Rid your garden of insects with these homemade traps

June 30, 2015

Have flying or crawling insects taken over your garden? Not for long. Try these tricks to trap those pests — your garden will thank you.

Rid your garden of insects with these homemade traps

Fool coddling moths with fake apples

The larvae of these moths attack fruit, but you can make sure coddling moths never lay eggs by luring them with fake apples — red Christmas tree balls hung in fruit trees. Start by threading a 30-centimere (12-inch) loop of twine through the ball holder, then knot it two or three times. Spray the "apples" on all sides with an adhesive insect spray and hang three or four on fruit tree branches. Coddling moths will zero in on the red targets and get stuck.

Bottle up wasps

Wasps follow their noses to sugar, so set them a sweet trap. Slice 7.5 centimetres (three inches) off the top of a large plastic soda bottle and set the necked piece aside. Create a hanger by poking holes on either side of the base near the top. Thread a 45 to 60 centimetre (18 to 24-inch) string through the holes and triple-knot the ends. Place the necked piece into the bottle upside down to form a funnel, taping it tightly. Pour sugar water into the bottle (use four parts water to one part sugar, dissolved), and hang your contraption on the branch of a tree favoured by wasps. Wasps trying to reach the liquid will either drown or be unable to escape from the bottle.

Suck 'em up

Use a battery-operated handheld vacuum cleaner to rid your plants of small leaf-eating insects. Run the vacuum over both sides of the leaves of the affected plant to suck up red spider mites, flea beetles, aphids, whiteflies and other tiny pests.

Send bugs to the mothball chamber

If whiteflies, mealybugs or any other insect pests are attacking your houseplants, sentence them to death by mothball. Put an affected plant (pot, saucer and all) into a clear plastic dry-cleaning bag. Water the plant and drop five or six mothballs into the bag. Tie the bag closed with a twist tie, then move the bagged plant to a bright, though not directly sunlit, spot. Let it sit for a week before taking the plant from the bag and returning it to its usual place. If necessary, repeat the treatment until all of the pests have given up the ghost.

Attract pests with warm colours

Paint milk cartons or plastic dishpans red, orange or yellow, coat with an adhesive insect spray and set at 3.5 metre (12-foot) intervals in the garden. Flying insects zoom to them and get stuck fast. To kill aphids in particular, forgo the adhesive and simply fill a yellow container three-quarters full of water. The little green ones will zip straight to the container and end up in a watery grave.

Let toads do it

Toads are among the most insect-hungry garden visitors. Attract them by placing a broken flowerpot or two in a shady spot, then sink a pan filled with water and rocks into the soil so any visiting toads will stick around. In this case, it's not so much you specifically doing the work of trapping them, but you're doing the work of attracting the toads, so you can say goodbye to your unwanted insect guests.

You don't have to use noxious insecticides. These easy-to-make homemade traps will have your garden and plants insect-free in no time.

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