Top Organic Pest Control Products

Learn about organic pest control products when cultural controls cannot keep garden pests at bay.

| February/March 2006

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all organic remedy for destructive insects. Instead, you should tailor your plan of attack to the pest itself, while also considering potential risks to beneficial insects and other wildlife. Or, you can choose to do nothing at all. In the vegetable garden, light insect feeding causes little or no loss of productivity, and having a few pest species present helps to support populations of beneficial insects. The pests below are grouped according to control measures that are known to work well.

Top Organic Pest Control Products

Cabbageworms, mosquito larvae, army worms, tomato hornworms and other leaf-eating caterpillars

Organic Pest Control Products: Products made from naturally occurring Bacillus thuringiensis, often abbreviated as Bt, such as Dipel Dust and Gnatrol. After the insects eat the bacteria, their guts rupture and they die. It’s important to note that sunlight degrades Bt after a few hours. Some Bt products include genetically modified strains; products listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) include only naturally occurring forms.

Aphids (except green peach aphid), mealybugs

Organic Pest Control Products: Insecticidal soap, such as Safer Insect Killing Soap, which breaks down the pests’ protective cuticles so they quickly become dehydrated. Repeat applications may be needed, and leaf tissues of some plants may be damaged, especially in very hot weather.

Mites, scale

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