With these ingenious tips from gardener and author Sharon Lovejoy, you won’t need pesticides to fight insects that munch on your plants. These cures are simple, quick, earth-friendly, and fun to make.
• Spray ant routes with apple cider vinegar to cover their invisible pheromone tracks so they can’t find their way back to foraging sites.
• Pour equal parts baking soda and powder sugar into a bowl and blend thoroughly. Transfer mixture to a cheese or salt shaker and apply directly to ant hills and trails.
• Shake diatomaceous earth into areas when the insects invade. When ants climb over it, their bodies become desiccated.
• Many aphid and mite problems can be solved with water. A strong blast from the hose dislodges aphids and breaks off their sucking mouth parts.
• Aphids are drawn to yellow. Set a shallow yellow pan of soapy water near infested plants, and the aphids will plunge to a watery end.
• Order aphid wolves (larvae of ladybird beetles) and release them into your garden. These predators eat hundreds of aphids a day.
• Sprinkle white flour (not self-rising) on cabbage worms, loopers, and grasshoppers early in the morning when plants are covered with dew. Pests with petrify and desiccate. Rinse off the plants the next day.
• Slip on a pair of lawn aerator sandals after a rain and dance wildly on your wet lawn to destroy grubs before they become Japanese beetles.
• Take a long-handled spatula or spoon and a bucket of warm, soapy water outside early in the morning. Look for beetle infestations on roses, peonies and other flowers. Hold the bucket below the bloom and gently whack the flower. The bugs will drop straight down into the suds.
• Purchase spined soldier bugs, a beetle's greatest enemy, from a nursery and set them on patrol in your garden.
• Fill an empty milk carton with crumpled, moist newspaper and bread crumbs, and set on its side in the garden where it will collect earwigs. Empty bugs into a bucket of soapy water in the morning.
• Pour equal parts canola oil and soy sauce into a shallow container and place in infested areas. Check the lure each morning and dispose of the victims.
• Let the chickens into the garden daily to pluck up earwigs and other pests.
• Lay empty flower pots or milk cartons on their sides in a shady area and dispose of slugs and snails every morning.
• Leave leftover grapefruit and melon rinds in your garden each evening. Scrape the slugs into soapy water every morning. Put out fresh rinds every few days.
• Sink shallow tubs or saucers into the ground and fill them with cheap beer. Slugs dive into it and drown. Empty as needed.
Excerpted from Trowel & Error ©2003 by Sharon Lovejoy. Used by permission of Workman Publishing. All Rights Reserved.
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