Wayne Adult Community Center

Feature article from the April, 2003 Newsletter


You Don’t Need Pesticides and Chemical Fertilizers

     The evidence is mounting that what kills bugs can seriously affect and even kill people.  Is it possible to live well without these substances?  Definitely.
Controlling Pests On Trees & Shrubs

     Most trees and shrubs have been surviving insects for many thousands of years.  To help them without using pesticides: Pick off infested leaves and take them away.  In late fall or early spring, remove any small branches that contain the grayish egg bands of the tent caterpillar.  Scrape the egg bands off larger limbs with a knife.  Use a garden hose to direct a strong stream of water against trees and shrubs to dislodge insects.  To make your own safe insecticide, add 2 tablespoons of ordinary soap flakes (NOT laundry detergent) to a liter of water and saturate the infested leaves.

Controlling Pests On Lawns

   Dig out weeds by hand.  Keep your lawn well watered and fertilized.

Controlling Pests In The Garden

   Grow plants that are well adapted to your climate, soil conditions and available light-levels.  Plant in the fall or early spring, when the pest populations are low.  To keep cutworms away from tomatoes, peas, cabbage and beans, remove both ends from tin cans and sink the cans around the plants.

Rotate crops each year to prevent the soil from being depleted of nutrients and control soil-borne diseases.  Use soap flakes to dislodge or suffocate insects, as described above.  Hoe regularly.  Throughout the garden, plant marigolds and other members of the Chrysanthemum family as well as aromatic plants such as chives, dill, nasturtiums, geraniums, thyme, basil, celery, mint, garlic, and onions.  They will protect plants from a variety of insects.

Controlling Pests In The Backyard

   With the West Nile virus and Lyme disease epidemic, it is particularly important to remove breeding areas.  These steps can help you to reduce the populations:

  • Drain and remove cans, wheel­barrows, ceramic pots, and other containers that collect rainwater.  (That includes tires.)  Regularly drain standing water from outdoor potted plant containers and saucers.  Don’t leave garbage lids upside down.
  • Change the water in containers for animals (this includes birdbaths) at least every four days.
  • Clean your rain gutters of leaves.
  • Remove standing water from pool covers.  Turn over unused wading pools.
  • Change the stagnant water in ornamental pools and water gardens weekly.  Better yet, aerate them and stock them with fish.
  • To get rid of bugs and weeds between bricks on a walkway or patio, boil some white vinegar and pour it on the insects or plants.

W. A. Shapiro

3/28/2002 1410