Using preventive measures in pest control is one of the best organic techniques available. They cost very little to put in place, eliminate the need for harsh chemicals in the home or yard, are safe to use around people and animals, and are effective at controlling unwanted pests. While there are many preventive measures, some of the best ones are pheromone traps, insecticidal soaps, oil sprays, hand picking, and beneficial insects.

Pheromone traps use either sex or aggregating pheromones of a given species to attract certain types of pests to a lure. They are effective even when not many insects of the species are in an area. However, bad weather can reduce their effectiveness and they only target adult insects, leaving juveniles behind.

Insecticidal soaps are sprayed directly on insects or plants infested by them. To be effective, the liquid must come in contact with the insect. They can be homemade from a mix of one to two tablespoons of liquid dish soap, liquid castile soap, or Murphy’s oil soap to one gallon of water. Most soft bodied insects are harmed by the soaps, like aphids, maggots, white flies, etc. Although they can harm predatory insects like lady bug larva, typically they don’t, and they are safe for all mammalian contact.

Oil sprays are similar to insecticidal soaps in that they are sprayed on plants and insects. Usually infused with something like garlic or hot peppers, the oil is mixed with water and then applied. Essential oils known to fight unwanted pests are often added to the mix. Garlic and pepper oil can both be irritating to the eyes of pets and humans, and it can burn leaves in bright sunlight, so it’s best to apply it late in the evening. Certain kinds of essential oils can also harm pets so care must be taken when applying the solution.

Hand picking pests is the least expensive preventive measure of all and doesn’t require any mixing or spraying. It can be time consuming, however, and some types of pests like aphids are almost impossible to remove this way without destroying plants. Even fleas can be picked from pets’ fur with the aid of good flea comb.

The least harmful of all methods is introducing beneficial insects into the environment like lady bugs, praying mantis, and certain nematodes. These insects leave humans, animals, and plants alone while attacking all types of pests.