Lowes has natural and organic pest control solutions for home, organic gardens and farms using beneficial insects, insecticides, bacillus thuringiensis, natural repellents, traps and pheromone lures for all pest management needs. Natural pest control is less expensive than buying and applying pesticides, and it’s safer for your garden, your family, the natural wildlife and the environment.
Beneficial insects, which you can attract to your garden, also prey on harmful insects and their larvae. You can get started by setting aside a small garden spot of flowering plants designed to attract and harbor beneficial insects. These ‘good’ insects prey on many common garden insect pests, and offer the gardener a safer, natural alternative to pesticides.
Natural and safe organic insect and pest controls
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)
Bt sprays contain Bt bacteria spores that are naturally encapsulated and allows the toxin Bt to be ingested. Be aware that Bt is toxic to many butterflys. Most organic gardeners only spray Bt on specific plants, such as tomatoes, that are not normally food for wild butterflies.
How Bt works
Bt is available in liquid or powder. Bt contains an active spore and a toxic protein crystal. Bt makes toxins that target insect larvae when eaten. In their gut, the toxins are activated. The activated toxin breaks down their gut, and the insects die of infection and starvation. Death can occur within a few hours or weeks.
Once the Bt is ingested by a larval insect, the walls of the spore dissolve, releasing the toxic crystal. Bt has to be eaten to cause insects to die. The Bt toxin dissolves in the nsect and becomes active. The toxins then attack the cells of the insect, causing holes in the stomach or the active spores pass into the blood stream, where it multiplies. The Bt spores spill out of the stomach, causing death within days.
Like other biologicals, Bts biodegrade in sunlight and may require reapplication. Bacillus thuringiensis is a pest control mainstay for many organic vegetable growers. This bacteria is highly effective against most species of leaf-feeding caterpillars, moth and insects.
Bt is biological. “Biologicals” are naturally-occurring insecticidal organisms, usually bacteria, which attack only specific pests. Biologicals are and always have been central to organic pest control because they are highly effective, insect-specific, biodegradable and nontoxic to humans, animals, beneficial insects and the environment. They will not cause secondary pest outbreaks.
Biologicals are the organic choice for control of many pests, such as caterpillars, grasshoppers, fungus gnats, fire blight, and more. Biologicals work best if they are applied in early morning or late afternoon. However, they are still short-lived in sunlight and may require reapplication under heavy pest pressure.
Ever try natural pest control with cucumbers?
Not everybody likes cucumbers and you may be interested to learn that ants hate cucumbers, especially cucumber peels. Remember that fact when you want to get rid of them. Just spread some cucumber peels, which are bitter, where the ants are entering your home and they will be taken care of naturally without any chemicals.
Cucumbers are one example of natural organic pest control. It’s using natural and generally non-toxic ingredients to repel or get rid of bugs including ants, wasps, mites, moths, flies and other insects.
People are slicing up cucumbers instead of spraying chemicals like Ortho Bug-Be-Gon or Bayer Advanced Insect spray because they don’t want toxic chemicals in their homes, lawns or gardens. There is growing evidence that pesticides pose a health risk to humans and animals. For those willing to invest some time and effort at crafting their own remedies, we’ve listed a variety of remedies to help you battle pests on the home front and in your garden.
Attract Some Ladybugs
These common insects consume aphids, mites, whiteflies and scale. They can be attracted to your garden by planting members of the daisy family, tansy or yarrow. Zinnia, Marigold and Purple Coneflower have also been know to attract ladybugs.
Create A Barrier
Barriers act like barbed wire to keep crawling pests, such as ants, out. These include garlic, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, powdered charcoal, bone meal, talcum powder or chalk. Simply grind them up and apply. Keep in mind that different pests have different aversions, so you’ll have to see what substance works best with the ones trying to sneak into your home. Completely organic and safe insect control.
Barriers also work for snails. They dislike sand, lime, copper or ashes, so use these borders to keep snails away.
Old-fashioned fly-paper is very effective in the garden for aphids and whiteflies. In fact, any board or heavy paper painted yellow and coated with a sticky substance such as tanglefoot will do the job. You will find fly paper in the household insect aisle at Lowes.
Another way to think of barriers is to grow certain plants around the perimeter of your home. They not only look nice, but will also deter pests organically. Plants known to repel ants and aphids include: spearmint, peppermint and pennyroyal. You can use the same trick for fly control. Just substitute the above plants with mint and basil which repel flies, but smell good to humans.
Boiling water is excellent for ant control
Boiling water can be used if you see where they are creeping into your house, squeeze some water with lemon into the hole or crack.
Baking soda and powdered sugar mixed in equal parts is a good organic roach killer.
Just spread around the area where you see roaches and soon you won’t see them anymore.
While slightly more toxic, is naturally occurring and is another way to get rid of them.
Get Rid Of Fire Ants Organically
Here’s a really great way to get rid of fire ants. Remember, the only way to get rid of an ant infestation is to assassinate the queen. Wait until a dry spell is about to end. Sprinkle instant grits on the fire ant hill. The workers will carry the grits to the queen for her royal meal. She’ll eat the grits and when it rains, she’ll drink. And that’s what will kill her. The grits will expand in her stomach and she’ll “bloat” to death. Once she’s out of the way, the leaderless ants will die off.
Cloves smell better than moth balls and are a natural deterrent against winged pests. You can also create a water trap by filling a small plastic bowl with water and leaving a night light near it. Moths will be attracted to the light and will end up falling into the water. Add a little dish soap to the water.
Lowes Sells Diatomaceous Earth.
It is made up of the fossilized remains of diatoms, single-cell organisms. The glass-like nature of diatomaceous earth makes it one of the oldest forms of insecticide. The sharp surfaces cut through the insect cuticle and the insect dies of dehydration.
