Pest control home remedies | Living the Country Life
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Pest control home remedies

Look no farther than your kitchen or medicine cabinet to help control common garden pests.
  • Aphids

    Aphid nymphs and adults suck sap from plants by inserting their needle-like stylets into the plants. Curled, yellow leaves are often left behind, along with a sticky substance and the possible development of black sooty mold. Flowering and yields may be reduced.

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    Insecticidal soap available at garden centers kills the bugs by clogging their breathing holes. According to Oregon State University Extension Service, you can get similar results by mixing 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, and 1 cup of water. Another option is to make a 1 percent soap solution by mixing 3 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid with a gallon of water. Spray thoroughly on plants, including the undersides. After a few hours, wash the solution off with a garden hose.<br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 25, 2014
  • Slugs and snails

    These pests feed on new growth and seedlings at night, damaging or destroying plants and leaving slime trails behind. Keeping shaded areas free of weeds and debris will help deter snails and slugs.<br>To trap them, fill flat, shallow pans or containers like jar lids with beer. Place them in open areas throughout the garden so the lip is at ground level. Change the beer about every three days. Wash any slime off your hands with white vinegar and warm water.<br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 25, 2014
  • Spider mites

    Spider mites are tiny, but can cause big damage on plants, especially late in the season or on plants near a dusty road. Damaged leaves are off-color by many small speckled green and light-colored spots. The mites are often found on the undersides of leaves. To confirm a plant has spider mites, hold it over a sheet of white paper and give it a tap. Examine the spots on the paper with a magnifying glass. Two-spotted spider mites, the most common type, has two spots on its upper back.<br>Oregon State University Extension Service recommends mixing 3 tablespoons of dishwashing soap with a gallon of water, or simply use rubbing alcohol. Wet leaves thoroughly, then wash the soap or alcohol off after a few hours. Repeat every 5 or 6 days if needed. This method also works for whiteflies.<br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 25, 2014
  • Earwigs

    You'll recognize these insects by forceps-like pincers on the tail end of their abdomen. Although their main source of food is decaying organic matter and other insects, hey often chew holes in flowers and vegetables.<br>According to Oregon State University Extension Service, earwigs are attracted to fish oil, so adding it to shallow containers buried in soil up to their edge is a good way to trap these pests.<br><I>Photo: Texas A&M University Extension</I><br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 25, 2014
  • Sowbugs and pillbugs

    These pests often hide in compost spread throughout the garden, and emerge when it rains. Remove debris to discourage them.<br>Trap sowbugs and pillbugs by placing loosely rolled, damp paper throughout the garden. They'll be drawn to the dampness and will hide in the rolls. Collect the paper each morning and dispose of it, then replace it with fresh damp rolls.<br><I>Photo: Texas A&M University Extension</I><br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 25, 2014
  • Ants

    Ants can be major pests in the yard, garden, and house. Boric acid can be used to control them. For grease ants, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension recommends making a homemade bait using 4 tablespoons peanut butter, 6 tablespoons honey, and 3/4 teaspoon boric acid. The ants will feed on the bait and carry it back to their colony.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 25, 2014
  • Raccoons

    A <I>Living the Country Life</I> reader says if raccoons are terrorizing your garden or wreaking havoc in your barn or around your acreage, simply rub a small amount of BENGAY (R) on a piece of paper and place it where the raccoons have been hanging out.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 25, 2014
  • Rabbits

    Fresh jalapeno peppers can be used to repel rabbits, according to North Dakota State University Extension. Run three fresh peppers through a food processor with enough water added to create a liquid. Pour the liquid through a cheesecloth mesh into a glass quart jar. Add about two tablespoons of olive or other vegetable oil, a squirt of Elmer's glue and a drop or two of liquid dishwashing detergent. Use one part of the concentration to 10 parts water. Shake well just before application. This should discourage rabbits without hurting them. If not, then make the concentration stronger (30 percent) or use red cayenne peppers for extra heat. Be sure to reapply after new growth appears or after a good rain.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 25, 2014
  • Deer

    Once deer have discovered a food source, it's tough to get them to change their habits. The experts at North Dakota State University Extension say the pepper solution used to keep rabbits away will also help keep deer at bay. Human hair, soap, dryer sheets, and predator urine may also be used.<br>"In reality, the only reliable way to keep the deer out of the garden is with an exclusion fence that is electrified," says NDSU Extension Horticulturalist Ron Smith. "If an electric fence is out of the question, then the grab-bag mix of practices mentioned should be alternated to keep the poachers off balance!"<br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 25, 2014
  • Other mammals

    Repel moles, gophers, ground squirrels and marmots by placing jalapeno peppers around the places they're causing damage. Chili powder can also be sprinkled around plants, but must be reapplied after rain. Castor oil may also be effective. <br>Another common method is to place hair clippings around the garden to deter mammals. Visit your local barber shop and ask to sweep some up. Or, give your dog or cat a good brushing and put their hair around plants.<br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 25, 2014
  • What doesn't work

    According to Barb Ogg, an educator with University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, some home remedies are actually myths:<br><UL><LI>There is no evidence baking powder or baking soda has an adverse effect against insects.</LI>
    <LI>Wrigley's Juicy Fruit gum is not effective in killing moles and gophers. You can put it in their holes, but there's no evidence they would eat it or have an adverse effect from it.</LI>
    <LI>No studies have shown that mothballs have any effect on wildlife, so they won't keep rabbits, snakes, or other animals away.</LI>
    <LI>Vinegar and lemon juice aren't effective insecticides, but they do make good household cleaners!</LI>
    <LI>Placing bleach or ammonia on ant trails may mask the trail, but it won't have any lasting effects on the ants.</LI>
    <LI>Drawing a chalk line will not deter ants from crossing.</LI>
    <LI>Although concentrated extracts of osage orange (hedge balls, hedge apples) do repel some insects, the fruits themselves aren't effective.</LI></UL>
    <br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 25, 2014
  • Be safe

    When using homemade sprays, test each spray on a small portion of a plant to make sure there are no adverse affects before applying it to the entire plant. Keep in mind that different plants react differently. <br>Many household chemicals are toxic, and mixing several of them together can result in combinations that are injurious to people, pets, and plants. This is especially true when applied to food crops.<br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 25, 2014

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