It seems like the leaf-ravaging insects have recently been working overtime. A gardener’s worst nightmare includes a pest attack on his/her precious garden. As the growing season is approaching, you’re frantically searching for ways to get rid of garden pests.
A stop to the nearest store for pesticides seems to be a routine job when the planting season is close. However, you might not be aware of the downsides of using chemical-based pesticides. Once you successfully identify the troublemakers, you can tackle them with an assortment of natural solutions.
We have curated a list of some fantastic ways to get rid of garden pests naturally. You’ll also find a section where discuss how to get rid of specific bugs and predators. So, if you’re ready to have your lush and green garden of vegetables back, let’s jump to the matter!
Benefits of Going Natural on Garden Pests
Are you wondering why you should use natural techniques to get rid of insect pests, bugs, and slugs? Well, other than having no-toxic chemicals, using natural control methods come with a myriad of benefits.
This section will help you discover all the benefits of going natural with garden pest control methods. Keep reading!
The best part about including natural pesticides in your garden care regimen is that they are environment-friendly. The homemade or organic products do not use harmful release chemicals into the environment. Besides, these chemical-based products will also kill beneficial insects.
Do you know the store-bought pesticides have harmful chemicals in them? These toxic chemicals are bad for food plants and crops that produce fruit and vegetables. Moreover, if you are using them near a residential area, they can also threaten kids and pets.
Yes, you read it right! Store-bought products can cost you hundreds of dollars and do nothing at all. On the brighter side, going all-natural in your garden will not only get chase away the pesky little fruit eaters but also save you a fortune.
Once you switch to organic and homemade products, you’ll be surprised to see the amount you’re saving.
4. Repels a Range of Predators and Bugs
Some store-bought solutions might only work on specific insects like beetles, ants, slugs, and bugs. The organic and natural methods target a wide range of insects. You don’t need to spray different solutions on the leaves to get rid of insects.
5. Safe for Plants
If you are concerned about the health of your garden, you should use natural pest control methods. Naturally, chasing away bugs and beetles will help you to prevent toxicity in your garden. Store-bought products can damage the pH balance of your soil.
Spraying chemical-based pesticides on a food plant also make them unsafe for consumption. If you don’t want the crop to pose such problems, natural pesticides are a better option.
Common Garden Pests & How to Get Rid of Them
Are you tired of trying to kill caterpillars, beetles, bugs, predators, and aphids, but they still won’t leave? Here’s a list of some common garden pests and also effective ways to chase them away for good.
One of the most annoying aphids is spider mites. The spider mites are very tricky to spot. However, the good news is that aphids have several natural enemies. You’ll have to adopt a combination of methods to get rid of aphids naturally. Try out these methods:
- You can spray aphids of your food plants with a strong water stream from a garden hose.
- Though tricky, you can also handpick them.
- Additionally, gardeners also use spray bottles filled with soapy water on plant leaves.
- Using a mixture of essentials oils and spraying them on leaves can also help.
- Invite natural predators into your gardens, like birds and ladybugs.
2. Japanese Beetles
One of the most adamant pests that you’ll come across is beetles. Thankfully, spotting Japanese beetles is not as tricky as spotting aphids. It is because Japanese bottle damage is easy to identify. If you notice total defoliation or skeletonized leaves in your garden, you know it’s the Japanese beetle.
Here are four ways to unleash a full-on attack on these pesky predators:
- Spray a mix of neem oil and water on the crops or plants.
- Try using row covers to protect your plants.
- You can also protect your crops by handpicking the beetles.
- Farmers also suggest using a drop cloth in the early morning to shake off the beetles.
Chasing away pests from the garden is not always complicated, especially if those pests are mosquitoes. If you are trying to enjoy the summer weather in your yard, these insects will give you itchy bites. You can follow these few tips and tricks to solve this problem:
- Try using yellow bug lights around the garden.
- Chase away the mosquitoes with a large fan.
- Drain stagnant water bodies, as these attract mosquitoes to lay their eggs.
- Set up mosquito traps.
4. Moths and Moth Larvae
Moths are a significant threat to your vegetable garden. More than a bug or a beetle, these moths feed on your crops. Getting rid of moth and moth larvae from your crop is a tricky task, but not with these methods:
- Use sticky traps on the ground.
- Mix vinegar and water, and spray this mixture on the leaves through a spray bottle.
- Use row covers around your plant.
- You can also try handpicking these pests.
6. Slugs and Snails
This garden pest is one of the worst kinds you’ll ever come across. Having slugs naturally mean that you should brace yourself for devastation in your garden. Beer traps and barriers are the most common methods to chase away snails.
These are some ways through which you can bid goodbye to these insect pests:
- Sink a container filled with beer into the soil or ground.
- Lay down copper tapes.
- Apply a layer of nematodes to the soil.
- Make prickly barriers with crushed eggshells and pine needles around your plant.
Hornworms are pests that leave giant holes, devoured flowers, scarring, and defoliation on anything they consume. Pick one of these control and prevention methods to deter the pest from thriving on your plants:
- Handpicking is an exceptional control tactic.
- Use insecticidal soaps or dish soap water on the plant.
- Keep beneficial insects like wasps around to deter hornworms.
7. Flea Beetles
The flea beetle is a garden pest that is very destructive to a variety of plants. You have to take timely preventive measures before they take complete control over your garden. Generally, the flea beetles appear and lay their eggs around mid-winter.
Try these control and prevention methods if you spot flea beetles around the garden:
- Dust your plants with talcum powder.
- Leave behind a stick trap for them.
- Try a homemade spray containing liquid soap, alcohol, and water.
Before those caterpillars lay their eggs to start up an army, you can spray them away using natural control methods. The caterpillars will eat and thrive on leaves, tomatoes, and possibly every food plant around them.
