The presence of a pest is never a good thing especially if you’re growing a garden or trying to keep your home safe and secure to live in. A pest is any unwanted plant, animal, or organism that causes damage to a plant or crop and structures. Some of the known pests include weeds, termites, ants, and cockroaches. These pests have caused thousands of damage in one’s property and have wasted the valuable time and effort of the people owning these properties.
The growing concern on these pests has led many companies to come up with products and services targeted towards getting rid of them. Some of these approaches are more aggressive than the typical practices and need expertise of pest control specialists while some can be done at home. Usually, pest control is done after assessment of the damage and type of pests involved, getting in depth with the causative agent (e.g. getting to know the habits and behavior of pests), and studying the options available.
Usually, if the damage or pest infestation is still controllable, the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach is being used. This approach makes use of the basic knowledge on the pest’s habitat, behavior, and diet. You are using the IPM approach if your methods of getting rid of pests include removing their natural source of food, blocking their entry, or making use of organic pest control.
Chemical vs. Organic Pest Control
Each time the issue on pest control is being brought about, there will always be comparison in which one is better: chemical or organic pest control. In the IPM approach to pest control, chemical pest control can be suggested if there is severe damage brought about by pests or if there is heavy pest infestation. However, the use of chemical pest control has been controversial. Studies have revealed that using chemical products for getting rid of pests isn’t always a good idea. Its use has the following disadvantages:
Threat to Human Health
As the name implies, chemical pest control makes use of chemicals to get rid of pests. Many of these chemicals pose a threat to human health especially among the too young or too old population. In some cases, the use of chemical pest control triggers asthma attack and is pointed out as one of the root causes of some of the respiratory diseases. Also, the use of these chemical products is detrimental for any household with members who have weak immune system.
Killing the Beneficial Organisms
Many property owners and garden growers fail to realize that using chemical pest control could pose more threat than provide benefits. It turns out that many of these chemicals could also kill beneficial organisms. In turn, this could lead to more pests as there’s already an alteration in the ecological balance.
Contamination in the Environment
One of the biggest disadvantages of using chemical pest control is its contamination in the environment. Regardless of their form (liquid, solid, or gas), these chemical products could get deeper into the soil and contaminate the crops, the water as well as the air. When this happens, even the harmless organisms in the surrounding area are affected. If they feed on plants that grow in the chemically-treated soil, drink from contaminated water, or even breathe, they could die out of it.
These commercially-made chemical products only become effective when they are used properly. If handlers of the chemicals were not able to apply it correctly, then there’s greater chance of developing pest resistance. This is the least thing that you’d like to happen as it costs more money and would take more time and effort.
Poisoning Hazards to the User
Chemical pest control does not only kill pests but could also pose a threat of poisoning to the one using it. If the one using it do not have the necessary experience or does not read the instructions well, then there’s greater chance of posing more harm than good on him/her.
Because of these threats, many environmentalist groups have made actions to discourage the use of these chemicals in getting rid of pests. What they strongly advocate instead is the use of organic pest control for getting rid and controlling the infestation of these pests. The use of organic pest control has the following advantages:
One of the main advantages of using organic pest control is affordability. Compared to chemical pest control, the use of organic products is always cheaper. In fact, some of the products that you can use to naturally get rid of pests can be found right inside your home and even in your garden itself.
Provides a Win-Win Situation
In the use of chemical pest control, you could win over those pests but it has detrimental effects on your health, environment, and the existence of harmless organisms. This is clearly a win-lose situation. With organic pest control, you get to get rid of the pests without exposing yourself and the environment to unnecessary threats.
The use of organic pest control is considered to be generally safe. So, if you have sickly household members, the use of organic pest control is highly recommended. It’s also a method that can be employed by those who have kids at home or with members that couldn’t tolerate the smell of chemical pesticides.
Different Types of Organic Pest Control
There are so many ways on how you could get rid of the pests whether they are in your garden or at home. Some of the most effective natural methods of getting rid of pests are outlined below.
