Plant Pest Control: Indoor & Outdoor Solutions

aphids on rose stem

A host of garden-crashing regulars can make your lawn look less than radiant. Aphids, beetles, slugs, gophers, rabbits, prairie dogs and groundhogs love feeding off of your hard work in the garden. But instead of letting them have the upper hand, you can take control with some at-home plant pest control remedies. Tried-and-true pesticides like Bayer Advanced or Bonide All Seasons can be used to spray down your indoor and outdoor plants to keep critters away. But if you’re looking for a more environmentally friendly approach for dealing with your pest problems, check out our green solutions and prevention methods below.

Green Pest Control Solutions

A natural approach to keeping pests away is the use of strong-smelling plants, like garlic, onions, chives and scallions. A simple home remedy of crushed garlic cloves mixed with water in a spray bottle can be used to spritz your indoor and outdoor plants. The pungent smell deters pests like aphids and rodents from entering your garden. Another spray concoction you can easily mix is ammonia and water. Ammonia is great because it kills bugs while simultaneously providing essential nitrogen nutrients to the soil. One other eco-friendly approach is to buy a case of praying mantis eggs from a pest control shop and allow these garden-friendly critters to do your pest clean-up for you. Praying mantises eat aphids, flies, grasshoppers, moths, crickets and houseflies. Ladybugs and green lacewings can also help with your garden cleanup by eating away your unhealthy bug problem for you. (Note: Praying mantises may also eat some of your edible garden plants or vegetables, so check with an expert at the pest control store to see if your garden is a suitable place for this solution.) For slug onslaughts, you can trap them with a shallow container filled with beer. Snails and slugs will be attracted to the smell and find a way to crawl in, but then they get stuck and you can toss them out all at once.

Plant Pest Control Prevention Methods

You can use pesticides and other spot treatments to kill a pest problem that already exists, but you can also make a few improvements on your property that will help keep the problem from coming back. Start by doing a cleanup of your land. Critters like hiding out inbrush, weeds, rubble and any other places that provide easy cover. This includes high grasses - so remember to regularly mow your lawn. Once you remove these hiding spots, you will hopefully force any unwanted garden visitors to seek other easy hiding places outside of your yard.

Trim the Trees, Please

Next, you’ll want to check that you don’t have any trees hanging too close or touching your roof. If you do, that tree is a perfect bridge for insects to get into your roof andyou’ll need to trim the branches back to a lateral branch. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, you can check out Roofing Networks to find an experienced local roofer to do the job for you. On the same note, check to see that shrubs and other plants are cut back a foot or more from your house walls. This will help discourage critters from hanging out too close to your home and the plants inside.

Keep Critters away with Caulk

Lastly, check all around your home for cracks and openings around doors, windows and any other areas where pests can sneak in. If you have old weather stripping, it’s worth replacing because it will keep cold, wet and bugs out so that your home’s furniture, plants and thermostat can be more easily maintained. You can use caulk to seal cracks and openings around pipes, wires, windows and pretty much anywhere else a bug might get through, both outside and inside your home.

A final change you might want to make in your garden is to plant things that are inherently pest-resistant, such as sweet potatoes and lantana. Proper maintenance and keeping an eye out for necessary spot treatments should be all that’s needed to make sure your garden stays beautiful and pest-free.

Author Sirena Rubinoff is a writer based in California. She specializes in budget decorating solutions. Ask Sirena how to decorate for less.

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