- Handpick the caterpillars and check for eggs.
- Grow more herbs in your garden.
- Leave the caterpillars for the birds to prey on.
9. Squash Bugs
Early detection is critical when you are dealing with squash bugs. The squash bugs are more common guests for the squash plant. Moreover, because of the similar appearance, it is easy to mistake squash bugs for stink bugs. However, squash bugs are bigger and generally reside beneath the leaves.
- Place a shingle or a board in your garden.
- Spray organic insecticides
- Grow repellant plants like bee balm and marigolds.
The worst part about having mice in your backyard is that they quickly reproduce. When it comes to rodents, you have to go in full course to defend your domain. The mice will not only damage your plants, but they are also a potential source of diseases.
Read on to learn some ways to solve the mice problem in your garden :
- Try setting baited traps.
- Clear up any lying pieces of woodpiles and fallen leaves.
- Remove corn and squash plants from your garden.
If you want to deter significant pests like rabbits from the garden, you have to think creatively. In most situations, the rabbits will find a way to escape through the barriers and traps. Here are some full-proof ways into tricking those bugs bunnies to stay out of your garden:
- Scatter hair clipping around the garden and near the plants.
- Use repelling plants like marigolds and alyssum.
- Protect your crop and food plants with netting.
Natural Ways to Get Rid of Garden Pests
Try out these homemade and organic ways to get rid of insects and bugs. We are sure that one of these methods will help you get back your healthy, fruit-filled garden.
1. Vegetable Oil Sprays
Vegetable oil sprays with mild soap can have devastating effects on various insects that eat your plants. The spray will coat the body of the insect, causing them to suffocate. It’ll block the pore through which they eat and breathe. Besides, this spray is relatively easy to prepare because of the easy availability of items.
2. Garlic Spray
It’ll be an understatement to say that garlic spray will work like magic to deter aphids and other pests. The pungent aroma of garlic can seem unappealing to insects. With the smell of garlic, the insects are most unlikely to eat the plant. You can easily knock out infestation from your yard with this kitchen ingredient.
3. Soapy Water
One of the best home pesticides is soapy water. These can help you control aphids, beetles, whiteflies, aphids, and a variety of insects. Alternatively, you can also fill a beer container and place it in the soil to get rid of the pests. Try to apply the soapy water only during the early morning or evening.
4. Diatomaceous Earth
You can use food-grade diatomaceous earth to sprinkle on the leaves of your precious garden plants. This item will smother and poison the insects that eat your plant.
Its abrasive characteristics will absorb the lips from the insect’s body. As a result, the insects will dehydrate to death.
5. Insecticidal Soap
Do you want to get rid of slugs, ants, aphids, and other pests from your garden? In that case, you can use insecticidal soaps. Once you water plants, spraying this insecticide will make your plants repel insects. Don’t forget to apply it thoroughly, as many insects will be lying beneath the plant’s leaves.
Ways to Prevent Garden Pests
Dealing with diseases and insects is a part of gardening. Let us tell you that preventing garden pests is far easier than getting rid of them. If you don’t like using organic pest products or soapy waters in your garden, you can also take up some preventive measures.
If you don’t want to hurt the microbial ecosystem of your lovely little yard, choose these control methods:
1. Encourage Healthy Soil
The farmers will always insist on keeping maintaining the excellent health of the soil. Why? It is because healthy soil increases the immune power of the plants. Better immunity means that they’ll be able to fight pests and diseases better.
Healthy soils shelter and feed advantageous soil life. You can use organic fertilizers or kitchen tricks to improve the health of the soil. Additionally, you can try fish and seaweed fertilizer once a month to activate the soil’s microbes.
2. Attract Beneficial Insects
Other than planting resistant plants, you can also invite some beneficial guests to your garden. These beneficial insects won’t attract more pests to your garden. These insects will prey on pests. Besides, they’ll visit your garden to look for shelter, nectar, and pollen.
You can encourage them to stay longer by planting flowers that fulfill their requirements. You can attract such species by growing sweet alyssum, calendula, or coriander.
3. Choose Resistant Plants
Planting resistant varieties will deter the pests from coming close to your plants. You can also try planting around your garden like tromboncino squash, zucchini, marigold, onion, garlic, etc. You can also grow herbs that have excellent insect-repelling nature.
4. Use Floating Row Covers
The slugs and the caterpillar will eat up your tomatoes and cabbage in no time. If tips and tricks fail, you can try planting floating row covers near specific plants. You can use these covers on young plants. To weigh down the edges, use rocks and bricks.
However, keep removing the cover to make sure that beneficial pollinators keep visiting your plants.
5. Chose Plant Location Carefully
Reserve the sunny areas for the plants that need full sun to thrive and grow. Similarly, plant the crops according to their water requirements. The crops that need more water to remain lively should be planted in an area with more moisture.
In less ideal locations, the immunity of the plants might suffer. As a result, they might succumb to pest attacks. Therefore, planting in the perfect area is another step towards pest prevention.
The Bottom Line
Remember, when it comes to getting rid of pesky pests, prevention is the best choice! Natural pest control methods will effectively eliminate adamant pests and strengthen your vegetable garden’s immune system. With these natural pest control methods, your garden will never ‘catch a bug’ again.
You can either use our insect-specific methods or use general natural and organic strategies to eliminate bugs and beetles. One thing to keep in mind while spraying even organic products is not to go overboard. Too many kitchen ingredients and organic solutions can mess with the vegetables or fruit’s growth and flavor.
Hopefully, we were able to help you in the journey of making your garden free of pests and insects. Finally, you can have a toxic-free, insect-free, and healthy garden filled with fruit and vegetables!
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.