Many species of wildlife are our natural pest controllers.
Insectivorous birds consume large quantities of garden
insects, spiders and cockroaches. Bluetongue lizards eat
snails and slugs.
Some commercial pesticides are highly toxic and may pass
through the food chain. When you poison around your house
you may unintentionally poisoning our native wildlife.
There are safer alternatives that can be used around the
house and garden.
Ants are harmless and should ideally be left alone. Ants
kill termites, so if you live in a termite affected area,
ants are your allies in protecting your home.
If you really must kill ants in an area, try these methods:
Detergent in spray bottle as a spray.
Fill a glass jar a quarter full with a mix of I part honey,
parts water & add drop or two of detergent, as a trap.
Keep food in sealed containers to discourage cockroaches.
Don't leave food scraps or dirty dishes overnight.
tall glass jar or milk bottle, with petroleum jelly smeared
around the top inside edges, to about a quarter of the way
down, makes a good cockroach trap. In the bottom of the
container place a small amount of oil and some banana, or a
little beer. The cockroaches climb in for the food, but
can't get out. You can drown the cockroaches in soapy water,
or else could feed to birds (providing you are certain they
are pesticide free). Free range hens enjoy eating
Cucumber peel is often used as a repellent for cockroaches,
ants etc. Eucalyptus oil wiped on cupboards is an excellent
repellent, as are citrus oils. Place bay leaves, talcum
powder or baking soda around cracks in rooms. Lavender oil,
eucalyptus oil, citrus peel and sprays are all useful in
Mix ½ cup sugar and ¼ cup shortening or bacon drippings. Add
½ cup onions, ½ cup flour and 230gm baking soda. If you find
some cockroach droppings, add some to the mixture as well.
Add enough water to make a dough-like consistency. Make
balls of bait and put them wherever you see cockroaches.
Snails and slugs can be hand picked from the garden. Ducks
and lizards will consume large quantities of snails and
slugs. Crushed egg shells on the garden bed around the base
of plants will deter snails; as will sawdust or hay mulch.
Overturned pots, containers or grapefruit skin halves placed
in the garden with one side propped up a little will attract
snails and slugs where they can be collected during the day.
A container of beer placed in the garden, sunk to the rim
will attract snails, where they will fall in and drown.
Seedlings can be protected by cutting a soft drink bottle in
half and placing the top over the seedlings until they
harden off. This also has the advantage of protecting from
other damage and forms a 'mini greenhouse' for the seedlings
to get established. The large spotted slugs sometimes seen
in gardens are leopard slugs. These do not eat garden
plants, but consume mulching and dead material, and so are
Citrus sprays contain D-limonene, which is a byproduct of
citrus. D-limonene is effective as an insecticide. It works
by disrupting the moisture balance of insects. These
products may also be safely used as flea or lice treatments.
They can be sprayed or sponged directly.
Method I: Cut up 2 lemons (skin & all), & pour over 2 cups
of boiling water. Let stand overnight.
Use skins of 4 oranges and blend in food processor with 3
cups boiling water.
Lavender oil applied onto exposed skin with a cotton ball is
an excellent repellent for mosquitoes. Eucalyptus oil and
tea tree oil also work well.
Citronella repellent products are a safer alternative to
toxic sprays as insect deterrents in the house and yard.
Soap has been used for centuries as an all-purpose
pesticide. It disrupts the cell membranes, and so the insect
dies of dehydration. If you use too much soap in the mixture
you will kill the plant as well, so don't think "more is
better". The mixture here is quite safe to use in the
garden. Use plain-pure laundry soap like Sunlight.
Use 50gm grated cake soap (or 2 tablespoons liquid soap) to
5 litres of hot water, and spray from a spray bottle as
Use 2-3 heads of garlic, crush and cover with boiling water
and leave overnight. Strain and use the garlic water as part
of the 5 litres of water to go into the soap
White oil or dormant oil is used to treat white fly,
aphids and mites.
Mix 1 cup of vegetable cooking oil, a half a cup of water,
and a few drops of washing-up detergent. This base is the
white oil mixture. Mix one part of the white oil mixture to
40 parts water and spray from a spray bottle as needed.
healthy garden doesn't normally suffer from severe insect
infestations. If you have used toxic pesticides for a long
time, it may take a while for the natural balance to be
restored, but it is worth it in the long run.
Planting native trees, bushes and shrubs will encourage
wildlife to your yard. Providing an understory of shrubs and
mulching gardens will not only conserve water, but will
enable smaller insectivorous birds and native lizards to
inhabit your garden as well. Providing a source of clean
fresh water in an area safe from pet dogs or cats will also
encourage native birds to your yard.
Take a close look for any hollows in trees before lopping,
as you may be destroying the home or nesting site of a
native animal. Many of our native species live in tree
hollows and can't survive without them. Enjoy sharing our
environment with our precious and unique wildlife!