~The Ultimate All-Natural Insecticide~

| Gardening

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The ULTIMATE All-Natural Farm & Garden Pesticide- You won't want to overlook this untapped resource on your homestead!!Garden pests. We all deal with them. Whether you strap on a backpack of chemical pesticides and spray patrol your property daily (please stop) or are out there utilizing the pincer grasp you developed when you were about 9 months old, or if you carry a roll of duct tape with you out to the garden when you visit, (Yes. I said duct tape. Don’t laugh, stinkbugs round the countryside ought to fear the duct tape!!) pests are the bane of a gardner’s existence.

If you’re a lover of chemical pesticides, this post isn’t for you. In fact, whatever I’m encouraging everyone else to do, I encourage you to do the opposite. So shoo, shoo! Go on, Git!

For the rest of you, thank you for toughing it out and dealing with the challenges of organic gardening. It’s tough, I won’t lie to you, but who knows, maybe it will be your grandkids that will be the ones able to have babies thanks to your hard work and conscientious diet.

Today I’m going to bring to your attention the ultimate all natural pesticide source I bet you’re not tapping into….

Backyard Birds

And I’m not talking chickens. While chickens have their place in the Integrated Homestead Pest Management System & Food Supply, backyard birds are much lower maintenance and a less expensive part of the plan.

Backyard birds are beautiful to look at and listen to. Doing so is among the simplest of joys among the countless blessings of Creation the Lord has made. A pleasurable gift He has given to “the just & unjust alike.”

But for the gardener, especially the organic, sustainably-minded, natural gardener, they are a double blessing.

Why?

They’re looking for food.

It is the one simple reason for you to care about fostering a working relationship with certain species of backyard birds The sheer volume of insects, larvae, & their eggs that they can consume on a daily basis is CrAZy!!

That’s why it’s SO important that gardeners using poisonous pesticides not take any steps to encourage their bird populations. First, because it will be a difficult task since they’re literally killing the bird’s food supply. And second, because what insects are remaining are now contaminated and will poison the birds and their babies they’re feeding.

So let’s chat about which birds you should encourage to your backyard and how. When choosing a stomping grounds, all birds are pretty much looking to have a few basic needs met: Food, Water, Shelter, Food, Nesting Sites, and Food.

But most importantly to you and me, they’re looking for food.

Whether your trouble spot is Japanese Beetles, flies congregating on the livestock, caterpillars desiccating your brassicas, or aphids on your roses, there’s a bird that will be more than willing to lend you a hand (or rather a beak.)

So why not beautify the surroundings of your gardening space & pastures while implementing an all-natural, low-maintenance pesticide.

It’s a visionary, long-term pest control strategy. If you’re needing short term control, check out Natural Homestead. There you’ll find some all-natural fly sprays, mosquito spray, insecticidal sprays, weed killers, and more all made with natural ingredients & essential oils. But use these measures only when absolutely necessary. Remembering that the complete eradication of the food source of these birds will in the end discourage their visits to your yard and perpetuate the cycle of insecticidal sprayings.

Continue your education and check out these great gardening resources!

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{Woodpeckers & Flickers}

Grub
From trees-
Insect larvae
Eggs
Cicadas
Caterpillars
Wood Boring Beetles
Aphids

On the Ground-
Ants
Grasshoppers
Crickets
Beetles

Habitat Helps
Leave dead trees  in place or use wooden fence posts for nesting sites
Sunflower Seed Feeders
Suet Cake Feeders
Mealworm Feeders
Leave Sunflowers standing in the fall (Or try perennial Maximilian Sunflower)

 

Eastern Phoebe (Click on photos for credit)

{Flycatchers}

Grub
Gnats
Flies
Beetles
Grasshoppers
Bees
Caterpillars
Butterflies & Moths
Wasps
Flying Ants

Habitat Helps
Bushes
Perching Spots near the garden such as crook plant hangers & teepee trellises
Nesting Boxes with an opening of 1 3/4″

 

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{Swallows}

Grub
Flies
Bees & Wasps
Ants
Butterflies & Moths
Spiders

Habitat Helps
Plant Bayberries
Nesting Boxes (Barn Swallow Nesting Box plans)
Large areas of open grass (such as pastures), it’s their favorite hunting grounds
Perching Spots (such as fence wire)
 

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{Purple Martins}

Learn More about hosting Purple Martins
Grub
Gnats
Mosquitoes
Beetles
Flies
Stinkbugs
Cicadas
Flying ants
Butterflies
Moths
Grasshoppers
Wasps

Habitat Helps
Martin Houses
Birdhouse Gourds
Nesting Materials (Gather a pile and set it out for them to pick through)
Large areas of open grass (such as pastures), it’s their favorite hunting grounds

 

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{Nuthatches & Creepers}

Grub
Beetles
Moths
Scaled Insects
Spiders
Caterpillars
Eggs

Habitat Helps
Sunflower Seed Feeders
Grow nut-bearing trees & shrubs (such as hazelnuts or hickory)
Leave dead trees, abandoned woodpecker holes, & conifers for nesting and sheltering sites
 