Organic Pest Control in Your Garden
If you’re growing a garden, the presence of pests can be a real headache. This is especially true if you have dedicated an ample amount of time and your effort in growing it. You can keep your garden free from pests without posing threats to harmless organisms, environment, and even to yourself through organic pest control. Below are the best organic pest control agents in your garden:
Floating Row Covers
Floating row covers pertain to a translucent fabric that serves as a barrier against known pests in the garden. The good thing about these covers is that it’s thick and sturdy enough to protect your plants from pests such as the beetles, hornworm, and even aphids but the material still allows light to pass through; thus, it doesn’t compromise the growth of your plants. These row covers are available in various thickness levels and could be bought from any garden supplies shop.
As the name implies, the sticky traps are made of a sticky substance in a color that’s highly attracted to the insects that they’re designed to get rid of. Some examples of pests that can be controlled with its use include the white flies, aphids, thrips, and beetles. In order for these traps to become effective, they must be placed strategically and must be clean before use.
Unlike pesticides, insecticidal soap doesn’t contain harmful chemicals. It is made of long-chain fatty acids that could dissolve the cuticle of insects, eventually leading to their death. If you’re having problems with aphids, mites, and even bugs, you may want to consider the use of this soap.
These are naturally-occurring organisms. When insects feed on them, they release bacteria that act as a poison, eventually killing its host. You can purchase these nematodes which are proven to be effective against weevils, cutworms, and army worms.
Organic Pest Control at Home
Organic pest control is not only available for use for pests in the garden. There are also these natural methods for controlling pests at home.
For the Ants
If you’re having problems with ants, then you can try the following strategies:
• Soapy Water. An inexpensive yet effective way of getting rid of ants is the use of soapy water. Simply combine liquid soap and water in a spray bottle and you’re good to go. Use this on areas infested by ants.
• Cucumber. You can place thin slices of cucumber (bitter cucumber is better) on areas frequented by ants. The latter naturally dislike the cucumber.
• Spices. Cayenne pepper is a natural ant deterrent. Trace their entry and exit points and simply sprinkle cayenne pepper on its trail.
• Diatomaceous Earth. If there is heavy infestation of ants, you can make use of diatomaceous earth. Simply put them on areas where ants usually gather and you’ll instantly see a difference in the ants’ behavior.
• Tea Bags. For tea lovers out there, this is good news. To naturally get rid of ants, you can simply put mint tea bags near the areas where ants gather.
Dust mites can be a problem for those households with members suffering from asthma or allergic reaction. Natural methods of getting rid of dust mites include:
• Tannic Acid. This substance is believed to neutralize the allergens possessed by dust mites. You can easily buy tannic powder in any health food shops.
• Preventive Measures. Most of the natural strategies that can be used for getting rid of dust mites involved preventive measures. These include vacuuming mattresses and even the pillows and regular washing of the beddings.
Cockroaches, which often thrive in areas where there is moisture and food, are threats to one’s home especially on the aspect of health. They are known to be scavengers and feed in almost anything. They are potential vectors of pathogenic microorganisms which could lead to a myriad of diseases. To naturally get rid of them, you can use the following strategies:
• Diatomaceous Earth. It turns out that this substance isn’t just deadly for ants but as well for roaches. It attacks the waxy exoskeleton of these pests leading to dehydration and eventually to death. This could kill roaches within 48 hours.
• Catnip. This is a natural yet effective means of getting rid of roaches. Catnip has an active ingredient called nepetalactone that repels roaches naturally. Simply place sachets of catnip in areas where you usually spot the roaches and you’ll see how they could easily get rid of them.
• Soapy Water. It turns out that this simple to make solution is also effective against roaches. It may take some time though for it to work.
Getting rid of pests doesn’t have to involve practices that could harm both the environment and one’s health. It can be a win-win situation (you kill the pests without causing harm to other aspects of ecology) through organic pest control. Nature has provided more than enough means of getting rid of these pests.