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Questionnaire: Is Natural Pest Control Right for You?

By: Dr Gareth Evans - Updated: 25 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Natural Pest Control Garden Pesticide

For anyone who feels a bit uneasy about the whole idea of using pesticides, natural pest control has an obvious appeal.

Enlisting the services of a small army of unpaid pest controllers has a lot going for it and not least in terms of the potential savings you can make, but despite the advantages it’s not always going to be the right approach for everyone. So how do you know if natural pest control is for you? Much of it depends on how you view your garden, what you like to do in it and how much plant damage you can put up with.

If you are considering turning to natural pest control, but you’re still not entirely sure, before you take the plunge, try our quick questionnaire to find out if it’s likely to work for you. It isn’t a foolproof test, of course, but it should at least give you an idea and get you thinking about the sorts of things that will help you make your final decision.

    1. What does your garden mean to you?

  • a) My pride and joy; an inspiring place where I get to grow wonderful plants.
  • b) It’s a place to get back to nature; my own little wildlife sanctuary.
  • c) It’s lots of things – a place for wildlife, growing, entertaining and the family.
  • 2. Which best sums up how you feel about pesticides in general?

  • a) They’re very effective tools, provided they’re used properly.
  • b) I hate the whole idea of chemicals in the garden.
  • c) They have their uses, but I don’t like to use them more than I have to.
  • 3. Can you name three “gardener’s friends” off the top of your head?

  • a) Yes
  • b) Definitely
  • c) Probably
  • 4. OK – but can you name five more?

  • a) Probably
  • b) Definitely
  • c) Probably not
  • 5. If you had to pick ONE, which would be the most important thing your garden provides?

  • a) The chance to grow beautiful flowers.
  • b) The opportunity to see wildlife.
  • c) Leisure opportunities with family and friends.
  • 6. What is your instant reaction to seeing chewed leaves or damaged stems?

  • a) Anger – I take it very personally!
  • b) Can’t say I really notice that sort of thing much.
  • c) Oh dear – but I suppose it’s only natural.
  • 7. Do any children and/or pets share your garden?

  • a) Only very occasionally.
  • b) Yes, all the time.
  • c) Yes, mostly, but there are some areas where they don’t go.
  • 8. What facilities do you have for wildlife in your garden?

  • a) Nothing special – I just put out a bit of food if the weather’s bad.
  • b) Everything I can think of – and I’m scouring the garden centres and catalogues for more.
  • c) A few things – such as bird-tables, nesting boxes or bee logs.
  • 9. How confident do you feel using pesticides and other garden chemicals?

  • a) Very confident; I have my favourites and I use them regularly.
  • b) I never use them.
  • c) I’d have to check the label to make sure I got it right, but I’m OK otherwise.
  • 10. Finally, what does “natural pest control” mean to you?

  • a) A bit of help in the constant battle against pests.
  • b) Nature in balance; using natural enemies to control pests.
  • c) A way to avoid using more pesticide than I have to.

Mostly (a)s

You really love your garden. You like it to look “just-so” and take great pride in cutting, pruning and mowing it to keep it in the best possible condition. So is natural pest control right for you? Probably not, at least not as your only – or even main – means of dealing with the slugs, bugs and other beasties that seem intent on ruining the little patch of paradise you’ve struggled hard to create. That’s not to say you aren’t more than happy to do your bit to encourage a few of the gardener’s friends to take up residence – it’s just that you quite rightly don’t see them doing the job thoroughly enough to feel relaxed about leaving them entirely alone to get on with it.

Mostly (b)s

It’s natural all the way for you, isn’t it? You’re more than content to allow a bit of nibbling here and the less-than-perfect bloom there if it means you can keep your garden free of both pests and pesticides. The gardener’s friends really are welcome in your plot; short of rolling out a welcome mat, you probably couldn’t do much more to make them feel at home.

Mostly (c)s

You like your garden to look good, but you’re not entirely happy with dousing everything in sight with pesticides to keep it that way. Natural pest control certainly has a place in your garden regime – and it’s probably going to be most useful in the wildlife corner, or the less heavily manicured sections of your plot. Fortunately, it’s not too hard to run the two systems in tandem with each other and there’s nothing wrong with trying to get the best of both worlds.

Good luck, whichever system of pest control you do decide to use – and enjoy your garden!

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