‘Natural pest control methods’ is a method to control pests that does not use chemicals. Instead, other insects, birds, animals, plants or manual techniques are used.
Chemical pesticides have many disadvantages. Although they eliminate pests, they also kill many of the insects that are useful for cultivation, they can contaminate soil and hydraulic supplies, and make people sick. The benefits of chemical pesticides diminish over time as pests become resistant to them. This means that the pesticide kills the weakest pests by letting the strongest ones breed a new generation that is immune to the pesticide.
What is a plague?
A pest is an insect or an animal that causes damage to a plant or a crop. It is possible that an insect or an animal is a plague in one situation and a benefit in another. Pests come in all shapes and sizes. Here are some of the common pests and the problems they cause:
Borers that weaken the plant, such as termites and corn borers
The aphids that perforate the leaf or stem and suck the sap weakening the plant and spreading disease
Beetles, weevils and caterpillars that eat leaves. (However, it is important to remember that butterflies are good for pollination.)
Grasshoppers and locusts that eat the tip of the suckers
Larger animal pests such as monkeys, rats and birds (eg pigeons and crows) that eat seeds and plants.
Learning about pests
Before deciding which method of pest control to use, it is important to learn about the pest. It would be a mistake to spend time and money to control an insect or an animal when it is not even bothering the plant.
Identify the pest For example, if there are gaps in the leaves, go to the plant at different times of the day and night to see if you can see the pest in action. It may be a good idea to talk to neighbors and local farmers to find out which pests are common in the locality.
Learn about the plague Learn about its life cycle, its diet and its natural enemies. There is often a stage in the life cycle in which it is easier to control the pest, such as eliminating eggs before insects are born. A pest can be controlled by eliminating its source of food or introducing natural enemies (predators). To get this information, talk to local farmers and extension agents or find out if there are books in a local library.
Monitor the behavior of the pest Does the pest appear in a given season? Is it found throughout the plant or crop or only in certain parts? Is the plague increasing or decreasing in quantity?
Decide when to take action Remember that all insects are part of the natural environment and we must try not to disturb the natural balance unless it is necessary. It is only worth investing money in pest control if the cost of the damage caused by the pest is greater than the cost of controlling it.
Evaluate the effect After using a pest control method, evaluate its effect. Would you use this method again for this pest or should you try another? Did the method affect other insects? Was that something good or bad?
Natural pest controls
Associated planting is an effective way to control pests. Involves arranging different plants in alternate rows. For example, if melons are planted next to radishes, the beetles will not move between the rows of melons because they do not like the taste of radishes.
Certain plants can be used to deter pests. For example, sowing onions or garlic around the crop will scare off insects because they do not like the smell.
BIRDS Some birds eat insect pests. You can attract birds to a place by placing seeds for birds or planting plants that produce seeds that the birds like to eat but that are not useful for the farmer.
ANIMALS Most small animals eat insects and other pests. For example, toads can eat thousands of insects a month, including caterpillar larvae, slugs, ants and caterpillars. Spiders eat many insects that are pests and snakes eat rodents. These small animals can be attracted by planting plants that they like to eat or by providing a natural refuge that protects them from other predators.
INSECTS Some insects are good predators because they eat other insects. A good example of this is the ladybug. Ladybugs eat only aphids, such as aphids and black flies, and do not eat beneficial insects. They can eat 40 to 50 aphids per day and their larva can eat even more. Predatory insects can be attracted by planting nearby plants or flowers of the