What is Natural Pest Control?

N. Madison
N. Madison

Natural pest control encompasses techniques and solutions for controlling pests without the use of potentially toxic substances. There are many pest control methods that fall under this heading, but natural pest control often includes the use of organic materials to control pests. Sometimes food products humans eat or cook with are used to control pests as well. Natural pest control may even involve the use of certain plants to discourage pest populations. In some cases, it may even involve the use of one type of insect to control the populations of another.

Ants surrounding a piece of food.
Ants surrounding a piece of food.

With natural pest control, the goal is reducing and controlling pest populations without harming the environment. For example, some people may use garlic oil or red pepper spray to help control pests. These solutions are unlikely to cause illness or pollute the water when they seep into the ground as chemical pesticides do.

A flying cockroach.
A flying cockroach.

Some people even use food to keep pests away naturally. For example, there are some gardening experts who claim that slicing cucumbers and placing the slices in one’s garden may help to keep pests away. Canola oil may even be useful for controlling some types of garden pests.

Many people prefer using natural pest control methods.
Many people prefer using natural pest control methods.

An individual may also use insects to help control pests in his garden. For example, if he has a problem with a particular type of pest, he may learn which beneficial insects eat the pest in his garden. If these insect predators are unlikely to harm his garden or become pests themselves, he may choose to populate his garden with them. Given time, these insect predators may help keep the garden’s pest population low.

Marigolds may help repel pests from a person’s garden.
Marigolds may help repel pests from a person’s garden.

Sometimes plants are used for natural pest control as well. For example, marigolds may help repel pests from a person’s garden. In fact, some people make a solution out of crushed marigolds and use it to repel pests throughout their gardens. Additionally, marigolds help to attract beneficial insects to a garden. For instance, lacewings and parasitic wasps are attracted to marigolds.

People might seek out natural pest control to humanely deal with a mice problem.
People might seek out natural pest control to humanely deal with a mice problem.

There are also some natural pest control substances that can be used indoors. Diatomaceous earth, which is a powder made from the fossils of fresh water creatures, is one example of a commonly used, natural pest control product. The powder is abrasive and damages the exoskeleton of bugs that come into contact with it. Once this body covering is damaged, a bug's body dehydrates and the bug dies. This natural product can be used where bugs are likely to crawl as well as in their hiding places.

Many people use garlic to help control pests.
Many people use garlic to help control pests.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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