Are pests bugging you? If pests are taking over there might be a good reason! Instead of grabbing that bottle of spray, consider using techniques that can solve your pest problems without toxic pesticides. These pest management techniques, collectively known as “Integrated Pest Management” or IPM, can help get rid of indoor and outdoor pests without harming your family, pets, or the environment.
A garden that is designed and maintained using sustainable landscaping practices will have healthy plants that are less susceptible to pests and diseases.
IPM techniques include the following steps:
Cultural controls are basic practices that prevent or reduce pest problems. For example, cultural practices for aphid control are:
Physical controls are mechanical or physical barriers prevent pests from contacting the plant or remove them from the plant. For example, physical controls for controlling aphids are:
These techniques use the pests' natural enemies (such as ladybugs) to control them. Some examples of biological control of aphids include:
Chemical controls or pesticides are used only when all other techniques fail and if you feel it is absolutely necessary to save the plant that is affected. If you have to use pesticides, choose the least-toxic option available. Some examples of less-toxic pesticides for aphid control are:
Most retail hardware stores and nurseries carry less-toxic pesticides.
When you are buying pesticides, look for "shelf talkers" that make it easy for you to choose a less-toxic product. Shelf-talkers are labels placed on store shelves, in front of a product, to help you identify less-toxic products. The product name is listed in the white space.
It is best to use up pesticides and fertilizers or give them to a friend or community group that will use them. Old or unused pesticides, fertilizers, and other household hazardous waste can be taken to a household hazardous waste drop-off site free of charge. Contact your local solid waste department for details.