To keep your plants and garden free from nasties, it’s sometimes necessary to get out the pesticide or insecticide. However, when you’re working in small spaces like balconies or patios, it can be almost impossible to keep your kids and pets away from the area.
That said, natural pesticides are better for the planet anyway, so here are some of the best options for keeping your space pest-free and safe.
Diatomaceous earth is made of powdered fossils. Any insect with an exoskeleton (beetles, fleas, etc.) but also slugs and snails dry out when they come into contact with it. It’s completely pet and kid safe, too.
Lavender is a natural pest repellent because they hate the smell. You can either grow plants or buy lavender essential oil (like this), which you can spray on your plants.
If you’re dealing with mice, rats or similar, an ultrasonic pest repellent (like this) can help. They’re not loud enough to bother cats or dogs, but you’ll need to look for another option if you’re repelling larger animals like racoons and deer.
Neem oil has long been a popular insecticide for indoor and outdoor plants. It’s completely safe for people and pets, so you shouldn’t have any issues spraying it all over your infested plants.
There’s not really much to explain about sticky traps (such as these). They work best against gnats, ants and smaller insects. Avoid sticky mouse traps because they’re one of the least humane ways of dealing with a mouse problem.
Nematodes already exist in soil, but you can use them for controlling insect problems in anything from turf to crop plants. Simply sprinkle them on the soil and let them do their thing.
White vinegar can work as anything from an insecticide to a weed killer. Surprisingly, you can also use it to keep mice and rats away from your outdoor space. While your pets might not love the smell, it’s completely safe for them to be around.
Spiders are arguably one of the best insecticides you could hope for in your garden. They’ll happily eat anything they can catch that’s roaming around your plants. Of course, you won’t necessarily add your own spiders, but it’s easy to attract them.
Citrus oil (such as this) is great for repelling loads of insects as well as mice and other pests. It’s completely safe for pets and people, but will also deter beneficial creatures like spiders. Don’t bother with citronella, though, as it’s far less effective.
Like spiders, ladybugs are a great insect killer. They love aphids, which can be a real problem for roses and crop plants. However, unlike spiders, you can easily buy them online and release them into your garden.
Copper mesh (such as this) is a surprisingly effective repellent against slugs, snails, and small rodents. Slugs and snails receive an electric shock when they come into contact with it, while mice and birds simply can’t get through the small mesh holes. Bear in mind, to keep your plants safe, you’ll need to completely enclose them in mesh, which can get expensive.
Repelling pests is completely possible with natural remedies that are safe around pets and kids. While it might take more frequent applications than chemical products, natural pesticides mean no toxic buildup in the soil. In the long term, your outdoor space will thank you.