Pests can be such a pesky nuisance especially when a hopeful garden season comes to an end because of their infestation. This goes to reason that preventing garden or farm pests should be an essential part of your maintenance plan. Ideally, you should consider adopting agricultural practices that prevent the buildup of pest and diseases that cause significant damage to crops. Adopting approaches such as good agronomic practices, Integrated Pest Management and use of resistant varieties are the main preventive measures. You may also compliment these methods by use of biological methods and use of natural substances. Preventing pests is far easier than dealing with the pest outbreaks after they show up. The following techniques will be beneficial in managing your pest problems:
- Practice Crop Rotation
When practicing intercropping and use of variety mixtures, you will prevent the carryover of pests, pathogens and weed populations to the next season. This practice will definitely limit the spread of pests and diseases in the long run while providing food for the natural enemies of pests. Essentially, crop rotation works to confuse pests by reducing their concentration in specific areas and subsequently managing soil fertility. You can do this by leaving two to three years in between planting crops of the same variety in a particular area. This can however be a challenging endeavor if you do it in a small or shady garden. If you notice that your crop has been overcome by a pest, avoid replanting it in that spot for at least two years. This method requires a lot of patience but it eventually pays off.
- Practice Bio-Control
This method employs parasitoids, pathogens, pheromones, insect predators and traps to keep pest populations low. Avoid using synthetic pesticides as this will reduce the food supply of the pests’ natural enemies hence undermining a key element of the bio-control method. The aim therefore, is to manage the insect pest populations to the point where natural predation occurs in a natural way and crop losses to pests are kept to an acceptable minimum. Some of the most widely used and preferred bio-control methods include conservation and introduction of natural enemies of pests through hedge rows and flower strips. The release of predators such as lady bird beetles and predatory mites is helpful. You can also use pheromone dispensers to disrupt mating of pests.
- Use Natural Pesticides
You can use some plant extracts and other natural materials to repel pests. You should also consider adopting organic farming practices which works to sustain soil health, ecosystems and people. In organic farming, you cannot use synthetic chemicals. Instead, specific natural substances are used to control pests and diseases. Chemical pesticides are formulated to kill pests but many have detrimental effects on non-target species thereby undermining bio-control. Some pesticides also cause cancer and other health problems to people as well as being harmful to wildlife.
- Employ Trap Cropping
The main use of a trap crop is to attract pests, diverting them from nearby crops. When these pests aggregate on the trap crops, they are easily controlled using pesticides or other methods. However, this method cannot be suitable for pest infestations on large commercial scales without using pesticides as the pests can easily disperse back to the main field.
- Use Natural Fertilizers
This will encourage healthy soils by activating soil microbes. This in turn makes healthy plants with strong immune systems which are better able to fight off diseases and pests. By using natural fertilizers, you are building healthy soils which feed and shelter healthy, disease free and pest-resistant crops.
- Choose Resistant Plant Varieties
This is an effective tip for preventing pests. Choose plant varieties that are naturally resistant to pests. You can find this out by checking the seed catalog lists which will inform you of the varieties known for their resistance.
- Practice Correct Farming Practices
Choosing the right place to plant crops will go a long way in pest control. Plant crops according to their water needs. If a crop requires more water to stay healthy, grow it in an area that stays moist for longer. Likewise, reserve crops that need full sun to for sunny areas. Crops may tolerate less than ideal conditions only for a short while but eventually the stress will weaken them hence they will succumb to any pest infestations.
- Practice Interplanting
This simply means alternating specific crops, flowers and herbs to confuse pests. This is because pests enjoy monocrops that is why industrial farms are heavily sprayed with pesticides. Shy away from monocrops and alternate rows of vegetables with rows of beneficial insect-attracting and pest-repelling herbs and flowers. This is a sneaky trick for hiding your crops from pests.
- Handle an Outbreak
You can do this by removing the infested plants to prevent the damage from spreading. In order to effectively do this, you should be able to identify the pests, beneficial insects and the larval stages of each. This way, when removing the harmful pests you will leave the beneficial insects which will help you control the pests.
- Use Floating Row Covers
These row covers only allow water and light to penetrate while keeping the pests away. This method offers shelter to young plants until they mature. If you have a particularly pesky pest problem that won’t go away, then you can employ the use of permanent tunnel hoops. You will therefore be required to lift the cover for a couple of hours each morning to let pollinators in.
- Be Proactive Rather than Reactive
Having a pest outbreak is an opportunity to learn how to strengthen your garden ecosystem. For instance you will learn if your soil lacks a certain mineral that makes your plants sick enough to be destroyed by a certain bug.
Keep notes of the pests you encounter, when they showed up, the types of treatments you tried and the outcome of those actions. By doing this you will be able to prevent any future occurrence of pests, eventually improving your crop yield and farm health. Contact https://www.pestcontrolinlondon.co.uk/ for professional pest control services in London.