How do I get Rid of Garden Insects?

Mary McMahon

There are a number of approaches that can be used to get rid of garden insects, including making the garden unfriendly to insects, using natural pest control methods, and applying pesticides to the garden to kill insect populations. People looking into methods for controlling insects might want to consider issues like cost, associated environmental issues, and the type of garden involved. For a vegetable garden, for example, using some pesticides is not recommended because it can make the plants unsafe to eat.

Ladybugs can be used to control insect pests.
Ladybugs can be used to control insect pests.

Keeping a garden free of debris, weeds, and standing water can help cut down on garden pests. By creating garden conditions that are not very friendly for insects, gardeners can reduce insect populations. In addition, using healthy plants and soils will also limit opportunities for pests. These steps can help prevent insect infestation in the first place, as well as reducing the severity of an insect invasion.

Companion planting pairs plants to their mutual advantage, such as scattering marigolds in a garden to reduce insect pests.
Companion planting pairs plants to their mutual advantage, such as scattering marigolds in a garden to reduce insect pests.

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Another option is natural pest control. Numerous organisms will eat garden insects that are unwanted. Ladybugs and beneficial nematodes are two excellent sources of natural pest control, and can be obtained through nurseries or ordered directly. Companion plants like onions, marigolds, basil, geraniums, mustard, coriander, mint, rosemary, parsley, and nasturtiums can repel garden insects. In cases of plants like mustard, it acts as a “trap crop” for garden pests, and the plants need to be removed and disposed of to protect the plants in the garden.

Using pesticides can be dangerous for children.
Using pesticides can be dangerous for children.

Garden pest management can also be accomplished with the help of pesticides. When using pesticides, it is important to select formulations appropriate to the insects invading the garden, and to follow directions carefully. People should be aware that pesticides can also harm beneficial garden insects in addition to potentially being dangerous for children and pets. It's important to use them as directed and to wash thoroughly after handling pesticides to avoid tracking them into the home or into areas of the garden where they were not applied.

Ladybugs can be used as a natural insecticide.
Ladybugs can be used as a natural insecticide.

Many gardeners find that a mix of methods is most effective for handling unwanted garden insects. Keeping the garden neat and tidy and preempting insect invasions with companion plantings, for example, can keep many insects at bay. If a small scale insect problem develops, controlling it by removing infected plants, introducing predatory insects, and being careful about tracking insects and eggs between different areas of the garden may resolve the insect problem. For large scale invasions, chemical pest control may be needed.

Inchworms and other insect larvae can be pests in the garden.
Inchworms and other insect larvae can be pests in the garden.
Planting basil in a garden can repel some insects.
Planting basil in a garden can repel some insects.
Coriander can repel insects.
Coriander can repel insects.

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