Keeping Your Yard & Garden Pest Free
This is the season to be enjoying the great outdoors, and keeping your yard & garden pest free, is a big part of that enjoyment.
Today I am going to share a few of my favorite tips and tricks for keeping your yard & garden pest free. Everyone that lives here in the south knows what a pest that mosquitoes can be this time of year. Being that we live near water and woods, believe me we have our fair share of them, and they just love to dine on me.Since I hate to spend the season covered in bites or scratching, I wanted to share a few of our favorite ways to mitigate these pesky, uninvited yard guests. Stagnant water can be a huge breeding ground for these guys, and since we have a natural little pond and creek pretty close to home, it harbors the perfect environment for them especially during a drought. Since these are natural waterways and are protected by DNR we are prohibited from using any kind of sprays that could have run off and cause environmental effects on local wildlife.I did a little bit of research into what could be used to stop the mosquitoes besides the dated purple light of a quintessential 80’s bug zapper, which was just a no go for me lol. I found a great product called Dr. T’s Mosquito Granules. It is made with lemongrass, mint, and garlic oil, so it is all natural and organic. I admit I was completely skeptical at first, but then I remember this is similar to the stuff I had seen put out at some of the large theme parks. They used something very similar since it was pet friendly and safe for people. I ordered a batch and it worked like a charm! The treatments last for 2 weeks and we can get 3 treatments out of one 5lb. container which runs under $20.
(They also make a organic snake repellent too, which is basically garlic and onion granules, so planting Agapanthus or Garlic plants, seen above will help to deter them from your yard a bit. I planted mine around the HVAC units where they can be a little bit problematic.)
Another great tip is to try natural predators like birds and bats that eat a lot of insects. Adding birdhouses, bird feeders and even bat boxes will entice more of this wildlife into your yard and help to cut back on the bugs as well. I was shocked to watch the birds eat all the bugs from around our screened porches, however the cats found it very entertaining. We also constructed our very our very own Bat Box a few years ago, click here for the full DIY. We currently have a few resident bats that come out at night to hunt at night and to feed on the mosquitos.Another common issue we have problems with here in Georgia is Carpenter Bees, known as boring bees and they can destroy peoples homes by boring into them and leaving holes. A lot people use the carpenter bee traps. I personally prefer a more organic method by planting loads of pretty Bee Balm to lure them away from my home all together. By planting these massive pollinators instead, which are pretty and they love, I am able to draw their attention away from our home a bit. While nothing will work 100% of the time, I have found that this method does works pretty well, since my plants tend to be covered in bees and the house is not. Another Pesky garden bug is the Japanese Beetle, this time of year they can completely devour your garden. Eating up rose bushes, ornamental trees, and other perennial bulbs and plants. As you can see below this is a leaf that has been consumed on my ornamental cherry tree, while above they are ravaging my blossoms on my magnolia tree. Seriously nothing is sacred from these little monsters, they eat it all and are just as destructive as bagworms, another pesky tree killer. For that reason I have resorted to spraying almost everything in my yard with the exception of my Butterfly Bushes and Bee Balm with Liquid Sevin Insect Killer seen below. I will be the first to say I am not a fan of full strength insecticides, since they do cause harm to honeybees, butterflies and other good pollinators. However, I have really had a difficult time with the beatles, bag worms, and stink bugs and sadly this is only thing that I have found that works.
(Note- It also kills Stink Bugs which have been a problem for years now, but this has been our first year without them since I sprayed. Screened porches are are great use for this product too!)A few other little tips I have found for yard pest, especially if you are entertaining, use a good citronella candle or they now offer incense sticks too. I recently tried the Murphy’s Brand which I found at my local Target store, and really smell nice for citronella and have a nice long burn time as well. I will say these smell great and work fabulous, we used them at our recent 4th of July Celebration, and not a bug in site. Here is another great tip, I am also very old school and use Avon Skin So Soft as a bug repellant. My mom always used to spray me down in the stuff every summer, so the smell alone takes me right back to my childhood. Fresh from an evening bath, I would be coated in the Skin so Soft and my hair would smell like fresh lemon juice, to keep my toe head blonde streaks in the summer. Those are a few of my childhood summertime memories. ( Sidenote: I will say I am a natural blonde, and still am to this day, so I do not recommend the lemon juice method for other colors at all)