Summer is here, the birds are chirping, and there are blossoms everywhere. Dragonflies, ladybugs, praying- mantis, all those magnificent little creatures arrive.
But your joy is short-lived because they’ve brought along their juvenile cousins; flies, mosquitoes, moths, and similar, born-to-torment insects – our eternal curse.
Nothing but an itsy-bitsy mosquito gets me dancing naked on the bed, at 2 am, in a murderous rage, swinging a fly-swatter. What about a moth? They’re so hard to swat because they don’t follow a predictable flight path. Instead, they flutter in any direction with the sole purpose of destroying your food. Last summer, I threw out half our pantry because they’d laid eggs in the oats, pasta, and rice.
Of all the foes I have, mosquitoes and moths are the ones that have forced me to start deep meditation. They start their journey into your house from the outside. And that’s where you start. Outside in the garden. You restrict their movement and annihilate them.
I did it yesterday, a pre-dawn attack. Using the best insecticide for gardens, I sprayed the lawn, the trees, even the wild brush on the other side of the fence. All the places where insects breed. And aren’t I glad I got busy? Had I not, I wouldn’t have seen the camouflaged aphids nibbling on my rosebuds. This morning, on a follow-up mission, I noticed that the aphids were still there, but dead!
It’s a no-brainer that we have to get rid of insects. So without further ado, we’ll get right to it.
Top 10 Best Insecticides For Gardens
|Dyna Gro Neem||4.9|
|Southern Ag 8-ounce Natural Concentrate||4.6|
|Control Solutions Permethrin SFR||4.9|
|Tempo Ultra SC||4.9|
1. Merit 2F
This insecticide is used for insect control on turf-grass, sod farms, fruit and nut trees, interior, and exterior ornamental landscapes. The active ingredient is Imidacloprid, and it acts as a neurotoxin, interfering with insect’s breeding, feeding, and reproduction. It can be used to suppress chinch bugs, aphids, billbugs, beetles, bluegrass, weevils, cutworms, June-beetles, Japanese beetles, masked chafers, mealybugs, soft scales, white-flies, white grub larvae, cutworms and more. Many of the already mentioned insects inhabit the soil where a solution of Merit is most lethal. It is often used commercially on turf-grass and other wide-open areas because of its power.
For the best results, apply your solution during periods before insects lay their eggs. You’ll have to do some research or take note of the time of year when insects start to breed. A few points to keep in mind when applying is that you shouldn’t do so in areas where there’s too much moisture, nor should you exceed a total dose of 1.6 pints per acre in a year. You can water your plants even with the solution on, but so lightly because the run-off will remove the insecticide rendering it useless. Merit can be sprayed onto the foliage or mixed with fertilizer and poured onto the base of plants. The latter method takes longer because the chemical needs time to move through the whole plant. Unfortunately, it cannot be applied to veggies, seeds, fruit, or other edible produce. It is a great product but one of the priciest.
- Guaranteed results
- Root and foliage application possible
- Is hazardous to humans and pets
- Too much moisture makes it ineffective
If you’re looking for a natural organic insecticide that will control foliage feeding pests, this is the one for you. Eliminate plant destroying pests such as worms, caterpillars, thrips, fire ants, beetles, leaf miners, and many more. You can apply it to lawns, outdoor ornamentals, vegetables, and fruit crops. It contains spinosad, a natural substance made from a fermented soil bacterium that’s toxic to insects, but not to pets, children, or plants. It takes two days to have an effect and afterward degrades quickly.
You’ll still see the pests on your plants fro a few hours after treatment, but they’ll be inactive and eventually die. For edible plants, veggies, or seeds apply only weak doses. You apply it by spraying it all over the plant foliage. It can also be used as a diluted liquid to the base of the plants for targeted, deep penetration, known as soil drenching. Keep below the recommended dose of 1 gallon per 300 ft2. It is priced slightly more than the cheapest ones on the market.
- Biodegrades fast
- Natural & organic
- Some insects are resilient
Bifenthrin produces results where many others fail, which is why it is rated as one of the best. It eliminates and controls mosquitoes, spiders, ticks, fleas, bed-bugs, roaches, up to 75 types of pests. It can be used in or outdoors and is particularly effective against termites.
