Deterring Pests and other Creepy Crawlies

By Bradley Frederick

Imagine the day after a storm, the grass still smells of rain and the plants are still windblown. You walk to your garden only to be swarmed by flies, mosquitoes, and gnats. Before running to the nearest Coles or Woolies to buy insect repellent and spray it everywhere, consider using the following practices to create an unsuitable habitat for these creepy crawlies.

It is important to avoid puddling of any kind in the garden. After a rainy day the ground will be moist but if there is standing water for more than a few hours you should consider regrading your garden to allow the water to flow out of the garden and into an appropriate drainage area. Standing water creates a breeding ground for unwanted insects, especially mosquitoes.

Neem is one product that is used to kill unwanted insects on plants, and while it does this effectively it also kills useful insects like ladybugs, bees, and lacewings. While you might be thinking you do not want any insects around your plants, ladybugs and lacewings eat mites, mosquito eggs, aphids, and moth eggs. Bees are needed for pollination and help ensure the health of your garden as it blooms. The question remains as to how to you keep these helpful insects while deterring the pests.

For those with mosquito problems, planting basil, mint, or lemongrass will create a natural mosquito repellent. Basil is also useful for repelling flies and gnats. If you are looking for a more colorful addition to your garden, lavender creates a natural repellent for all those creepy crawlies. Marigolds can be used too and may also deter rabbits. Garlic helps repel spiders and fennel will ward off slugs and snails. Using plants to deter pests helps to not only beautify gardens, but it also creates a sustainable habitat for helpful insects while keeping the others away.

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