Chemical pesticides might be pretty good at keeping invasive insects at bay, but for those of us who have pets and children around the house, they might not be the best option. These pesticides rely on harsh chemical compounds that are poisonous not only to the insects in your yard, but to any other organisms that might cross their path as well. Fortunately, there are alternative options that homeowners can employ to control pest populations without putting their loved ones (four-legged or otherwise) at risk.
Rather than using chemicals to manage insect populations, some homeowners choose to invite other predators that feed on these pests into their lawn instead. Spiders, while typically not particularly welcome in our homes, do an excellent job of controlling aphids, beetles and caterpillars. Nematodes can be used to control fleas, ticks and grubs. You can purchase these microscopic worms at your local garden supply store.
Gentle Organic Options
Instead of using harsh chemicals, you can turn to gentler alternatives for some pests. A solution of 1 tablespoon of dish soap in a cup of canola oil will take care of soft-bodied insects. Just thin the solution with water and apply it directly to your plants with a sprayer. Diatomeceous earth (DE) is a powdered form of sedimentary rock that will effectively dehydrate insects such as cockroaches and ticks and is safe for use around children and pets. Just sprinkle it around flowerbeds periodically to control pest populations in the area.
Maintenance is key when trying to keep harmful insects out of your lawn. Keeping your plants nourished with nutrient-rich soil will make them grow stronger and minimize the impact of pests. You can employ vegetable compost from your kitchen in order to keep your soil rich and healthy. Keeping your lawn mowed can also cut down on insect populations by limiting the amount of living space they have in your yard.