How to get rid of pests organically


DIY and how-to

Close-up of green mint leaves.

Outdoor entertaining is one of the perks of living in sunny South Africa, but we all know how unpleasant it can be when flies or mosquitoes join the party. Here are a few ideas of plants to add to the areas surrounding your outdoor patios and other entertaining areas.

Here are some good organic ingredients to look out for when shopping for pesticides :

  • Aromatic plants like mint, chives, basil, buchu, lavender, lemon grass, scented pelargoniums and confetti bush work extra well if they are planted in areas where people will brush against them to release their scent.
  • Rape or canola oil is harmless to fish, pets and birds. Spray it on the underside of leaves (especially rose leaves) to smother red spider mite.
  • Potassium salts of fatty acids dissolve the shells of small insect pests, such as aphids and white fly. There is no residual effect after 12 hours, so it’s a great choice for vegetable gardens.
  • Creeping mint varieties like Corsican mint and pennyroyal can be planted between pavers and stepping stones. They will release their insect-repelling scent when they are stepped on.
  • Catnip is an excellent mosquito repellant, so make sure you plant some close to your patio or garden bench (your cat will love it too!)
  • Marigolds repel many insects and also help to keep nematodes away from root vegetables, so it works very well when planted close to your veggie or herb garden
  • Neem extract comes from the kernel of the fruit of the neem tree. It is a natural insecticide which interferes with the insect’s hormonal life cycle.
  • Garlic does not kill insects, but its strong smell masks the smell of scented flowers such as roses, which makes it harder for insect pests to find them.
  • Many herbs also have insect repelling properties. Thyme, mint and nasturtiums are all good choices for your garden and vegetable patch as they help to ward off aphids.