Eliminate pests both indoors and out
Few things are more frustrating than harmful insects that won't leave your
garden alone or, worse, find their way into your walls. Fortunately, there are
a number of options available to help you control pest populations and
virtually eliminate them from your lawn, garden and home. Taking steps to
prevent and curtail infestation will reduce the need to use chemicals to get
rid of pests, but despite your best efforts they sometimes manage to propagate
in large numbers. When this happens, you need to know what forms of pesticides
are available and in what situations each is most effective. Consider the
questions below as you shop for pesticides to hone in on the most effective
solution for the problem at hand:
Types, Form and Prevention
The first and most important step in controlling pests is to identify exactly what the pest is. If you see holes in the leaves of some of your garden plants, they may have been caused by a number of different insects. You'll need to know which type you're trying to eliminate in order to decide on the most effective course of action. If you act on the wrong assumption or simply use the most powerful pesticide you can find to solve the problem, you may end up killing helpful insects or making pets and children sick. Worst of all, you may not get rid of the offending pest. Consider the pest-control options available to make sure you remove the right bugs.
Contact Insecticides: These chemicals are used to kill insects by direct application. They generally come in spray, granular or powder form to make application easy. While contact insecticides are at their most potent upon initial contact, a residual effect will linger in areas where the chemicals are applied, eliminating or at least weakening insects (and deterring them from returning) that might come into contact after the initial application. When applying to plants, make sure to cover the entire area, particularly the undersides of leaves where insects like to hide and feed. Apply powdery chemicals only when there's little wind to prevent pesticide from spreading to other areas. Read labels thoroughly to ensure proper application and to minimize the chances of killing helpful insects such as bees and ladybugs.
Systemic Insecticides: Systemic insecticides are used outdoors and
minimize the risk of chemicals spreading to areas you don't want them
affecting. Rather than killing pests on contact, systemic chemicals are
absorbed directly into plants through the roots and eliminate insects as they
feed on the plants. This method makes them particularly effective when it
comes to taking care of pests who like to hide in areas that are tough to
spray, such as the underside of leaves. Even if the systemic chemicals don't
kill insects, they may deter them from returning to feed on the same plant
Forms: Insecticides are available in a wide range of forms. Use the
chart below to compare and contrast some of the more common types.
|Form||Benefits and Uses||Points to Consider|
|Baits and Traps||
Prevention: In addition to using chemical pesticides to eliminate insect problems, there are a number of steps you can take to prevent infestation, and using nonchemical solutions may prove effectual. Clean up leaves, weeds and dead plants that can shelter insects and choose plant species that are bug-resistant. Install window and door screens around your house and check them to ensure they remain intact. Use a mixture of dish soap and water to create a spray that can eliminate insects by smothering them, or turn the power of your garden hose on plants to chase pests away. Introduce friendly insects, such as ladybugs, praying mantises and ground beetles that feed on harmful bugs.
Organic Pesticides: These chemicals will get rid of pesky pests without harming humans and animals. Some, such as BT, actually focus in on harmful insects, such as caterpillars, without killing beneficial bugs, such as bees.
Milky Spore: If you have frequent problems with Japanese beetles, use this powder to deter them from eating their way through your leaves.
Candles: When you want to spend time relaxing on your back porch on a beautiful summer evening, light up a citronella candle to discourage pests from bothering you and spoiling your night.
If you picnic outside frequently and want to prevent bugs from swarming all over your favorite foods, pick up a food tent to protect your tastiest dishes.