There are many natural pesticides that don’t use chemicals. These are regarded as more wildlife-friendly, as certain chemicals can be harmful to lots of wildlife, as well as the pests that you’re trying to kill.
- Neem oil. This oil is a natural insecticide and repellent derived from the neem tree which is effective against aphids, whiteflies, caterpillars, and mites.
- Insecticidal soap. These are made from potassium salts and can be used to control aphids, mites, and Whiteflies. It affects the insect’s cell membranes, causing them to dehydrate and die.
- Pyrethrin. This works against aphids, beetles, caterpillars, and flies and is derived from the Chrysanthemum flower species. However, this insecticide can damage bees too, so if you’re considering using it, use it with caution and avoid it during pollinating seasons.
- Diatomaceous Earth. This is a power made from the fossilised remains of marine organisms. It damages the exoskeleton of insects, leading to dehydration and death. It’s effective against slugs, snails, ants, and cockroaches.
- Beneficial insects. Introducing insects such as Ladybirds and Lacewings that prey on aphids and mites can naturally keep pest populations in check.
- Planting pest-resistant crops. Some crops have natural pest-resistant qualities, see our page on pest-resistant crops for more specifics.
- Garlic spray. Made by steeping crushed garlic in water, this is a natural deterrent for many pests including aphids, slugs, and snails.
- Crop rotation. By rotating where your crops are placed in the garden, it may reduce the build-up of pests on their favourite plant.
- Bird deterrents. Having a reflective object, wind chimes/bells, and bird netting to scare or block birds from getting to your crops is a natural way to reduce the amount of crops you have to share with birds.
- Gravel and bark. Having a path of coarse gravel or bark around your crops is a great way to reduce the number of slugs reaching your vegetables.
Regularly checking and monitoring plants for pests can also ensure that pest populations don’t get too severe before having to take more harmful measures.