January 14, 2019

AGRIBUSINESS - Controlling pests without the use of chemicals



By AgroNigeria

One of the perennial problems that farmers face is pests invasion. Pests are dangerous and are great threats to the success of any agribusiness.

For decades, chemical pesticides have been the usual way to control pests on farms. Sadly, its effect on human’s health has raised concerns and many people have argued against its use.

Most of these pesticides are poisonous in nature, though it is the poison that eradicates the pest. But, at times, these pesticides do have residual effects on human as a result of the contamination of the crops during its application.

Therefore, taking preventive measure is better than control. As you plant your crop, there are some plants you can as well plant simultaneously.

These plants that are called companion and pest repellant plants help to reduce pest population and also serve some beneficial purposes,  like proper utilization of space and enhance crop safety through the provision of habitat for beneficial plants.


Most of these plants can be harvested and consumed too. Therefore, If you are looking for plants that repel flies or plants that repel aphids; or plants that repel bugs, you can plant any of the following plants alongside your crops and get them protected.

RADISHES
Radishes are a hardy, cool-season vegetable that can produce many crops each season due to its rapid days to maturity.

If you plant cabbage and cucumber, radish will repel cabbage maggot and cucumber beetles; it will enhance the quality and quantity of your crop. You can as well consume the radish because it is an edible root vegetable.

 

Radishes need sun. If they are planted in too much shade or even where neighboring vegetable plants shade them, they put all their energy into producing larger leaves.

The seeds can be planted in both the raining and dry season, but growth should be suspended in the warmer months.

ONIONS
This is another plant that can be used as a pest repellant. Onions can be effective at controlling insects when used in companion planting, a method of planting that groups certain plants together to help control pests and promote the best possible growth.

Damaging insects, such as maggots, are repelled by the strong smell of onions. Onions also repel rabbits and cabbage hooper.


Onions are more effective as companion plants when placed near carrots, lettuce, chamomile, beets, cabbage, and parsnips.

LETTUCE
Lettuce is a good companion and pest repellant plant for carrot. It repels carrot flies. Both can be harvested as they are edible vegetables.

 

GARLIC
Garlic is a known spice but can as well be grown as a pest repellant plant. Garlic repels root maggot, bean beetle, cabbage looper and even rabbit. Garlic is a very useful plant.

To control the invasion of aphids, a small insect that adheres to the leaves of plants and creates small holes, a homemade fresh garlic spray may help.

 

The affected plants should be sprayed twice weekly until the problem subsides. Onion and red pepper can also be added to the soaked mixture for added repellent strength.

For maximum potency, the fresh garlic is soaked overnight and then the entire mixture placed in a spray bottle.

PEPPERMINT
This plant is another effective pest repellant; it repels aphids, cabbage looper, flea beetles, squash bugs, and whiteflies. These pests are major threats to crop production.

 

For effective use of peppermint as a pest repellant,  drop some dried peppermint in a sock and tie it off, then place the socks around your farm near holes, gaps, or any other places you think pests might be gathering.

SPEARMINT
This plant is a broad spectrum pest repellant plant; it repels fleas, moths, ants, beetle, rodents, aphids, squash bugs, and cabbage looper.

THYME
Thyme is another broad-spectrum pest repellant plant; it repels major pests in crop production. It repels pests like cabbage looper, cabbage maggot, corn earworm, whiteflies, and tomato hornworms.

TOBACCO
This is an annual herbaceous plant. This crop repels carrot flies and flea beetles.

CITRONELLA GRASS OR LEMONGRASS

This grass originates from tropical Asia; it is from the family of Poaceae, it is unpalatable, thus, cannot be eaten.  This grass repels insects and even cats.

EUCALYPTUS

Eucalyptus is a flowering shrub, from the family Myrtaceae; it is widely cultivated in the tropical and temperate world, including the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East, China, and the Indian. This plant repels aphids, cabbage loopers, and Colorado potato beetle.

  

CROWN IMPERIAL
It is a flowering plant from the lily family; it is a native of diverse countries, ranging from Iraq to Afghanistan and Pakistan This plant repels vertebrate pests like rabbit, mice, moles, and ground squirrel.

You can plant more than one of these plants on your farm, depending on the prevailing pests. This is a natural way of controlling pests. With this preventive measure, you can produce a quality and organic crop for the populace.

Editor/Publisher