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5 Things To Get Rid of Garden Pests

Want to prevent pesky pests from weaseling their way into your garden this season? Here are 5 ways to get rid of garden pests with items you probably already have at home.

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A Quick Bug Barrier

When you don’t have time to set elaborate traps for garden pests, make an unbroken ring of wood ashes around your favourite flowers. Bugs will turn away from caustic ashes. Make sure that you reapply the ashes after it rains.

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Homemade Insecticide

When aphids, whiteflies and other insect pests become a problem in the garden or on your houseplants, don’t rush to the market for an expensive spray. Make your own from these kitchen-tested ingredients. Store all garden treatments, such as this, in a sealed and labelled bottle in a childproof cabinet.

What You’ll Need:

10 cloves garlic
3 teaspoons vegetable or mineral oil
3 cups (750 ml) hot water
1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid (not laundry or dishwasher detergent)

What To Do:
1. In a blender, purée the garlic, skin and all, and oil.
2. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a 1 litre jar. Add water and dishwashing liquid. Close the jar and shake gently to mix.
3. Decant the mixture into a spray bottle (you can clean and reuse a cleaning product spray bottle). Spray infested plants, making sure to cover both sides of the leaves. Apply every 3 days for a week to control hatching insect eggs. Repeat as needed after rain or when problems arise.

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Easy Earwig Trap

These fearsome-looking insects can be identified by the pincers at the ends of their tails. Although earwigs don’t hurt people, these nocturnal feeders can nibble plants overnight. Try this non-toxic control made with recycled newspaper. This technique also works with slaters.

What You’ll Need:

Several sheets of used newspaper

What To Do:
1. Roll several thicknesses of newspaper into a tight cylinder and secure with string. Dampen the rolled paper and place on the soil near eaten plants.
2. Check the newspaper roll each morning to see if earwigs are hiding inside. If so, dispose of them in a securely tied garbage bag and set out a new roll. Continue this routine until earwigs are under control.

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Slug and Snail Trap

Slugs and snails devastate prized garden plants by chewing round holes in the leaves, leaving telltale shiny slime trails. They climb up into plants like hostas and marigolds to feed after sundown and, in the morning, crawl down to hide in mulch or garden debris. Here’s a non-toxic recipe for catching them.

What You’ll Need:
1 teaspoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (250 ml) tepid water
Stale beer (optional)
1 or more clear plastic drinking-water bottles and caps

What To Do:
1. Mix the yeast, sugar and water together and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Pour just enough yeast solution (or stale beer) into an empty drinking-water bottle, so that when you lay it on its side the liquid does not run out.
2. Lay the bottle on its side under a plant that shows slug or snail damage or place under a vulnerable plant as a preventive measure. Slugs and snails will be attracted by the yeasty odour, crawl in and drown.
3. Check the bottle daily and, when full, replace the lid, throw it away and make a new trap. Make as many as you need – these traps may not be beautiful, but they look better than the skeletal remains of a slug-eaten plant in the garden.

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Garlic Possum Repellent

Possums can be a great nuisance in the garden, but they hate the taste of garlic. Whip up this brew and they’ll soon be feeding elsewhere. You can also use ground fresh chillies or fish sauce in the solution instead of garlic.

What You’ll Need:
8-10 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cups (1 litre) hot water

What To Do:
1. In a bowl, mix the crushed garlic into the hot water and allow to stand overnight.
2. Strain the mixture into a spray bottle and spray foliage. Repeat every few days (or after rain) until the possums get the message.