingredient:

    It’s important that you get an pyrethrin or pyrethroid insecticide. The EPA has tested and determined that these “do not pose risk concerns for children or adults.”

  • Look Closely at the Label:

    The words on the label are important. If you’re trying to kill wasps or hornets, make sure to buy an insecticide that is specially formulated for these pests. These will typically have “WASP” prominently displayed.

  • Caution vs. Warning:

    Another important factor are the “signal words” on the label. Insecticides labeled with “Caution” are going to pose less of a risk to humans than those labeled with “Warning.” Either way, they’re both toxic. With this in mind, you should always exercise caution and take measures to protect yourself while using any insecticide.


Final Thoughts

Keep in mind: Simply knocking down a nest is not a complete solution. The remaining wasps will build a new one.

These are a few of the tips to get rid of wasps around your home. However, despite your best efforts, the day may come when you get stung. Clean the site immediately when this occurs. You may need to apply some antihistamine if it begins to hurt. In the event you have an allergic reaction to a wasp sting, you need to seek medical attention immediately.