The active ingredient is Bifenthrin that attacks the insect’s nervous systems and lasts for up to 3 months. This user-friendly product can be applied in and around food-handling areas. It serves as the perfect insect barrier on your outer perimeter as well. A non-staining, odorless insecticide that’s also child and pet friendly if properly applied. It acts immediately upon application but can be harmful if instructions aren’t adhered to. This is a bargain-buy and very potent insecticide with a solution yield of 32 to 96 gallons.
- Very effective
- In and outdoor use
- Long-lasting effect
- Not expensive
- Use with extreme care
4. Demon Max
Demon MAX is a brand that’s been operating for over two decades. This multi-purpose product is particularly useful with termites, as well as over thirty types of insects. It will do wonders protecting your veggies from insects in the soil, it is particularly useful as an insect barrier and is often used on construction sites with significant termite infestations. deIt is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, and once applied, it stays active for long periods. It can be used as a soil application, on wooden surfaces, on foam, or it can be injected into crevices and cracks, it does take time to dry once applied, but that’s when it’s at its strongest. Perhaps that’s why it’s called Demon Max.
Although it does have a toxic substance, cypermethrin, the effects on humans and animals are minimal. Demon Max kills and repels many insect species and can last for as long as a decade in some instances. One pint mixed with water will give you over 30 gallons of insecticide. Coupled with its long-lasting effects and at a price slightly more than the cheapest, it is a great buy.
- Effective insect barrier
- Not expensive
This formula consists of the oil of the neem tree and not only eliminates insects but also gives your garden complete nutrition. It contains all the essential nutrients needed for optimum plant growth on the one hand and is a multi-purpose insect-killer on the other. On top of that, it is also non-toxic to humans and animals. The organic material aids in photosynthesis and leaves the foliage with their natural shine and without clogging the stomata. It is a natural pesticide that destroys insects, such as flies, mites, mildew, and more, wherever they happen to be in their life-cycle. All the macro and micro are present in the right ratios to nourish your plants.
It is most effective when best used as a dormant spray, applied in early spring before the insect onslaught. This 4-in-1 insecticide, fungicide, miticide, and fertilizer is an excellent product and one that I highly recommend. Not only is Dyna Gro one of the most eco-friendly ones it is also not too pricey compared to the others.
- Not expensive
- One of the most effective dormant sprays
- Multi-purpose spray
- Biodegrades fast
- Not useful once insects attack your plants
6. Suspend SC
This insecticide is most effective when applied to the soil, and will protect you from more insects than many other brands. Suspend SC is produced by Bayer that’s been in the chemical business for over 150 years. With this modern-generation concentrate that can eliminate and control more than 50 kinds of insects, they’re proving their worth. It’s made of a suspended concentrate known as Deltamethrin, a Pyrethroid compound, for general insect control. Mosquitos, centipedes, fleas, ants, bed-bugs, roaches, mosquitoes, spiders, ticks, wasps, and pantry pests stand no chance against it. Low doses are strong enough to do the job, and its effects both in and outdoors are long-lasting.
It is a general-purpose insecticide that is particularly useful as a perimeter barrier. The fact that many commercial companies depend on it has helped boost their good reputation even more. What’s more is that it’s user friendly in the sense that it can be applied to mattresses, box springs, carpets, upholstery, and in food service areas. The convenient squeeze and pour container ads more value. One pint can yield 64 gallons of solution. The price is in the midway-range in comparison to the others.
- Commercial grade with long-lasting effects
- No odor or residue
- User friendly
This eco-friendly, organic insecticide is extracted from the chrysanthemum and contains pyrethrins that target the nervous systems of insects. A quick-acting natural insecticide that won’t harm you or your animals. It can be applied to most vegetables, ornamentals, as a spray and as a dip for pets or livestock, it can be used as a space spray in barns or your house and outdoors to control mosquitos, flies, wasps, and the like.
It eliminates aphids, whiteflies, beetles, and worms on veggies and ornamentals. On pets and livestock, it will get rid of fleas, mites, lice, flies, and gnats. In households areas, it also controls ants, roaches, silverfish, spiders, and more – one of the best and well-priced insecticides available.
