Befriending Beneficials: Attracting Pollinators and Natural Pest Control

Befriending is an increasingly popular approach offered by voluntary organizations for those with mental health concerns; however, evidence regarding its effectiveness remains limited.

Attracting good bugs requires planting flowers they adore, such as anise hyssop and blanket flowers. Water features will also provide vital hydration sources.

Table Salt

Table salt (NaCl) is one of the most effective natural ways of protecting gardens against insects, disrupting insects’ digestive systems and killing larvae in pools of standing water. Regularly applying table salt around insect nesting sites will prevent unwanted visitors from invading your garden and become part of its defences against future invasion.

Add plants that attract bees, flies, and butterflies to encourage pollinators in your garden. Non-native garden ornamentals like catnip (Nepeta), oregano (Origanum vulgare) and hybrid tea roses (Rosa x ‘Florabella’) may attract bees; however, native varieties like blue field gilia (Gilia capitata) and Douglas’ aster (Aster suspicious) provide more excellent nectar sources and thus nectar sources than non-native ornamental ornamentals do – which means less maintenance, watering, fertilization needs!

Coffee Grounds

While many coffee drinkers toss away their used grounds after each coffee drink, these could be an effective natural fertilizer for outdoor gardens and houseplants. Rich in essential elements that support plant health and growth, coffee grounds contain all the vital components required to transform into an invaluable natural fertilizer for gardens and houseplants.

Coffee grounds contain organic matter that can help improve soil texture and structure while increasing water retention, helping reduce watering needs and cutting gardening costs. Coffee grounds encourage earthworm activity and support microbial life for improved soil quality.

Used coffee grounds are naturally acidic, making them the perfect complement to soil conditions that support acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons and blueberries. Their natural acidity helps balance out pH levels in the soil while encouraging nutrient cycling and cycling of nutrients through your ecosystem.

Coffee grounds contain nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, which support leafy green growth by strengthening root systems and increasing resistance to disease and pests.

Slugs and snails can be annoying in gardens, but they can be prevented by spreading used coffee grounds across garden beds and houseplants. Their aroma and coarse texture may irritate and confuse these unwanted guests and prompt them to stay away.

Coffee grounds may serve as a natural fungicide. Studies indicate they help eliminate plant pathogens, such as Pythium sp and Fusarium sp, that cause diseases in vegetable crops. At the same time, SCG’s anti-fungal properties come from its rich microbe and fungal content, which flourish in its decomposing state.

Trichoderma found in SCG can help plants strengthen their roots and become more resistant to drought and stress, making them more drought-resistant and resilient against drought conditions. Research is ongoing into using SCG as raw material in other value-added applications such as biofuels, catalysts, cosmetics, composite materials and food ingredients – use that would further lessen negative environmental impacts associated with coffee production and consumption while simultaneously expanding the service lifecycle of SCG and contributing towards creating a circular economy.

Essential Oils

Plant scents can be powerful tools for attracting and repelling pests, so it is no secret that essential oils make effective natural pest control agents. From topical applications to diffusing them into the air, essential oils can be an eco-friendly alternative to harmful chemical sprays that often harm people, animals and pollinators alike.

Essential oils are complex mixtures of volatile aromatic compounds extracted from plant seeds, bark, wood roots, resin, flowers, rhizomes, omes or other parts. Essential oils typically contain bioderived terpenes generated through the mevalonate pathway and phenolic compounds from the shikimate pathway, which have numerous biological activities (antioxidant, antimicrobial, insecticidal). Essential oils have become indispensable tools in human health, green chemistry, and sustainable agriculture.

Studies have revealed that essential oil extracts containing phenolic and sesquiterpene components serve as natural plant growth promoters and pathogen suppressants while also inhibiting enzymes such as acetylene esterase and cytochrome P450 activity – activities related to their ability to inhibit their activities and, therefore, treat plant diseases caused by such organisms. As such, certain essential oils show promise in treating such plant diseases caused by these organisms.

Essential oils provide more than antimicrobial benefits; they’re also an ideal natural alternative to conventional bug sprays that may harm people and pets alike. Essential oils such as tea tree, lavender or peppermint mixed with water in a spray bottle and applied directly onto surfaces where insects are active will work effectively against mosquitoes, flies, ants, aphids, slugs, snails and other undesirable bugs.

Other essential oils like ylang-ylang and orange blossom oils can draw butterflies and bees while repelling mosquitoes, flies, and other unwanted pests away from gardens. Basil essential oil can be sprayed onto vegetable and flower beds to promote the health of those plants. In contrast, cedarwood essential oil works wonders against plant-eating vermin like snails and slugs and encourages beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies. Rodents like mice and squirrels dislike peppermint essential oil’s pungent aroma – soak cotton balls in it before placing them around mouseholes or nests, encouraging them to relocate elsewhere in your garden!


Plants provide pollinators with food, water and shelter. Plant various flowers and shrubs to attract bees, butterflies, birds and other pollinators – particularly bees, butterflies and birds! To maximize pollinator engagement, consider growing flowers of various colours that draw different pollinator species – for instance, butterflies are attracted by boldly-hued reds, oranges and yellows, while hummingbirds favour tubular flowers in clusters or tubular flowers themselves; bees tend to prefer purple, blue and yellow flowers!

Plant flowering plants throughout your garden, from vegetables and herbs to sunflowers and zinnias. Pollinated vegetables require sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos and marigolds in or nearby vegetable gardens for pollinators, while pollinator-loving herbs like chives, dill, parsley, and basil tend to attract local bees and other pollinators. Include some native species, as these may attract bees or other pollinators that visit regularly.

When selecting native plants for your landscape, choose those native to your region. They have become part of the local ecosystem and will provide pollinators with ample food sources. Furthermore, adding local native trees, shrubs, or herbaceous perennials into the design helps attract pollinators because they adapt well to their respective environments of origin.

In addition to offering food, native plants often host caterpillars and other insects that act as natural predators against pests in your garden. This helps control pest populations without having to resort to chemical solutions.

In addition to attracting pollinators, native plants also improve soil quality and enhance the growth of other garden plants. This form of interplanting is known as companion planting and can be an effective strategy to bolster an overall garden design while warding off diseases.

Ladybugs, praying mantises and lacewings can also make excellent garden companions; these beneficial insects naturally eat pests such as aphids and mites that plague gardens. Integrating plants they love, like slender mountain mint and fennel, into your landscape to increase these allies can effectively control garden pests without using chemical pesticides.

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