Diatomaceous earth controls lawn grubs, earwigs, ants and box elder bugs. However, since it’s non-discriminate when it kills, be sure to only apply just to the ground area where the insects are.
Grind rosemary leaves into a fine organic dust and sprinkle it onto your pet or its bedding to ward off fleas.
Liquid dishwashing detergent
Dishwashing liquid like Dawn, can act as a natural insecticide. Dilute with water at about 5 tablespoons per gallon of water and then spray on plants and vegtables.
Made from neem seeds, prevents fungus growth, and repels and kills insects, including mites. While it fights many insects, it’s nontoxic to birds, mammals and most beneficial insects. One word of caution – it can sometimes affect bees so use it as a spot treatment to minimize contact. Neem oil is usually sold in a concentrated form, to which you add water.
Fruit flies love apples, grapes, pears and most every fruit bearing tree. Use that knowledge to your advantage: fill up a saucer of some cheap white wine and add a little detergent to it. Leave it around for the flies to sip and die on. A natural organic fly catcher related to wine is to put something sweet like mango or orange peels in the bottom of narrow-necked wine bottles. The flies can fly in, but can’t fly out.
You can even make your own fly paper. Boil water, sugar and corn syrup together. Spread the extra-sticky mixture on brown paper grocery bags and voila you have your own fly paper which will trap flies.
Burning citronella candles will help repel the pesky critters. Marigolds are great annual ornamental plants for your home and flowerbeds. They also happen to be a mosquito repellent plant. Marigolds have a somewhat offensive odor. They contain pyrethrum, which is commonly used in organic pest control products. Find more plants here for mosquito control.
Using organic lawn fertilizers will not only keep it green, it will make it healthy and more equipped to defend itself against weeds and pests. Organic fertilizers, such as manure, grass clippings, fish emulsion and worm castings, work well.
While natural pest control products are a great way to go green and step away from commercial insecticides, you should still be knowledgeable about using them. Don’t just use something that cures the problem, look for the cause and seek a solution for that problem. Overuse can end up creating new problems like getting rid of one pest in exchange for another.
Natural pest control can be a great non-toxic solution to keeping your garden and home pest free. Keep in mind these three options to help control insects and pests:
Prevention is the first line of defense. When it comes to dealing with insects and pests and using organic solutions, if you can keep them away, you can prevent them from becoming a problem.
2. Homemade Sprays
Everyone can make natural organic insect spray. Its cheaper, safer and non-toxic.
3. “Know organic and how to use it”
Do your research and learn as much as you can about organic insect control. Below are some of the most common organic solutions to insect and pest control.
These are made from plants which have pesticide qualities. Generally, some of these materials, while safer to the user and the environment than chemical pest controls, are very strong and should be used as a last resort.
Used inappropriately, these stronger botanicals, like rotenone, pyrethrin and sabadilla, can cause more trouble than they relieve by upsetting your biological balance and triggering secondary pest outbreaks. Use a respirator, protective clothing and follow the label instructions exactly.
This botanical insecticide is extracted from the seed of the tropical neem tree. The active ingredient, Azadirachtin, repels, prevents molting and suppresses feeding. Does not harm humans, birds, plants, or earthworms. Neem has been used for centuries against aphids, whiteflies, thrips, hornworms, leafminers, gypsy moths, weevils, webworms, loopers, sawflies and more. Neem is most effective against insects which pass through all stages of metamorphosis.
A unique broad spectrum pesticide which acts as an insecticide, fungicide, and miticide. As fungicides, they are most effective when used as a preventative or when disease pressure is light. Works by coating plant surfaces, preventing fungal spore germination and killing external fungi on leaf surfaces.
As an insecticide/miticide, use neem oil when insect/mite pressure is light to moderate. Suffocates insects and mites on contact and is especially effective on whiteflies, aphids and other soft bodied insects. Also acts as a repellent. Since this product is an oil, it can also kill beneficial bees if they are exposed to direct treatment.
Neem Oil products can be used as dormant oils, growing-season sprays or sprays for smothering such pests as overwintering scales, mites, aphids, and peach twig borer. There are many orchards which are doing well and have never been sprayed with oils. In commercial applications or serious pest outbreaks, the use of oils may prove necessary.
This broad-spectrum, contact-kill insecticide is an extract of the crushed dried flowers of Chrysanthemum. Pyrethrin has great insecticidal qualities. It is known for its unique “knock-down” quality which stuns flying insects, causing them to quickly fall to the ground.
Pyrethrin also gets insects out of protected hiding spots by irritation, exposing them to predators and bringing them into contact with the spray. Insects have not developed resistance to it in over 200 years of use.
Pyrethrin is used against a wide range of insects including ants, aphids, army worms, beetles such as the asparagus, blister, cucumber, Colorado potato, and Mexican bean beetle, cabbage loopers, caterpillars, cockroaches, earwigs, fleas, fruit flies, leafrollers, leafhoppers, mosquitoes, thrips, ticks, whiteflies, & more.
Pyrethrin is toxic to many fish species. However, it is far safer than chemicals and is one of the safest botanicals available. Quickly broken down in the sunlight, so it has a short residual use. For this reason it may require repeated applications. For maximum effect, apply in the evening or at night. Look for 100% natural pyrethrins, not synthetic.
Natural pest control is safer, and often more effective, than chemical pesticides at managing most insects and pests like ants, flies, cockroaches and others that want to share your lawn, garden and home.
Most pesticides that control insect pests are poisons that you don’t want around your body, your children or your pets. Worst of all, they tend to linger in the environment long after they’ve been sprayed. Before you reach for a chemical solution, try our tips for safe, natural insect control.
By Victoria Stone