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{Wrens}

Grub
Insects
Beetles
Snails
Ticks
Stinkbugs
Caterpillars
Grasshoppers
Sow Bugs

Habitat Helps
Leave leaves on the ground in the fall
Mealworm Feeders
Suet Cake Feeders
Leave a brush pile or a habitat with shrubs
Nesting Materials (Gather a pile and set it out for them to pick through)

 

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{Vireos}

Grub
Ants
Aphids
Caterpillars
Flies
Grasshoppers
Stinkbugs
Bees
Butterflies
Spiders

Habitat Helps
Vireos also enjoy fruiting trees & bushes for both food & habitat

 

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{Chickadees}

Grub
Ants
Aphids
Caterpillars
Moths
Beetles
Insect Eggs

Habitat Helps
Conifer for cover
Sunflower Seed Feeders
Suet Cake Feeders
Nesting Boxes
Nesting Materials (Gather a pile and set it out for them to pick through)
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{Cardinals}

Grub
Cicadas
Grasshoppers
Japanese Beetles
Butterflies & Moths
Cutworms
Squash Bugs
Weevils

Habitat Helps

Sunflower Seed Feeders
Shrubs, Trees, & Vines for sheltering retreats & nesting sites
Nesting Materials (Gather a pile and set it out for them to pick through)
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{Bluebirds}

Grub
Beetles
Grasshoppers
Crickets
Spiders
Ants
Some fruit

Habitat Helps
Nesting Boxes along fence lines or in open fields
Nesting Materials (Gather a pile and set it out for them to pick through)
Mealworm Feeders
Planting fruiting shrubs & berries
Open Pasture & garden space for feeding

 

I could go on and on. Tanagers eat Tomato Hornworms, Rose Breasted Grosbeaks enjoy potato bugs, & Orioles dine on butterflies, caterpillars, beetles, ants. This truly is an often untapped, remarkably enjoyable, and beneficial source of garden, homestead, and farm pest control.

Now I’m sure you’ve noted that many of these birds eat the fruit you’re trying to grow for your family, or they’re equally delighted to munch on honeybees as they are grasshoppers. It’s a valid concern. However, I think the good outweighs the bad. The same fruit you want for yourself might be lost to the stinkbugs. Or the vireos might clean up the stinkbugs for you and in exchange you share some of your harvest out of gratitude. Perhaps you could consider planting a few trap fruiting trees or bushes from which they could glean. As to the bees, I’m just as bothered by their dying  off as the next guy. Really, Backyard Birds aren’t the true problem, it’s Backpack Gardeners.

Which birds are you working to attract  to your neck of the woods? 

The ULTIMATE All-Natural Farm & Garden Pesticide- You won't want to overlook this untapped resource on your homestead!!

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13 Comments
  • This is so true! Wild birds are an incredibly important resource to the gardener.

  • Annie @ Montana Homesteader

    We recently discovered a bunch of cutworms in the soil when tilling up our new garden space. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get rid of them before they destroy the garden seedlings. I noticed a bunch of starlings, killdeer and robins out in the garden feasting on the cutworms. This post was perfect timing for me to read. I’m LOVING our all natural bug eating birds!!

    • That’s awesome Annie! Fattening up all those birdie babies on the cutworms! Hoping they get them ALL! 😀

  • Renata

    I love having birds around, but had never considered them a natural pest control source! Now I will doubly appreciate their songs here on the farm!
    Blessings
    Renata:)

  • Laura Weldon

    Wonderful post. Thank you. I hope more people begin to understand that healthy soil and natural diversity of plant and animal life is really the key to gardening (and living!) in balance.

    • Me too Laura! Getting a nice head of cabbage next month is really short sighted! We need gardeners who are thinking sustainably & generationally to really make a difference!

  • Holly @ Your Gardening Friend

    This is a FANTASTIC post!

    I love attracting birds to my yard. (I’ve written so many posts about it, too.) However, I’m always attracting them to areas around our covered front porch. I like to sit on our porch, sip on a cup of coffee (or water), and enjoy all the beauty of God’s creation. Watching the birds is a big part of that.
    Almost all of my flowers are near the front porch. My veggie garden, however, is way, way far away. We have too many trees around our house to plant the veggies near it. I don’t have any bird houses or bird feeders up near the veggie garden. That will now be changing! 🙂

    • Thank you Holly! 🙂 It will be nice to enjoy all the birds while you’re gardening too, won’t it? One of our gardens is along a tree line and I just love listening to them while weeding… makes the time pass so pleasantly. Then the other garden is near our pastures and there is a meadowlark that sits on the electrical wires that run nearby singing its heart out. While he’s not beneficial to the garden, I do enjoy it tremendously 🙂

  • Cynthianna Matthews

    We see a lot of robins in our garden, but we figure they’re looking for worms (which we’d rather keep in our soil). Do robins eat other garden pests by chance?

    • You know, I’ve wondered about that and am not sure. I do know it hurts not be selfish with the worms I’m sharing with the though 😉

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  • Lin

    Thank you. What a delightful post. I truly am enlightened and blessed by your blog.

    • Thank you Lin! You’re too sweet!! 🙂