- People and animal friendly
- Multiple uses
- Indoor and outdoor
- Might be too potent for some veggies
- Breaks down quickly
- Does not work as a surface barrier
You can use Permethrin SFR as an insecticide on interior ornamentals, as a lawn perimeter barrier, and on ornamental trees and shrubs in the outdoors. It’s a long-lasting insecticide, up to 90 days indoors and 30 days outdoors, and often used to treat timber structures such as sheds, protecting them from termites. It’s a broad insect controller that consists of an active ingredient, Permethrin, which attacks the nerve centers of insects such as wasps, flies, ticks, and even scorpions.
Apply it in cracks and crevices for long term pest control, even to your pets, to remove and prevent ticks and fleas from harming them. One pint will give you 20 to 40 gallons of solution. Price-wise it’s the best one on the list.
- Extremely effective against numerous insects
- Long-lasting results
- In and outdoor use
- Not expensive
- Possible side effects on pets
Tempo Ultra Pest Control is another Bayer product. This is an incredibly long-lasting insecticide that can be used both in and outdoors and effectively controls a broad spectrum of turf and ornamental pests. Some of the pests it controls are ants, aphids, armyworms, beetles, cutworms, borer, fungus ants, spider, thrips, and ticks.
What I love about this insecticide is that it is odorless, doesn’t stain, and is more evenly dispersed than many others. The active ingredient is beta-cyfluthrin, which delivers the power of a powder formulation in liquid form, making it more effective. Half a pint will give you up to 30 gallons of solution mix. It’s quite as pricey but worth the investment.
- Easy to Use
- Controls a much broader range of insects
- Leaves no residue
10. Garden Safe
This multi-purpose insecticide is suitable for in and outdoor use whatever the season. Garden Safe is a reputable brand that produces natural-based and derived insecticides without traditional chemicals. Because of this, they’re trusted by organic gardeners. It’s ideal for most vegetables, herbs, fruits, nuts, flowers, shrubs, and trees. Insects such as aphids, tomato hornworms, green fruit worms, and other insects are killed on direct contact. The same fate awaits pests such as mealybugs, mites, leafhoppers, psyllids, scale insects, thrips, whiteflies, and more. Check the insect and pest category list to see how wide it’s application goes.
It isn’t concentrated, so no dilution needed. This insecticide is sprayed onto the foliage, top, and bottom, at weekly intervals, up to 10 times a season. It is consumer-friendly and can be applied up to the day of harvest. The mixture consists of unique soaps (fatty acid salts). They’re not suitable for sweet peas, nasturtiums, or delicate ferns. Use it sparingly on new seedlings, transplants, and blooms. Test some on a small section of these plants to gauge the reaction before giving a full spray treatment. Also, never spray your plants when they’re in direct sunlight.
- In and outdoors
- Lethal for the majority of insects
- Not concentrated pricey by comparison
- Can be on the weak side
How To Choose The Best Outdoor Insecticide
There are three different types of insecticides. The first one is a spray, like the ones you buy in the grocery store, that will kill an insect in seconds – a quick-fix and not for long term prevention. The second one is a powder that you can put at the opening of an ant nest, for example. Ants ingest the substance and soon die.
The last one, known as systemic, is absorbed by the plant. As soon as insects bite any part of the plant, they perish. We’re focused on this kind.
There are two, organic and synthetic.
Organic isn’t as toxic to the environment as some synthetic ones are unless you use too much. Neither are they harmful to people and pets. The only drawback is that they won’t help if you have a large garden.
Synthetic insecticides are riskier but will produce better results in a huge garden with unlimited acreage. They can cause skin irritation, or worse if it gets on you, so please be careful.
Here are some terms you’ll see in your search for the best insecticide for gardens.
Organic ones usually contain spinosad, pyrethrin, or neem oil – the active ingredients that control insects.
Spinosad is only toxic to insects and not to pets and people. They produce results within a day or two.
Pyrethrin, extracted from flowers, is similar to spinosad, but it biodegrades quicker once it’s done its damage.
Neem oil is extracted from seeds and fruit. Also, non-toxic, but you need a strategy to produce good results with this type. The only time you can apply neem is before insects attack. An added benefit is that it acts as a pesticide by helping to control plant disease, fungus, and algae.
