Organic pest control is a means of keeping insects and pests out of a garden without using synthetic products. Controlling pests naturally can be done biologically, culturally or chemically. Complete removal of the insect or pest, however, is not the goal of natural pest control. This could cause the extinction of helpful insects that ward off pests. The goal is to control the pests, and there are several ways to do this.
Biological pest control takes the responsibility away from the gardener. By attracting predators of the pests, these predators will take care of the pest according to nature. Natural pesticides include wasps, lady beetles and lacewings. Including nectar and flowers that produce pollen in a garden can attract these predators, which will naturally remove the pests.
Organic pest control can also be maintained by cultural means. Cultural, or environmental, controls consist of such methods as rotating or trapping crops, physically removing the insect or plant debris, choosing disease-resistant plants and keeping proper fertilization procedures. Crops planted as traps act as a decoy to the pests and keep them away from the crop that the gardener wants pest-free. When insects gather on the trap crop, the gardener can spray them or remove them by hand. Manually removing and destroying the pests from the gardener’s prized crops has also been proven to work as a method of organic pest control, especially if the infestation is small.
Before starting the garden each spring, all debris should be thoroughly cleaned, as insect eggs could be lurking nearby, waiting to invade the garden. Such fertilization methods can go a long way toward ensuring that organic pest control is effective. Additionally, the gardener may need to do research to determine which plants are least likely to be affected by disease. Smart crop choices may eliminate pests altogether.
Chemical-free pest control is always the preferred option, but if biological and cultural methods do not work, organic gardening supplies that are safe for the environment can be utilized. Two such products are insecticidal soaps and those containing pyrethrins, natural organic compounds that are potent to insects.
Organic pest control often involves a combination of biological, cultural and chemical methods. New products have come about recently, but ancient methods of controlling insects and pests go back to crop rotation patterns from medieval times. To maintain an organic garden, test different types of organic pest control methods and find the one that is most effective.