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Organic Insect Repellents, Insect Control Methods

Your organic gardening program needs to address insect control methods.  Those nasty, harsh chemicals that effectively kill every insect around, is not part of an organic gardener's arsenal. Chemical insecticides can have long term harmful effect on you, and the environment.

Fortunately, there is a wide range of organic insect control methods. Experiment with a variety of insect control methods, to see which works best for you and your specific plants. You may find a combination of insect controls works best.

Organic Insect Control can take a number of forms:

Insect Repellents

As the term implies, insect repellents "repel" rather than kill insects. The repellent may contain a variety of agents. The most common repellents are garlic based. Many insects do not like the oil of garlic, and will fly off in search of other foods.   

Frequent application of organic repellents is often needed, especially after heavy rains.

Make your own organic insect repellent sprays.

Companion plants

There are two types of companion plants: those that compliment the nutrient needs of other plants, and those that insects do not like. Plants that insects do not like, make great companions to other plants in your organic garden. Planting onions and garlic amid your organic vegetables, will repel a variety of insects. It might even keep the bunnies away. In addition to providing insect protection, you can harvest the onions and garlic, too. Marigolds are another great companion plant.

A companion plant can also be one that insects like. In South America, coffee growers plant banana trees around the coffee crops. Insects like the sweet, banana plants and fruit, much more than coffee plants.

Note: Plants that repel insects often make good ingredient for insect repellent sprays.

More on Companion plants

Beneficial Insects

One way to get harmful insects out of your organic garden, is to introduce and promote beneficial insects into your garden.  The most well known beneficial insects are lady bugs and praying mantis. If you've got aphids, the lady bugs will thrive. If you have a variety of insects, the praying mantis will find ample hunting.

You can actually purchase these beneficial insects, and introduce them to your yard or garden.

Did you Know? They say Ladybugs bring good luck. Lucky for you. Not so lucky for an aphid.

More on Beneficial Insects

 Insect Barriers

A fine mesh insect netting will keep even small insects out of your garden. The fine mesh keeps insects out, yet lets sunlight, air and moisture in. The amount of sunlight entering and reaching your plants is dependent upon how fine the mesh is.

There is a wide range of insect an pest netting. A 1/4" to 3'8" mesh may be effective against Cicada, locust, and grasshopper invasions. They are very effective against these pests, some larger sized beetles, and a few other very large insects.

For the vast majority of insects, a finer meshed insect netting is required.

Pest and insect netting can be very effective against flying and crawling (above ground) insects. But, they will not deter insects that live in the soil.

Floating Row covers can also be used to keep insects away. They also shade the plant, significantly reducing sunlight. Therefore, use of row covers should just be temporary.

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