Alice, Cats, Insects, Mice & Rats, Pest Control, Slugs & Snails, Spiders

There’s no doubt about it: pests can be the bane of a gardener’s life. There’s nothing worse than growing the perfect crop of tomato plants, only to have them demolished by slugs and insects. Chemical pesticides can be highly effective at deterring and removing unwanted critters, however, these can be detrimental to the environment, and other beneficial wildlife. So here are some great eco-friendly pest control methods that can be equally effective.

eco-friendly pest control

Netting & Cloches

Pigeons, along with many species of insects, enjoy eating flowers and vegetable plants. Protective netting is a great way of keeping your plants safe and sound, however, there needs to be space between the net and the plant, otherwise, birds may land on the net and peck through it if they can. You can support your netting with bamboo canes or upturned pots, however, cloches and grow tunnels provide a ready-made safety system. This set of 3 Victorian Glass Bell Jar Cloches are a stylish way to protect growing plants.

Companion Planting

Companion planting involves growing your plants alongside other species that will disguise the vulnerable plants, or attract predatory insects that feed on pests. This is a great method of eco-friendly pest control, as it is harm-free, increases the biodiversity of your garden, and can also have other benefits such as improving taste and yields. Good companion plants for repelling unwanted insects include dill, fennel, allium, basil, coriander, and marigolds. Check out our full guide to companion planting here

Natural Sprays

Sprays have long been used to deter bugs from plants, however, there are plenty of eco-friendly natural alternatives to chemical pesticides. Spraying plants with water or a light soap solution can remove aphids, caterpillars, or similar insects from plants, and creating a herbal water spray from essential oils such as sage, thyme, basil, or rosemary can act as a repellent. You could also spray with a pepper or alcohol solution to deter pests.

Natural Predation 

Your garden can be a great place to support species of animal that are declining in the wild, and many of these creatures have the added benefit of ridding your garden of unwanted pests. Animals such as birds, hedgehogs, ladybirds, frogs, and lacewings are great at limiting numbers of common garden pests such as slugs and aphids. To encourage these critters into your garden, make them welcome by adding homes such as bird nest boxes, hedgehog houses, and ladybird towers. You can also add bird feeders, birdbaths, and leave out bowls of food and water for wild animals.

Organic Deterrents

Many organic substances are great for deterring unwanted pests, and are completely environmentally friendly! Many plant oils can be used as an insect deterrent, along with garlic- you can stick a clove next to your plants to drive unwanted pests away. Slugs do not like the sharp edges of eggshells, so surrounding plants with them can keep them safe from these pesky critters. Beer traps are also a common method of slug protection.

Ultrasonic Repellers

Ultrasonic repellers are a high-tech humane way of deterring a wide range of unwanted pests from your garden. These handy devices emit high-pitched noises that are beyond the range of human hearing but scare away other creatures. They can be used to keep larger creatures such as foxes, deer, and cats out of your garden, but can also be used in your house to deter pests such as spiders and mice. The Advanced Solar Mole Repeller emits low-frequency vibrations into the soil to deter moles from digging up your lawn, and the Advanced Rat and Mouse Repeller combine ultrasonic frequencies with electro-magnetic technology to keep your whole house free of rodents.

What eco-friendly pest control methods are you using? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

 

Composting, George, How To, Mice & Rats, Pest Advice, Pest Control

Composting is a great way to reduce the waste you send to landfill and produce organic fertiliser for your plants. One of the biggest concerns around having a compost bin in the garden is whether it might attract pests or vermin. The short answer is yes, it can. But that’s why we’ve gathered advice to ensure you can build a pest-proof compost bin and enjoy all its benefits without the pain.

pest proof compost

Why are pests attracted to compost bins?

The most likely pests to seek out you compost are rats and mice. They are a common part of a residential ecosystem and look for two things: food and shelter. This is why rodents are particularly attracted to compost heaps, especially in winter. It provides them with food and a warm, sheltered spot to sleep in.

Insects, however, are generally nothing to worry about in compost heaps. Worms, slugs, millipedes, spiders, beetles and more are regular guests. They are a crucial part of the decomposition process, so embrace the bugs!

slug compost

Tips for deterring pests

  1. Avoid putting any meat or dairy products in your compost, including fatty oils or bones. This would smell like a feast to rats.
  2. Over autumn and winter keep your compost bin damp – this will help with the decomposition process and make it less attractive to rodents.
  3. They also don’t like disturbance, so be sure to turn your compost regularly or give the bin a kick when you walk past!
  4. Cover food scraps with dry leaves or soil in the bin to conceal the smell of decaying food.
  5. Rodents are reportedly put off by the aroma of mint, so try sprinkling peppermint oil on your compost or planting mint nearby.

mouse in garden

How to protect your compost bin

It’s very hard to completely protect a compost bin against vermin as mice can squeeze through holes as small as a penny, and rats can chew through almost anything. Compost bins are much easier to seal against invading pests than open heaps, so if you’re worried about rodents then they’re the better choice. Surrounding your bin with rocks and bricks can make it a bit more fortified.

If you have a plastic bin, this is easiest to seal. The best time is before you start using it as you’ll need to line the bottom with wire mesh. Ensure the holes are only small enough for bugs to get through, not burrowing mice.

