How does sustainable pest control work? If you want to keep pests and vermin away or get rid of them in the most environmentally friendly way possible, you've come to the right place! We refer to both animal and plant creatures that cause damage in the human world as pests.
For example, they reduce the yield of cultivated crops, eat supplies, damage clothing and destroy buildings. Fortunately, there are ways and means of keeping these pests away or getting rid of them in an environmentally friendly and natural way.
In this article, I would like to give you the best tips for gentle, organic pest control indoors and outdoors. Let's go!
You can find a brief overview here in advance:
Definition: What are pests?
Personally, I am not a fan of calling other creatures "pests" because they all have an individual role to play in nature. Nevertheless, the term has become established as a collective term for animal, fungal and plant organisms, that cause economic or visual damage in everyday life or are simply generally perceived as annoying.
The opposite of pests are Beneficial insects. In our linguistic usage, this refers to animals that benefit us humans through their behavior. For example, because they eat pests or destroy them.
But nature is of course much more complex and does not think in pigeonholes! A pest can also be a beneficial insectfor example, because they are a natural enemy of other pests, pollinate plants, contribute to the formation of humus in the soil or serve as a food source and attract other beneficial insects.
And what is vermin? This term mainly refers to smaller animals such as rats, mice, cockroaches, woodlice, silverfish or moths, which many people consider a nuisance. However, the word "vermin" is often used as a synonym for the word "pests".
Species: What types of pests cause damage?
For sustainable pest control, we should first look at the different types of pests in the garden and in the home. They are categorized, for example, based on their characteristics, their habitat, the plants or materials they infest and the damage they cause.
Here you will find a Common classification of pests into different damage categories. I will give you some examples as a direct practical reference.
Stock pests are mostly animal organisms that infest and damage stored food and agricultural products. They can occur in agriculture, warehouses, stores or private households and can impair the quality of food, lead to losses and in some cases even transmit diseases.
Examples of storage pests: Clothes moths, flour moths, bacon beetles, grain beetles, rice flour beetles, cockroaches, bread beetles, grain beetles, dried fruit moths and house mice.
Wood pests are animal or fungus-like organisms, attack and destroy the wood products. They can occur in wooded areas as well as in built-up areas, where they cause aesthetic or structural damage to buildings, furniture and other wooden structures.
Examples of wood pests: Wood wasps, termites, longhorned beetles, woodworms, Anobiidae and some species of fungi that decompose wood. (e.g. dry rot or fence fungus).
Agricultural pests are Animals and weeds that cause damage to crops. In agriculture in particular, they can lead to considerable crop failures, quality losses and, not least, economic losses.
Examples of agricultural pests: Colorado potato beetle, corn weevil, codling moth, aphids, grape berry moth, slugs and snails, Mole, Field mice and certain weed species.
Forest pests are animal and fungus-like organisms that cause major damage to trees or forest stands and occur in both natural and managed forests. They ultimately impair the growth of trees, shorten their lifespan and accelerate forest dieback.
Examples of forest pests: Bark beetles, oak processionary moths, spruce bark beetles, sapwood beetles, pine nematodes, gypsy moths, ash weevils and various types of fungi. (e.g. ash dieback or red rot)
Advantages: Why should pests be controlled in a sustainable and animal-friendly way?
Chemical pesticides may be easy to use and work quickly and reliably against pests. But they entail a real rat's tail of problems. Here I will therefore present you - briefly and concisely - with some of the reasons, advantages and opportunities of sustainable pest control.
Sustainable pest control contributes to Preservation of the diversity of animals and plants with, since they Protects beneficial insects, the toxic Pesticide use prevented and maintains the natural balance in the ecosystem.
Avoid environmental pollution
As pests are naturally driven away, the Prevents chemicals from entering water, soil and airso that the environment is not harmed.
Prevent animal suffering
The use of environmentally and animal-friendly control methods minimizes the Suffering of pests and all wild and domestic animalsthat could come into contact with the products.
Avoid formation of resistances
Sustainable pest control relies on a wide range of methods to Resistance of pests to chemicals and to maintain the effectiveness of natural measures in the long term.
