The solution I found was so easy, cheap and works. Cajun pepper sprinkled around doors and next to the wall gets rid of any problem without poison or finding a dead mouse in those traps. The man who told me about this has it sprayed all over his attic. He re-does it one time a year. I'm amazed at ideas I would never have thought of.
They don't eat it and die where you put the pepper, it appears they can't stand being around it at all. Make sure you have things covered that could be ruined from the Cajun pepper. If it's where there is no chance of getting wet, it isn't different than a layer of dust. It can be sprayed over large area or put against walls, doors and openings straight from package.
Source: Organic pest control company employee in San Diego area.
By Luana M. from San Diego, CA
Most gardeners encounter pest problems at some point during the growing season. Organic gardeners "control" (within tolerable levels) these insect pests without the use of synthetic chemicals. Successful insect pest control, however, begins long before you spot the first leaf holes and slime trails. It starts with a good garden environment.
Healthy soil produces plants less susceptible to damage and disease. To provide good growing conditions, enrich your soil with organic compost and maintain the proper balance of nutrients necessary for optimal growth.
Study catalogs and books to learn which cultivars are best adapted to your climate and growing conditions. Acquire your plants and seeds from a local, reputable source. The healthiest plants and seeds sometimes cost more initially, but the bargain plants become costly if they're unhealthy or harbor pests.
Most plants suited to your region will come with a baseline tolerance for drought. Excess watering accelerates damage from insects and disease by providing pathogens with a vehicle to spread easily throughout your garden. A good rule of thumb for vegetables and flowers is one inch of water per week and a half inch for trees and shrubs.
Keep good records and rotate your crops each year. Crop rotation helps maintain proper nutrient balance and avoids buildup of soil-dwelling pests and pathogens. Good notes also help you record what does and doesn't work in your garden.
Planting large rows of similar plants (monoculture) is laying out a free buffet for insect pests. Plant groupings of similar plants in several different areas around the garden and leave ample room between rows to make host hopping more difficult.
Learn about the types of insects your plants are susceptible to, their life cycle and the chemical-free options to control them. Most insects are beneficial to your garden-even critical to its success. You need to be able to identify the "good bugs" from the "bad bugs."
Birds, bats, toads, snakes, lizards and predatory insects are your best allies to pest control. Make your garden environment attractive to them with diverse plantings and by providing the food, water and shelter they need to take up residency.
Certain vegetables, herbs and flowers help each other repel pests. Plant corn near melons and squash to suppress melon flies. Mustard plants near cabbage help repel cabbageworms. Onions, garlic and strong smelling herbs like peppermint and spearmint curb insects as well.
If your garden is small, consider removing pests by hand. Removing only a small amount of the offenders often keeps pests below damaging levels. Dispose of them in the garbage or put them in a jar with water and let them decompose. If similar pests reappear, set out the jar near the invaded plant and repel them with their own waste.
A spray bottle filled with Ivory dish soap (3-4 Tbsp per gal.) is safe for the environment and one of the most effective tools of pest control. Sprayed directly onto insects, it dislodges the pests and then smothers them. Make sure to rinse the plants off after a few hours to avoid burning the leaves. A strong spray of water from the garden hose works well, too.
Snails and slugs (and some worms) dislike crossing anything with sharp edges. Create a ring barrier around plants with cat-food or tuna cans (opened at both ends), crushed eggshells, sand paper, thumbtacks or other sharp objects. Using wood ash or lime may alter the pH and nutrient balance of the soil. Other simple traps include inverted boards, seedling pots tipped on their sides (with drainage holes for entry) or shallow saucers filled with stale beer.
Certain insect predators, parasitic organisms and insect microbials (they make pests sick) can be obtained commercially. These vary in degrees of effectiveness and are often used with mixed results. Unnaturally tipping the predator balance in your favor can throw off the natural order of things and cause worse headaches in the future. Use care when introducing these immigrants into your garden ecosystem.
Above all, be patient and don't give up. Controlling pests without chemicals is an exercise in balance and one of the many joys of learning to gardening organically.
By Ellen Brown
Many animals, including snakes, lizards, toads, bats and a variety of birds are extremely beneficial to your garden. Insects can make up as much as 90% of their diets. Encourage these helpful critters to take up residence in and around your garden by providing them with the food, water and shelter they need.
You don't want to waste your time (or your plants) trying to outwit a raccoon if a deer is the real culprit. You need to be certain about what kind of animal you're dealing with in order to effectively control it. Look for signs, tracks and droppings to confirm your suspicions.
Most animals have an established range and territory that may make getting rid of them difficult-at first. Once you remove them from the area, however, they will likely stay away permanently.
Feeding the deer and birds in the backyard might be enjoyable, but understand that doing so only encourages them to expect more-potentially at your garden's expense. During times when high animal populations stress food supplies, even feeders located well away from your garden are unlikely to deter browsers from a free meal.
Sprays and repellants are designed to soak into plants to make them unappealing to animals. Unfortunately, this also sometimes makes them unappealing to humans. Fences and natural barriers can be cost prohibitive for large gardens but are usually the most effective at keeping out animal pests.
Keep grass short and gardens away from tree lines. Remove brush and debris from areas near your garden to reduce hiding places for smaller pests-Make them think twice about crossing expansive spaces without protective cover.
Many people find that keeping their dogs tied or kenneled near their gardens at night deters most animal pests. Make sure, however, that if you live in an areas with bears, wolves or coyotes, you keep your dog out of harm's way.
Scent tends to be the most powerful deterrent. Hanging a strong smelling deodorant soap from orchards or landscaping trees provides protection from nibbling deer. Socks or rags soaked in blood meal, bone meal, hot pepper sauce or garlic also repel deer. Animals fear the scent of their predators. Scatter human, dog or cat hair around garden perimeters or hang hair from trees and shrubs in cheesecloth. Replace after each rain. Foul smelling odors like rancid eggs or blood meal work well as deterrents to most animals.
Animals fear the likeness of their predators. Predator props, like fake owls and rubber snakes will fool some animals (birds, mice and rabbits) for a while, especially if you move them periodically.
Scare tactics like loud noises (wind chimes, radios or clanging pie aluminum pie tins); reflective surfaces (mirrors or CDs swinging in trees) or wildly flapping objects (Mylar ribbon or balloons) can also be effective.
Understand that eventually animals will probably become used to your scare tactics so you'll need to switch strategies. Controls work best when specific animal populations are low and not stressed for food. No one control will work every time on every animal so keep trying!
By Ellen Brown
I would like to know how to get rid of stink bugs and these red and black bugs on my tomato plants without using a lot of chemicals
Hardiness Zone: 8b
Karen from Pensacola, FL
Just thought I'd post a pix of the ladybug nymph because they look so different from the adults.