Can You Help Solve the Most Challenging Garden Pest Problems?

| 9/9/2009 11:34:28 AM

From our surveys we know that MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers use mostly organic methods, but most of us have encountered some problems where organic options we’ve tried have not worked and we’ve been tempted to resort to heavy-duty chemical pesticides. If you have a pest problem you haven’t been able to solve, post a comment below outlining what organic remedies did not work for you, and maybe other readers will be able to suggest additional organic options to try.


5/19/2015 7:53:40 AM

remember the SCARECROW? I lived for years in Mississippi. My ranch hand set one up to scare away deer. Gophers.birds that go for the seeds. Etc. not sure what else but that's a hand me down from generations. Mine had an aluminum pie pan attached to it that fluttered in the wind. . Now I'm (back) in N CAlif. I found an organic repellant for gophers. It has castor oil in it. They don't like the smell. I've always planted lots of marigolds. Use the dead flower crushed around the plants work as well. Marigolds smell, to me, slightly of rotting flesh. : ). Sacred to the Mayans Diatamatious earth is a sure bet. must be reapplied after rain is a great repellent. However, here in Marin County there does not seem to b any bugs. Its kind of freaking me out. There were way too many in Mississippi, but oddly I miss them. Especially the wolf spiders and walking sticks. But as my garden grows I'm sure I'll be meeting them.

Sam Duncan
12/13/2010 8:26:19 PM

Orchid Care is my area interest and I have tried a few things in my time when dealing with scale insects, but the most effective solution I found was over at where they recommend applying rubbing alcohol to the individual infestation areas. Scale insects, will instantly die and the plant will not be harmed. This method also works on mealybug. Although the site is about orchids, they have heaps of relevant information such as using "white oil". Its very good for scale, aphids, smooth skinned caterpillars, mites. Here’s how it’s done: 1. Combine 2 cups of vegetable oil with ½ cup of dish washing liquid. Mix well. This becomes the concentrate and can be stored in a jar. Be sure to label it and include the dilution rate on the label. 2. To prepare the concentrate for use, dilute 1 tablespoon in a liter of water, mix it well and spray the pest as well as both sides of the foliage thoroughly. 3. Be careful to follow the correct dilution, since you can burn the foliage if it’s too strong. Also,don’t apply it in hot weather, and avoid plants with hairy foliage as well as ferns, palms and cycads. 4. Regular applications will also help protect your plants from many common pests.

12/12/2010 11:20:41 PM

I've found that other insects (beneficial insects) are often the best "insecticides" in the garden. I personally use praying mantises and lady bugs and have found them to be great at keeping away the bothersome insects. As far as slugs and snails go, I've found that using copper strips stops them from climbing onto flowers - and I've used this method for my orchids for a while now and had no issues. I got that little trick from and I can confirm that pyrethrins, although natural, are not good for bees at all...

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