Natural pest control for leaf eating insects.
Leaf eating pests
Leaf eaters wiping out herbs
Every gardener has trouble keeping their plants from being eaten. Who can blame the pests, we grow them to eat ourselves.
Insects have varying degrees of usefulness, though I have yet to figure out the usefulness of aphids snails and slugs. Some insects even eat other insects that would normally be all over your plants. Butterflies, bees, praying mantis, and lady bugs help your plants grow and stay healthy so you don't really want to hurt them.
This brings you to a dilemma. You want some of the insects, but not others. There is a numerous amount of ways you can keep the little pests away. You can net up your garden. You can put out bat boxes to attract bats. You can drop off some spiders...having a little bit of arachnophobia I have not tried this...You can constantly pick off the bugs and the chewed on leaves.
Or you can try some natural bug spray. This has varying outcomes. Some get rid of all the insects that touch upon the plant. Some get rid of just the ones that digest the leaf. While others might have an effect on yourself or your pet.
I have found some that have the least amount of impact on the animal society, as long as your animal is not allergic, or has a high sensitivity. I suggest if you are still concerned to do a little bit more research after reading these choices.
Never spray your plants in the direct sunlight. either do it in the early morning, or wait until your plant is shaded. If you spray your plant and the sun gets to it before it has time to soak in it can burn your plant.
Also test a leaf of each of your plants for 24 to 48hrs to make sure your plant is not sensitive to the substance you are introducing to it.
Peppermint or other essential oils
Put a few drops of peppermint in a water-filled spray bottle and aphids, ants, mosquitoes, and flies beware. This is safe for you your garden and your pets. It also might even help attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds that are drawn to the smell of essential oils. This is another repellent that only effects leaf eating bugs. It is also very good for you.
Neem oil is a natural pesticide that has been around for hundreds of years. It is from the seed of the Neem tree and is in various product like pet shampoo and toothpaste for good examples.
This is probably one of the best choices for pest control in your garden. It goes on the leaf and only effects insects that digest it. So any non-leaf eating insects like butterflies and lady bugs will not be effected. It is also OK if your cat or dog or even you digest a little of it. Though a little leaf here and there or licking it might be OK for your animal they should not consume too much of it. If they are sensitive to it, or even allergic to it they could have a poor reaction to it. Severe cases being death, but that is slim and they need to consume a good quantity of it. (If you are overly concerned just give your vet a heads up and they might have more information for you).
This is a potent repellent. Mosquitoes recognize the smell of this and will stay clear. It can be potent enough that you might find it a bit strong yourself. I would say it is a good price to pay for the benefit of eradicating leaf eaters and still having the beneficial bugs around.
on a side note. Neem oil is a good repellent for mosquitoes and fleas and you can put a drop behind a pets ears and shoulders before they head out. The Neem oil absorbs into the bloodstream via skin contact so you don't need much of it.
Add it to your water-filled spray bottle. This gives it a half life of up to 4 days. Sprayed on a plant the half life is up to 2 days.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Diatomaceous Earth, or DE, is a sedimentary rock of fossilized diatoms (aquatic life forms). This ground down to a powder will dehydrate insects. This is hazardous to exoskeletal critters. It has no harmful effect on people. (some would say its healthy for you). You can either just use it in powder form or you can mix it with water and spray it onto the plants.
The downside to this insecticide is that it leaves no survivors. Butterflies and other insects will also parish.
Garlic is a good plant for numerous reasons. It is healthy. It has medicinal qualities. It has been used in many recipes that are delicious! It also repels insects and some animals, like deer.
This repellent, much like DE, does not distinguish between friend or foe in the insect world. It will take care of all insects. The same recipe for spray for the garden can also be used for a spray for animals and people to deter mosquitoes, flies, fleas, and even ticks.
- Mince 3 to 4 garlic cloves
- add the minced cloves to a bowl with 2 teaspoons of mineral oil
- let sit overnight.
- strain out the garlic pieces.
- add the remaining liquid to a pint of water
- add 1 teaspoon of dish soap (or 1 squirt).
- add to a spray bottle.
You have your bug repellent.