Other factors to consider when choosing are the added substances and the form it’s in – powder, liquid, or granular. If you live in a dry region, perhaps a powder insecticide might be better to use than a granular one which needs water to help it dissolve.
For the ones you mix with water – most of mine are – read the instructions to know the right mixing ratios. Some insects need a more potent solution if you want to control them properly.
It would also be useful to know how many gallons you’re able to mix with a pint of insecticide. It could save you money in the long run.
Also, know the types of insects you’re battling. Are they in the soil, on the ground or on the leaves, or all of the above? Take a photo and show it to your gardening expert, or chat with your neighbors, to help you get a grip on your insect problem.
It’s not hard to find the insecticide that’s perfect for keeping your home insect-free.
Once you have a better idea of what you’re facing, take a look at the top 10 insecticides on the list below to help you narrow down your search even more.
What is your personal approach when using insecticides?
I first read the safety instructions to know what the risks are.
Insecticides are a form of poison, and even if they’re labeled as non-toxic, always wear a mask to be safe. I get dressed as if I’m going deep-sea fishing in Alaska, covered from head to toe in waterproof gear. Nothing touches my skin when I’m spraying.
Before you start, warn others to stay away until you’re done. Don’t forget to tell the pets too.
Make sure you use a good sprayer. I use a 1-gallon pump-action sprayer – sounds mean right? Like the Terminator. I never use the shoulder strap; instead, I carry it by its handle, which also happens to be the pump. One tank with 6 oz of insecticide and a gallon of water is enough to spray the 250 ft2 yard.
The best time to spray is before sun-up when all is quiet on the western front. Keep the ever-changing wind direction in mind. It helps to spray a burst of mist straight-up to see which way the wind blows, then adjust your angle of approach accordingly. Always away from you.
Is spraying the only way to apply insecticide?
Some insecticide solutions can be poured directly onto the infected area. You don’t need waterproofs for this. Known as soil drenching, you apply your mixture to the base of the plant or tree, but it takes longer to act because it has to be absorbed by the roots to reach the leaves.
Why are so many people going organic?
If farmers, for instance, use natural products, they keep their organic certification and earn more from their produce. But these kinds are usually more expensive. They’re also typically low in toxicity but not always.
Gardeners use them because they often have the added benefit of being a fertilizer. They also biodegrade faster and are generally more eco-friendly than non-organic ones. These are more for proactive gardens who stop insects before they invade than reactive ones who act after the fact.
What do I choose for different insect problems?
Identify the insects and look at a product’s label to see if it targets them. Find out what active ingredient does the damage and if there are any side-effects, good and bad. Would the area you want to treat be adversely affected? You want to kill insects without collateral damage, as they say in the military. If you wish to keep their numbers down instead of annihilating them, you won’t need the strongest insecticide.
Moderation is a good rule of thumb. It’s better to add more later than cause irreversible damage with too much.
How long is an insecticide effective for?
Some, like Pyrethrin, affect insects immediately, others take longer. But those can be neutralized if it rains or you spray them with water. Give the insecticide a couple of hours to take effect. Some soil-applied insecticides can keep insects at bay for over five years. So really, it depends on the product and its uses. Biodegradable insecticides will stay active for longer in cold, dry areas.
All insecticides have an expiry date, so don’t buy more than you need. They have a shelf-life of 2 years. The thing that gets me in a twist is that suppliers don’t often give you a choice to buy in small volumes.
I have a pint of insecticide, which I’ll never finish before it expires. There wasn’t a choice to buy less. Estimate how much you need and stick to it to save you money and the environment from toxic waste (when you decide to chuck it.) You also don’t want your shed to smell like a science laboratory because of half-empty bottles of insecticide.
This season, don’t get caught napping and be forced to watch your veggies get eaten alive, or your stunning red roses turn brown and whither.
I know you’ll do the best you can. You’ll put down a defensive shield along the perimeter of your garden that will take out the first wave of attack. You’ve also hidden some nasty surprises in the cracks and crevices for those fanatics that get through the line.
And if any miraculously survive, you’ll be armed and ready with your fly-swatter to do hand-to-hand combat.
If you’ve planned your extermination operation down to a tee, they won’t get close.
The best insecticide for your garden does more than just secure the yard outside. It protects your family, the food supply, the pets, and gives you peace of mind.
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