Information About Pesticides

Larvicide Treatment Tips: How And When To Use Larvicide

By Mary Ellen Ellis

There are many ways to deal with pests in the yard or garden. If you have standing water, larvicides can be a good option in addition to preventative practices. Know the pros and cons before you use larvicides in your garden. Click here to learn more.

How And When To Use Permethrin: Applying Permethrin In The Garden

By Amy Grant

What is permethrin? If you’ve had problems with garden pests, then you’ve probably heard of it. Permethrin is usually used for pests in the garden but may also be used as an insect repellent on clothing and tents. Click this article to learn about permethrin in the garden.

Sticky Trap Pest Control: Information About Using Sticky Traps

By Mary Ellen Ellis

Pests in the garden can be a real problem. There are many solutions to dealing with unwanted insects, and each has benefits and drawbacks. Sticky traps for bugs may work for your needs. Click this article for more information on indoor and outdoor sticky trap use.

Azadirachtin Vs. Neem Oil – Are Azadirachtin And Neem Oil The Same Thing

By Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

What is azadirachtin insecticide? Are azadirachtin and neem oil the same? These are two common questions for gardeners seeking organic or less toxic solutions to pest control. We’ll explore the relationship between neem oil and azadirachtin insecticide in this article.

Plants And Fumigation – Tips On Protecting Plants During Fumigation

By Darcy Larum, Landscape Designer

Sometimes, it's not our gardens that need pest control, it is our homes. Exterminators must be brought in to fumigate infestations. As you prepare for the extermination date, you may wonder "will fumigation kill plants in my landscape?" Find out here.

Nematicide Information: Using Nematicides In Gardens

By Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

What are nematicides, and what do you need to know about using nematicides in gardens? In simple terms, nematicides are chemicals used to kill nematodes - tiny, parasitic worms that live in water or soil. Looking for more nematicide information? Click here.

What Is Pyola: Using Pyola Oil Spray For Pests In Gardens

By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Finding safe and effective yard treatments for pests can be a challenge. Pyola is a brand name, all-natural formula that is effective on some problem pests. What is Pyola? Find out here in the article that follows.

When To Apply Pesticides: Tips On Using Pesticides Safely

By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

It might seem that the best time to use a pesticide is right when you see pesky insects. However, a few rules do apply and timing is also an important issue. Learn when to apply pesticides and some safe tricks and tips in this article.

Uses For Diatomaceous Earth – Diatomaceous Earth For Insect Control

By Stan V. Griep, American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian, Rocky Mountain District

Have you ever heard of diatomaceous earth or DE? If not, this article will provide information and tips on using diatomaceous earth in the garden so you can take advantage of all its benefits.

Learn More About Pesticides And Pesticide Labels

By Stan V. Griep, American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian, Rocky Mountain District

Pesticides are something we use in our garden all the time. But what are pesticides? Why should we pay close attention to pesticide labels? And what are the dangers? Read here to learn the answers.

Helping Your Plants With A Neem Oil Foliar Spray

By Heather Rhoades

Finding safe, non-toxic pesticides for the garden that actually work can be a challenge. Neem oil insecticide is everything a gardener could want. What is neem oil? Learn more about it in this article.

What are pesticides?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines pesticides as any chemical substance used to regulate, prevent or destroy plants or pests – usually insects, rodents or microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria – or that acts as a nitrogen stabilizer in soil.

Why the Guardian is launching a major reader-funded project on the toxicity of modern life

Welcome to Toxic America – a Guardian project which will explore the health implications of living in an environment that can expose all of us to chemical contamination on a daily basis through the air we breathe, the food we eat, the products we use and the water we drink.

The American public is routinely exposed to toxic chemicals that have long been banned in countries such as the UK, Germany and France.

Of the more than 40,000 chemicals used in consumer products in the US, according to the EPA, less than 1% have been rigorously tested for human safety. Under the Trump administration there are signs it’s only getting worse.

The Guardian is asking our readers to help us raise $150,000 to increase our coverage of the toxic chemicals in our environment for the rest of 2019.