Benefit from economic advantages
Controlling pests sustainably can offer long-term economic benefits, especially for farmers, as they can less dependent on expensive chemical pesticides and maintain the quality of the harvest and the soil in the long term.
Protecting human health
Since biological pest control does not use hazardous chemicals or pesticidesthe measures also protect human health - especially that of farmers, employees and consumers.
20 pests and how to repel and keep them away in the most animal and environmentally friendly way possible
You can also keep pests away and get rid of them without using poisons or other environmentally harmful or lethal agents. For example, through natural predators, a clever choice of plants or natural household remedies.
Here I will introduce you to some of the so-called "pests" in the home, garden and agriculture and explain how you can combat them in a natural, organic and sustainable way.
Clothes moths can be controlled mainly by the unpleasant odor for the animals by Closet cedar drive them away. The scent of lavender or essential oils is also very effective. This advice is essential to ensure that your Clothing lasts as long as possible and thus becomes more sustainable.
Tip: You can find cedar wood in various forms - and other natural pest control products - for example at Red Cedar.
With intensely scented herbs such as rosemary and thyme or even grasses and ferns, you can put snails to flight. As classic Ribbon snails (with snail shell) usually only eat dead plant waste, they do not even need to be controlled.
Slugs gladly help themselves to salads and other cultivated foods. But never sprinkle salt on slugs, it is extremely torturous and brutal. A slug fence or the release on a meadow is much more animal and environmentally friendly.
The whitefly, which belongs to the moth scale insect family, likes to settle on ferns, tomatoes, peppers or even rhododendrons. By Basil or thyme you can counteract them. Natural enemies of the whitefly are, for example ichneumon waspswhich are attracted by wild herbs or cornflowers, among other things.
Tip: In a separate article, I will explain whether Vegans:kill flies, mosquitoes and other insects insideor not. Feel free to take a look. It's an interesting take on the question "Where does animal love end?".
4. spider mites
Increase the humidity around the plants by spray regularly with water. This will prevent a spider mite infestation. Applying neem oil and rapeseed oil can also help. Also promote the conditions for Predatory mitesas they are natural enemies of spider mites.
5. cabbage white butterfly caterpillars
Immediately after planting certain types of cabbage, you should cover them with a Pest protection net hedge. Thyme, mugwort or aniseed help distract the insect from the smell of cabbage.
6. fungus gnats
Also Baking powder and Baking soda are inexpensive, sustainable pesticides. You can simply sprinkle them on the soil in the plant pot with a sieve and moisten a little to kill the larvae. A yellow board helps to catch the adult fungus gnats.
Disturb the ant trails by Lemon juice or vinegar on their paths. You can also make barriers out of Chalk or diatomaceous earth to protect plants from pests such as ants.
The ant's natural enemies are also Amphibians, spiders and also other insects like Beetles and millipedes. But don't forget that ants are also beneficial insects in the fight against aphids and scale insects.
8. house mice and rats
Of course, you should avoid using poisons and mechanical pest control such as mice and rat traps. If the animals are already in the house, use creative live traps and release them into the wild.
To prevent them from entering your four walls, you should protect all possible entrances.such as sealing cable ducts, leaky joints and supply lines, placing garbage cans far away from the house and using odor-intensive household products such as Peppermint oil or vinegar to keep mice and rats away.
9. caterpillars of the box tree moth
Unfortunately, the caterpillars of the box tree moth cause great damage in many gardens. Remove the caterpillars and webs by hand and use pheromone traps to monitor the population. Also promote the living conditions for natural enemies such as Birds or parasitic wasps.
Tip: How to make a create a bird friendly gardenI will explain in a separate blog article.
10th Colorado potato beetle
Potato beetles love potatoes as well as eggplants and peppers. Simply remove the beetles and their larvae by hand or use natural predators such as Sand lizards, grass frogs, toads, shield bugs and birds. Also the cultivation of Horseradish and marigolds works wonders to repel Colorado potato beetles.
To keep cockroaches at bay, always stash food scraps and sweep the floor. Also the Combination of vinegar and pepper is an insurmountable barrier for the pests. The smell of Laurel and catnip can help you get rid of cockroaches in an animal-friendly and ecological way.
