ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Garden Pest Control the Organic Way

Updated on December 10, 2009

Natural Pest Control for Your Garden

If you've got your own garden, or container garden you might have started because you wanted to be sure you were eating organic fruits and vegetables. The great fresh taste is good too. Many people are trying to eat more healthy these days, and an organic diet is part of the process. Not only do you have chemicals to worry about you also have disease and genetically altered food to take into account. Some people think genetically altered foods are ok, some people want to avoid them.

A study National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ journal “Environmental Health Perspectives” found that children who ate organic were exposed to six to nine times less toxic pesticides than children fed a conventional diet. None of the children had levels higher than recommended by the EPA, but I'm sure most people would agree, when it comes to pesticide in your body, less is more.

When trying to keep pests out of your garden there are several steps you can take, some might be more effective than others, and some become more effective when combined with other methods. One of the best ways to keep your plants healthy is to use plants that are naturally disease resistant. Plants that are bred for your area will do better than plants that aren't. There are also plants that are bred to be naturally disease resistant. Soil and watering conditions can also help keep pests down. Another way to keep pests down is to use organic pesticides. Just remember, that because a pesticide is organic doesn't mean it is safe. Plants are organic, but some of them are poisonous.

Pest Resistant Wild Grapes

Wild grape vine by clbean via Flickr
Wild grape vine by clbean via Flickr

Pest Control With Hybrid Vegetables.

Hybrid vegetables are bred to be resistant to diseases and some pests.  Sometimes the wild or native species of a fruit or vegetable is more resistant than a cultivated species.  A good example in my area are grapes.  I live in Florida which has problems with nematodes a microscopic eelworm that lives in the soil.  Because of this you cannot grow  "wine" grapes or Concord grapes, pretty much any type of bunching grape.  You can however grow Muscadine grapes.  They are different than most grapes because they don't grow in bunches, each grape grows singly.  There is a subspecies, Scuppernong, whose grape grows in clusters more like a typical grape, but is still suited to the Florida climate.  The Muscadine grape is similar to the wild grapes that grow here, wild species have nematode resistance.  For the same reason roses are often grafted onto wild rose roots.

The list of pest and disease resistant fruits and vegetables is to long to go into here, but here are a few of the perennial favorites.  For tomatoes, Better Boy and Best Boy.  For peppers, Lady Bell, Ace, and Cubanelle (I've had really good luck with Cubanelle). For cucumbers Dasher II.  My father grows a type of bean he calls rattlesnake bean they're a type of pinto bean and do really well in north Florida.  For green beans try Atlantic.

Control Pests by Controlling the Environment.

  • Make sure you keep weeds to a minimum.  For better insect control remove anything that can serve as a habitat to bugs or fungus.  
  • Make sure you keep healthy soil, a healthy plant will be more resistant to disease than a sick one.  
  • When you discover sick plants be sure to get rid of them quickly.  
  • When you are watering, water in the morning so plants will be dry most of the day.  Wet foliage increases the chances of mildew or fungus and insect damage.

Garden Pest Control With Ladybugs

Ladybugs, by Thomas Hawk via Flickr
Ladybugs, by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

Safe Pest Control With Natural Predators

Another method you can use is natural predators.  Natural predators don't work immediately like pesticides, but they can provide a long lasting natural defense against pests.  For example, ladybugs will eat mites and aphids without causing any damage to your plants or the environment.  Unfortunately ladybugs can sometimes be hard to come by, you can't just run down to the garden center and get some.  You can look at feed stores though.  There is a feed store in my area that advertises ladybugs.  Ladybugs cost approximately a penny apiece.  You can get a half pint (about 4500) for $40 dollars.  They will treat up to 2500 square feet.  Remember they aren't pesticide, and it won't work immediately. There are other natural predators you can use for your garden pest control You can buy preying mantis egg cases.  A young mantis will eat soft bodied insects like worms and aphids, as an adult they will eat larger insects like crickets and beetles.  Green Lacewings will eat aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, leafhopper nymphs, moth eggs, scales, thrips, and whiteflies.

There are also diseases that affect only one sort of insect.  There is a product called NoLo that infects grasshoppers with a spore that eventually kills them.  It will also keep reproducing. Just like a zombie movie, those grasshoppers that don't die will infect any new grasshoppers that migrate in.  

Natural Pesticide Producer - The Tobacco Plant

Tobacco Plant by Old Shoe Woman via Flickr
Tobacco Plant by Old Shoe Woman via Flickr

Organic Pesticides

Let me say right off the bat, organic pesticides might be safer, but not necessarily safe.  They are organic because they are derived from the roots, seeds, stems, or flowers of various plants - but they are still poison.  Rotenone, Sabadilla, Ryania and Pyrethrin are a few examples of organic pesticides.

Here's one for you smokers: Nicotine.  It's one of the oldest natural pesticides around and provides good gardening pest control, in concentrated pesticide form it's also one of the most poisonous to mammals and it's absorbed through the skin.  Wear gloves when using it keep it away from pets, and keep your pets out of the application area.  It breaks down very quickly in sunlight so is approved as an organic pesticide.

 Rotenone is derived from the roots of jicama vine.  It was removed from the EPA's list as an approved organic pesticide because of concerns about it's safety.  It is classified as moderately dangerous to humans but it's use is being phased out in the US and Canada.  

Sabadilla derived from the Sabadilla Lilly is classified as the least toxic of the natural insecticides.  It can be irritating to eyes and lungs.  It breaks down quickly in the sunlight.

Pyrethrin is derived from a chrysanthemum plant, grown primarily in Kenya.  It is non-toxic to most mammals but highly toxic to insects.  I remember using it when I used to work in a pet store because it was the least toxic to birds.  The EPA has approved it for more uses than any other insecticide.  It provides good bug control but breaks down quickly.

Any Organic Pest Control Comments?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • morgan968 profile image


      5 years ago

      Thank you for some brilliant information here. I dont think people are aware of all the natural ways in which you can battle pests. You dont need to be spreading chemicals everywhere. These get into your foods along with the water table. The more information people find about this will hopefully start getting people to use natural methods. I found another brilliant article and thought people might benefit from it if I shared.

    • justmesuzanne profile image


      5 years ago from Texas

      Interesting information. I wonder if having tobacco plants scattered about your garden might help deter pests...Voted up and interesting! :)

    • saif113sb profile image


      6 years ago

      Having a fountain is easier than you think. I just love the sound of it in my garden. Glad to find you and love to read more of your hubs!

    • profile image

      Auburn Pest Control 

      7 years ago

      Great article. Using other insects to kill the bad ones is a good idea, but make sure you have the right environment so they stay around.

    • parsonsinfo profile image


      8 years ago from Dallas Texas

      Just thought Id let your readers know about our site We carry a huge line of safe, organic pest control products that would be VERY beneficial for someone's garden


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)