This series will investigate the ways in which chemicals in our water, food and environment can impair growth, development and health, causing a toxic fallout that can include: cognitive and behavioural difficulties, obesity, diabetes, infertility and birth defects.

We will also examine the power of the $640bn chemical industry – which has a lobby that’s currently better funded than the NRA.

If we hit our fundraising goal by 30 June, the six-month project will include dozens of articles, videos, opinion pieces and visual stories over the course of 2019. We hope you’ll consider making a contribution.

Photograph: Guardian Design

One billion pounds of conventional pesticides are used annually in the US, according to the latest EPA data available. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which monitors residues in food, found tested samples very rarely exceeded limits on pesticides and other chemicals, which the EPA says are calculated on “reasonable certainty of no harm”.

Residues are in up to 70% of produce sold in the US, according to the latest annual analysis of US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data by the health advocacy group Environmental Working Group.

Some persistent pesticides have been found to concentrate in the milk and meat of farmed animals through contaminated animal feed, various researchers around the world have found, as well as in fish in contaminated waters. A 20-year study by the US Geological Survey, for example, found pesticides at levels potentially harmful to aquatic life in 60% of the country’s rivers and streams in agricultural areas (that figure jumps to 90% in urban areas).

Up to 50 million Americans could be drinking from groundwater potentially contaminated with pesticides, according to a 2000 study by the USDA. Pesticides have also been found in pet shampoos, building materials and boat bottoms.

Non-toxic Homemade Remedies for Common Garden Pests

Homemade remedies are inexpensive and, best of all, you know what’s going into your garden. Many homemade sprays have been used with good results to control harmful insects. They usually involve noxious (but non-toxic) ingredients such as garlic, cayenne, stinging nettles, or horsetail, which are diluted in water and blended to be sprayed on the plants. Here are a few simple formulas:

Soft-Bodied Insects (Mites, Aphids, Mealy Bugs)

Mix one tablespoon of canola oil and a few drops of Ivory soap into a quart of water. Shake well and pour into a spray bottle. Spray plants from above down, and from below up to get the underside of the leaves. The oil smothers the insects.


For lawn or garden grubs, there is a natural, effective remedy called milky spore. The granules are spread on the soil and cause the grubs to contract a disease that kills them. This natural control affects only the grubs, leaving the beneficial organisms unharmed. Milky spore multiplies over time and will sit inactive, waiting for grubs to infect. One treatment is said to last 40 years. The grubs are actually the larvae of Japanese beetles. So, when you kill the grubs you kill the beetle.

Mites and Other Insects

Mix two tablespoons of hot pepper sauce or cayenne pepper with a few drops of Ivory soap into a quart of water. Let stand overnight, then stir and pour into a spray bottle and apply as above. Shake container frequently during application.

Earwigs, Slugs, and Other Soft-Bodied Garden Pests

Sprinkle diatomaceous earth over plants and around edges of garden beds. The diatoms particles are very small and sharp – but only harmful to the small exoskeletons of insects, slugs and snails. Insects cannot become immune to its action, as it is a mechanical killer – not a chemical one. Read more about Diatomaceous Earth: Non-toxic Pest Control for Your Home and Garden.

For more information about nontoxic slug and snail control, read our article Natural Slug Control.


Use potato slices as bait to help clear the soil of wireworms before planting. Simply place potato slices in your garden on the soil surface: the potatoes will draw out the wireworms, which you can remove along with the potatoes.

Fungal Diseases

Mix two tablespoons of baking soda into a gallon of water. Pour into a spray container and spray affected areas. Repeat this process every few days until problem ceases.

Powdery Mildew

Mix equal parts milk and water and spray on infected plants. Three treatments a week apart should control the disease. Neem oil spray can also be quite effective against powdery mildew.

Insects and Fungal Diseases

Combine one tablespoon of cooking oil, two tablespoons of baking soda, and a few drops of Ivory soap into a gallon of water. Pour into a spray container and apply as above.

Insects on Fruit Trees

Lime sulfur and dormant oil, available at nurseries and garden centers, can be sprayed on the trunk and branches of dormant fruit trees. This concoction will suffocate insect egg cases. Because the oily spray is heavy compared to the other water-based sprays, you’ll need a pump sprayer. These are fairly inexpensive and are available to rent from some nurseries. Only use this method while the tree is dormant, however, or it can kill the tree.