12. earth fleas
Small holes on young plants are often the work of earth fleas. In order to prevent an infestation of a bed, it is helpful to attach Vegetable protection nets or also the Regular removal of weeds in spring before cultivation, which they just love to eat.
Once the earth fleas have arrived, the pollination of infested young plants with Rock flour help by sieve. Ground beetles, predatory beetles, ichneumon wasps, shrews and hedgehogs for example, are natural enemies of the small flea beetles from the leaf beetle family.
Help against damage caused by voles Vole grid around sensitive plants. Also scent barriers like Garlic or lavender serve as a deterrent. Natural enemies are, for example Weasel or martenwho should therefore always have access to the property.
Flies are also considered pests and can be controlled by natural means. So that they Outside in the fresh air you should use fly screens and eliminate food sources such as fruit lying around and food scraps.
Also set up a Scent barrier from tomatoes, lavender or basil on your Sustainable terrace. Flies don't really like these plants. The scents of Lavender oils or eucalyptus oils can help.
15. gall mites
Sustainable pest control of gall mites should also start with preventative measures. For example, you can Early ripening fruit varietiesThe latter are more susceptible to gall mites. A self-prepared Garlic broth and a nettle liquid manure help further.
Predatory mites are natural enemies of the mites, which look like tiny bumps on the leaves of plants.
16. scale insects
Scale insects are among the most common pests - both on houseplants and on balcony and garden plants. A light infestation can be removed by hand with a toothbrush or a damp cloth remove. Also a solution of water, Orange oil and natural washing-up liquid can help.
Incidentally, the natural enemies of scale insects include Ichneumon wasps, lacewings, earwigs and ladybugswhose living conditions you should support. Just one ladybug eats around 40,000 scale insects in its entire lifetime.₁
Cicadas feed on plant sap and can transfer fungi to plants. To keep the pests away in the long term, you can, for example Highly diluted vinegar essence on the undersides of the leaves of the respective plants. You should also protect their natural enemies, such as Earth wasps, Lacewings, predatory bugs and birds, provide a livelihood.
Aphids can cause major damage to plants. Decoction or slurry of field horsetail, garlic and oregano can help you to drive the pests out of your garden in the long term. Cooled black tea from a spray bottle also helps against aphids.
The natural enemies of small lice include beneficial insects such as Ladybugs, hoverflies and Lacewings.
19. frost moth
The frost moth likes to attack fruit trees, deciduous trees, berry bushes and also roses. Unfortunately, in my experience, there are no effective home remedies. To prevent damage, you should therefore Put up nesting boxes for great tits, their natural enemies. Ichneumon wasps also feed on frost moths and can help you with sustainable pest control.
As they eat the larvae of beetles, butterflies, flies and even carrion, wasps are actually quite helpful beneficial insects. But since they sting us humans from time to time, they are considered annoying pests, especially at the coffee table.
You should therefore always Keep jam jars sealed and also other tempting foods always cover. Effective, Natural household remedies against wasps are for example Clove, citrus and tea tree oil or even burnt coffee powder. Also helps a pot of basil or a clove of garlic cut.
Prevention and sustainable pest control have priority
Now you know why it's worth preventing pests and, if the worst comes to the worst, getting rid of them in a gentle and natural way. Over time, you learn to keep them away before they can do any damage. However, if it is already too late, you now have some predators, deterrent plants and natural pesticides to help you.
"Any stupid boy can crush a bug. But all the professors in the world can't make one."Arthur Schopenhauer (more at Animal welfare quotes)
I hope this article has helped you. Do you have any questions, suggestions or further tips for more sustainability in pest control without poisons and chemicals? Then I look forward to your comment.
PS: How to get a really Create a sustainable gardenI'll explain in the next blog article. Good luck with the implementation!
₁ M. Frietsch: Beetles - beneficial insects and pests (as of 15.06.2020), available at https://www.planet-wissen.de/natur/insekten_und_spinnentiere/kaefer/pwienuetzlingeundschaedlinge100.html. [26.04.2023].