How to Harness Nature's Solutions for Sustainable Pest Management


Lawn care and pest management go hand-in-hand. There’s a very delicate balance that must be maintained to keep the good bugs alive and kill the bad ones, and keep the flowers and grass alive and kill the weeds.
Using sustainable, eco-friendly, natural pest management solutions is one way to ensure that happens. In addition to deciding what shade of mulch will match the plants, where each step stone should go, and finding the perfect patio furniture, follow these natural and sustainable pest management options to protect your yard year-round.

Natural Pest Sprays

Stop polluting the air, soil, and waterways with chemicals stored in aerosol cans, and opt for natural pest control sprays. If you pick up the can of roach spray in your cabinet, and it has the word “danger” on the back, it’s highly toxic, according to the National Pesticide Information Center. Do you really want to spray something that toxic into the air or onto the floor where you and your family live?

Instead, simply mix water, a few drops of soap, and peppermint essential oil to kill bugs on the spot and deter them from areas you spray. Neem oil also works as a natural pesticide by suffocating insects feeding on plants. Don’t spray neem oil on plants during the day or under lights though –– the oil mixed with heat and light will burn plants.

Carefully Select Your Foliage

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The benefits of native plants make these the best choice for your yard and the environment. Find plants native to your region and discover what their companion plants are. Companion planting is pairing two different plants together that benefit from each other. A good example that works across the U.S. is milkweed and Joe Pye weed. Monarch butterflies nest in milkweed, while all sorts of butterflies and birds feed from Joe Pye weed. 

Other plants and herbs you can plant around your home that will deter unwanted pests are lavender, rosemary, lemongrass, and mint. Plant your mint in a separate container from everything else because it will easily take over other plants. 

You can also trick insects from eating and living in your preferred gardens. Trap crops are designed to lure critters away from the main attraction. You can plant sunflowers or marigolds just a few feet behind or away from the plants you want to protect and the bugs will be none the wiser.  

Fencing and Garden Beds

Protect your garden from larger critters with garden fences. Physical barriers will prevent animals from reaching your plants. Plastic animal guards are popular, but you can keep your garden plastic-free with wood, metal, and cardboard materials. A privacy fence will help keep animals  out of your backyard altogether and out from under the deck. 

Raised garden beds are great for keeping bugs and animals out of vegetation and saving the ground from overuse. You can change foliage in garden beds seasonally, and because they’re higher up, raised garden beds are much better on your back and knees. 

Improve your Drainage

Improve Your Drainage-natural pest solutions blog

Whether you’ve installed irrigation systems or just rely on Mother Nature to do her job, you still need to make sure water is draining from your yard properly. Improving yard drainage will ensure your trees and greenery stay healthy and pest-free. Many bugs, like mosquitoes and termites, are drawn to moisture, and standing water that can be found near trees and small areas around your yard. 

Improve yard drainage with natural resources like rocks to create a French drain. Dig a trench and fill it with rocks or gravel to redirect rain or runoff water out of your yard. Mix diatomaceous earth, orchid bark, peat moss, and your choice of soil for a well-draining soil. The chunks from the bark will create air pockets, while the moss will provide nutrients for plants, and the diatomaceous earth will act as a non-toxic pesticide. The powder-like substance is made up of fossilized dead organisms and kills bugs by drying them out. Wait to water at least 24 hours after using diatomaceous earth as it is most efficient when it is kept dry. 

Handpick Your Bugs

Don’t be afraid to pick up a little hungry caterpillar (as long as it’s not one of the stinging types) and move them away from the plant they are gorging on. If it is a good bug for your garden, like a caterpillar or spider, relocate it to an area away from your plants. Exterminate other bugs that are harmful to your yard like fleas, mites, and hawk moths. 

You can also introduce beneficial insects like ladybugs to act as tiny soldiers in your garden. Ladybugs eat aphids, which are a common bug known to destroy gardens. Their appetite also extends to tiny bug eggs and small ants. Milkweed will attract Monarch butterflies to your yard, and trumpet vine will feed hummingbirds, which will also snack on mosquitoes and gnats.  

There’s no denying that the summers are getting hotter, the winters colder, and the sea level is rising. We are past the time of thinking someone else will save the planet. It’s on us, and together, we can fight for a better future and save our natural resources for generations. When we team up with nature for solutions such as pest control, we can create a more sustainable community for everyone. 

Gina Thompson is an experienced multimedia journalist, producer, and content writer born and raised in Texas. In her spare time, she loves catching a live band, dancing, and finding the next big taco spot. As a writer, she is passionate about making a positive impact on her community by elevating the voices and stories that need to be heard.