Commercial dormant oils may contain petroleum oil or kerosene. A less toxic method is to make your own. Mix 1 cup of vegetable oil and 2 tbsp of liquid soap in one gallon (4 liters) water. Mix the soap and oil first, then add the water. Shake often during use.

CAUTION: Sprays that kill harmful insects will also kill beneficial insects. Use these homemade remedies selectively, only spraying the infected plants. Apply them early in the morning or just before dark. Re-apply after a rain. Wear protective clothing when spraying insecticides. For more information, read How to Understand Labels on Natural and Chemical Pesticides.

Simple Ways to Save Your Garden from Pests

Here are some home remedies to control garden pests.

1. Adequate Planning is the Leading Step

While things can always go wrong to no fault of your own, the best defense against many predators is to have healthy and hearty plants in the first place. Pests tend to infest plants that are already weak.

  • Be sure you purchase your plants or seeds from a reputable garden center or nursery.
  • Inspect plants for signs of disease or infestation at the point of purchase.
  • Be sure you are planting in an ideal location for the plants you have chosen.
  • Make sure to pay attention to the plants’ unique requirements such as sun, shade, moisture, and soil pH needs.

This attention to detail will pay off in the long term because it helps to ensure your plants stay healthy, which will make them less appealing to garden pests.

2. Spray Neem Oil Solution on Your Plants

Neem oil is effective at saving plants infested with aphids and other harmful pests, such as mealybugs, cabbage worms, beetles, leaf miners, ants, and caterpillars.

The organic compounds in neem oil act as insect repellents and are also effective in controlling the spread of many types of fungi that infect plants.

Neem oil can also act as a smothering agent if applied correctly.

Even the US Environmental Protection Agency has found that cold-pressed neem oil is safe and does not pose a risk to people or the environment when used according to label directions. [1]

  • To make a foliar spray, pour 1 quart of warm water, 2 teaspoons of neem oil, and 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid into a spray can. Spray the solution on the foliage and stems, making sure that it gets to places where insects usually hide. Spray every 3 days for at least 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Alternatively, you can use neem-based products available in your local grocery stores to get rid of harmful garden pests. Follow the instructions on the label.
  • Always water the plants a few hours prior to spraying. Additionally, be sure to apply several hours on either side of peak sun to avoid any accidental foliar burn.

3. Spray Tobacco Solution on the Infested Plants

According to a 2010 report by the American Chemical Society, tobacco bio-oil may work as an effective pesticide for garden pests. [2]

Tobacco contains nicotine that can be toxic to garden pests.

  1. In 1 cup of warm water, add 3 tablespoons of chopped tobacco leaves. Leaves can also be obtained from a cigarette or cigar.
  2. Stir the ingredients well and allow the mixture to soak for 24 hours.
  3. Strain the infused water and put it in a spray bottle.
  4. Spray the solution on the leaves of the infested plants in the morning.
  5. Repeat daily for 1 week to get rid of the pests.

4. Use Diatomaceous Earth to Kill the Pests

Diatomaceous earth, made from fossilized water plants called diatoms, works as a good all-purpose insect repellent and treatment.

Even the University of Florida has found diatomaceous earth to be an effective ingredient to control garden pests. [3]

It can help you get rid of insects such as aphids, ants, mites, earwigs, bedbugs, adult fleas, beetles, cockroaches, snails, and slugs.

It is deadly to animals with exoskeletons, like most insects. The microscopic fossils have razor-sharp edges that can damage the insect’s outer shell, causing them to dehydrate and die. It is also effective against soft-bodied insects such as aphids.

  1. Fill a shaker container with diatomaceous earth. Be sure to use in appropriate quantity as directed on the label.
  2. Sprinkle it on the garden bed and the surrounding area to deter pests from reaching the plants and kill those that may have already invaded.
  3. Repeat as needed.

