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Eco-Friendly Gardening: A Few Tips for Sustainable Pest Control

by Marquette Turner Luxury Homes

in Eco-Living, Features, Outdoor Living, Variety

Contrary to what a lot of us may believe, gardening is not always eco-friendly unless we actively try to make it so. Rest assured that none of your gardening aspirations are likely to get affected by following the eco-friendly pest-control tips below, but they can certainly help both your garden and the ecology around it to thrive better.

Don’t Kill Every Insect You See

Not all insects you see in your garden are pests and some of the worst looking insects such as the assassin bug are very helpful. Since pesticides do not discriminate, you will need to know what you are dealing with and how it can affect your garden, before turning yourself into an exterminator. Common pest insects such as inchworms, grasshoppers, aphids, Japanese beetles, squash bugs, mites, thrips, hornworms, scales and caterpillars are bad news for any garden, but fortunately, they can be identified quite easily.

The usual garden-friendly bugs found in these parts include ladybugs, praying mantises, lacewings, hoverflies, wasps, parasitoid wasps, bumblebees, honeybees, solitary bees and violet ground beetles among others. Take a photo and do a Google image search to see what you are dealing with, just in case you are not familiar with how they look or cannot find what you are seeing on any list. Pesticides can cause immense harm to you, the soil, your plants and everything living around the area if you are not careful. Try some of the DIY, eco-friendly pesticides first, before resorting to harsher chemicals.

Avoid Wood Fencing

Not only can pure wood fencing immediately and continually contribute to deforestation, but some of the nasty pest insects also find rotting wood to be ideal places for them to breed in. For example, powder post beetles, carpenter ants (not always bad) and 8-toothed spruce beetles do not attack garden plants, but they will wreak havoc on hardwood trees if you have any in the garden. Fungal infections from rotting fences are known to slowly kill hardwood and softwood trees, but some will also grow on and kill garden plants as well.

There is also the rare risk of certain beetles changing their diet from softwood to leaves, fruits and stems. Additionally, a termite infestation within the rotted wood fencing can spread to your main house in no time, causing immense damage even before you realise what’s going on. Composite is a much more durable option which is completely impervious to all pest life, as it doesn’t rot like wood. After an initial interview with a UK based garden supplies company like Ecoscape, they should be able to tell how your garden can best benefit from which type of composite fencing. The company has 20-year warranties on all its composite products, which means that no additional wood will be necessary to repair the fences for a long time to come. This is a big part of what makes these weather resistant fences better for the environment than wood, not to mention the fact that it’s 100% creepy-crawly proof!

Learn to Tell Pest Insects from Helpful Insects

Things become a lot more complicated when you are unlucky enough to have a bad bug that looks deceptively like a good bug, so go through the following examples:

  • Mexican bean beetles are harmful, larger yellow/yellow-orange pests, while ladybugs are red, garden friendly insects
  • Asian lady beetles bite, stink and cause allergies while looking like ladybugs, but you can tell them apart by noticing a black M behind the Asian culprit’s head
  • Female mealybugs are pests which look like tiny white cotton balls, while mealybug destroyers are almost identical, much bigger, beneficial insects which eat mealybugs
  • Rove beetles are beneficial insects that eat mites, aphids, mosquitoes, fleas and maggots, but they don’t have large pincers like the near-identical, lettuce-eating earwigs.

Use Netting to Keep Rabbits Out Rather than Killing them

Rabbits eat nearly all edible plants at an astonishing rate, and they multiply with amazing speed when left unchecked. You have the legal right, as well as a responsibility to get rid of them in almost any way that you see fit, including gunfire. The UK government enforces killing rabbits as a law, as long as it is done on your own property. They can send hunters to exterminate rabbits on private property, if someone nearby complains about it and/or the owner can’t/won’t do it.

If you are not comfortable with the idea of hunting rabbits or turning your beautiful garden into a bloody hunting ground for others, there are much better ways to keep rabbits out of your precious patch. Wild rabbits in the UK have been dying by the thousands from 2019 due to RVHD2 infections as it is, so consider these alternatives instead:

  • Install rabbit netting to prevent entry into the garden patches
  • Install mesh wires about 2-feet deep into the ground to ensure that even burrowing adult males cannot get in
  • Trap and release them safely into a nearby forest.

Something gardeners often forget is that a garden is essentially a piece of nature that they are nurturing into growth with their own hands. It would therefore be a shame if we did not take enough precautions and action to ensure that our little piece of nature doesn’t end up affecting the much wider ecology around it in a negative manner

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