Here are a handful of non-harmful, eco-friendly and sustainable ways of deterring pests
Are you a keen gardener keeping a watchful eye on the wildlife that’s visiting your garden? Well, if so, you may be wondering how best to deter the various pests that are on your plot. Here are a handful of non-harmful, eco-friendly and sustainable ways of deterring pests such as insects, squirrels and neighbourhood cats…
1. Use natural pest-control measures
Insects (such as earwigs and beetles) and gastropods (such as slugs and snails) can wreak havoc in our gardens by destroying our flowers and demolishing our carefully tended vegetables. However, it’s important to get rid of those pests in a responsible way. That’s because they’re a vital part of a wider food chain: for instance, birds such as song thrushes love to eat slugs and snails, so it’d be a shame to use strong chemicals to completely kill off all the slugs that are visiting your back lawn!
Instead, use natural remedies to keep their numbers under control. Slugs and snails hate crawling over crushed egg shells (the sharp edges are very unpleasant to wriggle over), and as a bonus, the nutrients in the egg shells will help to improve the quality of your soil. The remaining slugs will make a great meal for visiting birds, and the scattered egg shells will make an excellent side dish too.
2. Stop cats from preying on your birds
Another garden pest that disrupts the serenity of your garden is your next door neighbour’s cat. While it’s just their natural instinct to hunt, a cat can pose a real threat to your local bird population, scaring your feathered friends away from your bird feeders and bird baths. The best way to deter cats is to sprinkle ground black pepper around your garden… birds really don’t mind the smell, but if that doesn’t work, opt for something stronger like ground coffee.
Also, if you have a bird bath, remember to position it well away from any overhanging branches (or else you’ll make it too easy for cats to reach the birds!) – a particularly important consideration given that a bird will let its guard down when it’s having fun washing its feathers.
3. Make it impossible for squirrels to gobble your bird food
Squirrels are also major garden pests, and have a nasty habit of heading straight to your bird feeders to gobble up the peanuts, suet balls or anything else you’ve left out for the birds. The best way to deter squirrels is to simply switch your current bird feeder for a squirrel proof bird feeder.
There are many types of squirrel proof feeders on the market, ranging from ones with a ‘baffler’ design to make it impossible for squirrels to reach the food, as well as models that are weight activated whereby the feeding ports automatically close when a squirrel lands on the feeder. They’re all very effective, so just choose the design you like the best, or invest in more than one.
Finally, you might also want to consider investing in a few scarers to frighten squirrels away, particularly if you already have a problem with them stealing your bird seed! Scarers are objects that reflect light or move in the breeze, tricking squirrels into thinking the objects are alive and therefore that your garden isn’t safe to visit.
Put these tips into practice and see if you’re successful at deterring pests from your garden.Enjoy more Kitchen Garden reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.