The Safest Organic Pest Repellent Ever?

Organic gardeners and farmers like to talk about balance in nature and working with natural systems, not against them. To that end, the idea of eradicating pests becomes a self-defeating goal as it throws nature off balance and deprives predators that would normally keep populations in check of their food. The end result- so the theory goes- is a greater and greater reliance on pesticides as critters develop a tolerance for our poisons. But as Treehugger demonstrated in its post on Japanese beetles, even the keenest organic gardener can be driven to despair by the more destructive elements in the animal kingdom. Now one designer in New Zealand has come up with a unique pest repellent for at least one pesky species- and all it took was a 3D printer and a bit of research.

From parasitic wasps to sexy sterile insects there are, of course, plenty of ideas out there for biological control of troublesome insects. But each of these comes with their own risk- especially when using non-native species. Introducing an entirely new element into an ecosystem is, after all, tampering with the natural order of things too.

Designer Vik Oliver over in New Zealand thinks he may have come up with a novel solution for deterring the cabbage white butterfly. It turns out that cabbage white butterflies are antisocial when they’re laying their eggs. By sticking up decoy butterflies, says Vik, you can scare them off your crops. And just in case you see butterflies trying to mate with yours, don’t worry: “They are stupid males and will not be laying eggs.”

There is, of course, nothing new under the sun. In some ways pest control like this is just another take on the original organic pest repellent- the scarecrow. But if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.


This post was originally published by Treehugger.


Related Stories: 

Thinking of Growing Your Own? Go Organic!

“Subversive” Gardening

Is This EPA-Approved Pesticide a Bee Killer?


Photo courtesy of timpeartrice
By Sami Grover, a Treehugger blogger


Jan G.
Jan G.4 years ago

Paula, I use an environmentally friendly disinfecting cleaner which acts as an insect killer because it dissolves the waxy coating on their bodies thereby draining all body fluids within seconds. Works well on all insects including fleas, cockroaches, ants and costs peanuts but needs to be sprayed directly onto the insect to kill it. Let me know if you would like more info.

patricia A.
P A.4 years ago

Like some others, I have found diatomaceous earth to be very effective - this is in the house, and it is a great help.

Gloria S.
Gloria S.5 years ago

Sometimes the simplest idea is the best.

Carmel Harrison
Carmel Harrison5 years ago

What an interesting idea, I will be trying it!!

anne b.
anne barusta5 years ago

In British Columbia (Canada) they also sell fake apples to hang on the tree just before the real apples grow, so the eggs get deposited into the fake ones and can't survive.

Klaus P.
Klaus Peters5 years ago

Great, I will try that. These cabbage white butterflies are a pest in my garden.

Kim J.
Kimberly J.5 years ago

Paula L. You can use food grade Diatomaceous Earth and beneficial nematodes to control fleas. Just be sure to use food grade and not pool grade Diatomaceous Earth as the pool grade is toxic and can kill your pets.

Paula L.
Paula L.5 years ago

Great Article! And scare crows can be decorative, I like that in a garden.

Does anyone have any ideas as to what deters fleas? We have fought fleas here for years, and I live on the edge of a natural spring fed creek that runs right by the back side of my property and into a larger river and so I refuse to use any toxic horrible pesticides, so far I have just concentrated on trying to manage keeping them out of my home and off my dogs by using herbal sprays and such. Is there a plant or something I can place in strategic places on my lawn that will deter them from coming into my yard. If so I will even purchase some and give them to my neighbors who also never treat their lawns so we can run them to other side of town....well face it folks that is what will happen, But I am open for any ideas, guess I should study up on fleas.

Loo Samantha
Loo sam5 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Deanna Murphy
Cindy Murphy5 years ago

great article