If you have a wooden bin, again you’ll need to line the bottom and sides with wire mesh. Make sure this is sealed firmly round all the edges with no gaps.

compost

Last resorts

Hopefully these tips will make your compost bin as unattractive to pests as possible. While the best defense is prevention, if you’re still experiencing issues then it might be time to look into pest control, such as traps.

Happy composting!

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

How To, Pest Advice, Pest Control

Most gardeners might find the presence of birds in their garden very relaxing and interesting. It’s lovely to hear them singing and they are a great help with insect control.

But sometimes birds can become pests themselves, causing more harm than good! Tired of big birds scaring away other wildlife? Fed up of cleaning bird mess off your patio? Here are some helpful precautions you can take to be free of birds in your garden.

 Keep birds away from garden

1. Removing Food Sources

Stop attracting birds to your garden by removing or protecting any food sources. If you grow your own fruit or have put down seeds recently, consider covering your crops with netting so birds can’t ruin your efforts.

If you’re still keen on regular visits from smaller birds, try using hanging feeders. Larger birds such as pigeons find it  difficult to get the food so will give up. Alternatively, if you are using a flat table feeder, try putting a hanging basket dome upside down on the table so only smaller birds can reach the seeds.

2. Ultrasonic Repellers

One modern and very effective way of scaring birds away is by using an ultrasonic repeller. They give out an output that birds can hear and will deter them from resting in the area. Different ultrasonic repellers allow you to change the frequency of the ultrasonic output meaning it will not affect people or any pets within the house, but will still stop the birds.

pestbye bird repeller

3. Anti Bird Spikes

Anti bird spikes are easy to lay and can be placed anywhere such as window sills, guttering and fencing. It will stop larger birds from perching and soiling the garden. They are long lasting and and are blunt at the tips so will not cause any harm to birds. Anti bird spikes can be made from different materials, the most popular being a translucent polycarbonate which helps with blending into the surroundings so they don’t cause too much of an eye sore.

4. Bird Proof Gel

Bird proof gel is a tacky substance that can be applied to anywhere that birds will try to rest such as fence tops and window sills. Gel works similarly to anti bird spikes in that it makes perching on ledges very uncomfortable to birds due to the sticky effect. It does not harm the birds and is very discreet compared to spikes, so could be used as a more efficient alternative.

bird in garden

5. Bird Distress Calls

Another way of keeping birds away is to play recordings of bird distress calls or predator calls. Birds are very sensitive to sound so when they hear these calls they instinctively leave the area as they think they are in danger.

6. Visual Deterrents

Decoys and scarers such as figures or statues of larger birds or animals might intimidate birds into leaving the area. You can also use objects that move in the wind such as scare rods or wind chimes, simply hang them up and the wind does the job.

bird scarer
Have a go at making your own windmills or wind chimes! It is a fun activity for children and is very effective in scaring birds away, with a bonus of adding a bit of colour and decoration to your garden.

 

Amie, Animals, How To, Pest Advice, Pest Control, Spiders

A video has surfaced on social media, reminding us of our great fear of spiders (scroll down to see it – it’s a great watch). In late summer/ autumn, there is an abundance of our eight legged friends, who seem to appear from nowhere.  For the majority of us, these cause minor heart attacks, and we do anything to rid of them. Thankfully there are various ways to rid of spiders, so fear not. Also, if you’re reading this and you’re in the UK, the chances of you seeing a poisonous spider are very, very low so please don’t worry.

Electronic Repeller – a modern way to repel spiders, electronic repellers work through simply plugging the device in a plug socket and emitting sound waves to deter spiders. The ultrasonic wave frequencies (which are distributed per room) are uncomfortable for spiders, but inaudible to humans, children and pets. Electromagnetic wave devices operate throughout the whole house via the wiring of your house (but electric devices aren’t affected).

Hand held catchers – coming in the form of a hoover or a brush, hand held catchers are a humane, simple method to manually remove spiders you see hiding in the corners of your room or underneath furniture. Depending on which device you use, you simply extend the catcher arm, catch the spider and then release it elsewhere (say at the very back of your garden).

Sprays – used as a preventative method, sprays are an effective and humane way to form a natural barrier to prevent spiders from arriving in the first place. Ideally you should spray where you think a cobweb will form ie window frames or doorways.

Webs – similar to sprays, removing the source of the issue is a good preventative method. By removing the spider’s home, they will be forced to locate elsewhere (and yes this might mean elsewhere in your house if you’re really unlucky). If you notice a web with a spider on it, wear gloves and place both the web and the spider in the garden if you’re feeling brave.

cobweb

Homemade – although one of the most common ways to rid of a spider you see, it can be a challenge for those with a huge fear of arachnids. You will need a piece of paper and a glass for this homemade method.  Simply place a glass or cup over the spider, slip the piece of paper under the glass (ensuring the spider doesn’t escape) and carry until you reach somewhere far, far away from your house (or the back of your garden maybe).

Let us know how you plan to rid of creepy crawlies from your house!

AmieAmie is a marketing enthusiast, having worked at Primrose since graduating from Reading University in 2014.

She enjoys all things sport. A keen football fan, Amie follows Tottenham Hotspur FC, and regularly plays for her local 5 a side football team.

To see the rest of Amie’s posts, click here.