5. Essential Oils can be Beneficial

Another great way to control pests in your garden is through the use of essential oils from bioactive plants such as peppermint. Many essential oils have strong antimicrobial and pest-repelling properties. [4]

In addition to peppermint, you can also use other essential oils such as that of rosemary, thyme, eucalyptus, lavender, clove, spearmint, basil, and citronella.

Cedarwood and pine essential oils also act as highly effective repellents for gastropods such as slugs and snails.

  1. Put 2 cups of water in a spray bottle.
  2. Add 2 capfuls of organic liquid soap in it.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon peppermint essential oil. You can also add ½ teaspoon of lemon eucalyptus oil, orange oil, and cedar oil.
  4. Mix well and spray this solution on your garden plants to repel harmful pests and insects.
  5. Repeat as needed.

6. Hot Pepper Spray is Worth a Try

Pepper works as a broad-spectrum organic treatment for a number of garden pests, including aphids, lace bugs, cabbage maggots, and spider mites.

According to the National Pesticide Information Center in the US, pepper works as a deterrent for a range of pests that eat or damage shrubs, trees, and smaller plants. [5]

  • Ground cayenne pepper can be dusted around the base of plant stems from time to time to thwart crawling pests that feed on seedlings.
  • Put ½ cup of chopped red chili peppers and 2 cups of water in a blender. Blend briefly, strain the solution, and pour it into a spray bottle. Be sure to wear gloves to protect your skin from the potential burning effects of the capsaicin in the peppers. Add 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap also. Shake the bottle thoroughly, and then spray the mixture around your garden boundary. Use it every 4 to 5 days until you are satisfied with the results.

7. Try Companion Planting

You can also try companion planting to avoid garden pests.

Companion planting involves growing different plants in close proximity on the premise that they will enter into a beneficial relationship with each other.

For instance, tall plants can be planted near plants that require shade. Plants that alter soil properties such as PH can be planted near plants with specific soil requirements. Lastly, plants that replenish nitrogen in the soil can be planted near or in rotation with plants that require a large amount of it.

Also, Strong-smelling plants with insecticidal properties can be planted next to vulnerable ones, or different-smelling plants can be planted together to mask the chemical cues that attract or guide different pests towards their favored plants.

This is an eco-friendly method for pest management as there is no possibility of any toxic or harmful effects to both humans and beneficial insects such as bees, butterflies, and ladybugs.

According to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, companion planting is an effective method to control garden pests. (6)

Use plants such as chrysanthemums, lavender, basil, rosemary, sage, horseradish, and alliums (onion, garlic, chives, and shallots) around any vulnerable plants to repel against various garden pests such as aphids, weevils, moles, Japanese beetles, and fungus gnats.

8. Sprinkle Boric Acid in Your Garden

The sweet nectar from flowering plants and the honeydew waste from aphids are what attract entire colonies of ants to your garden.

To deter unwanted ants, boric acid is one of the best home remedies that you can try. [7]

Be aware, boric acid can cause foliar burn if applied in too high a concentration or in peak sun.

  1. Mix together ¼ cup each of sugar and boric acid.
  2. Sprinkle it around any ant hills and travel paths.
  3. Repeat as needed.

9. Garlic may Help Fight Insects

Garlic is a great organic pesticide that can destroy harmful insects and keep your valuable plants safe. It is highly effective against aphids, stink bugs, and harlequin cabbage bugs that can destroy plants.

A 2017 study published in Science Reports found garlic essential oil to be beneficial for pest control. [8]

  1. Put 1 entire garlic bulb and 2 cups of water in a blender.
  2. Blend on high speed until the garlic is finely pureed.
  3. Set it aside for a day.
  4. Strain the mixture and then mix the liquid into 1 gallon of water. You can also add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder.
  5. Transfer the solution into a spray bottle.
  6. Spray the tops and bottoms of your plants’ leaves thoroughly.
  7. Apply this solution about once a week and after a rain. If rain is not in your forecast, spray your plants down with water frequently beforehand. Make sure to do this at dawn or twilight to avoid peak sun.

Watch the video: How to Survive Bed Bugs

Previous Article

Lemon Problems: The cold has damaged my lemon

Next Article

Streptocarpus: growing from seeds, reproduction, transplantation, species, photo