Whether you’re a farmer or a hobbyist gardener, you’ll come across garden pests, which can take all your hard work and destroy it seemingly overnight.
There are many solutions available for dealing with pests, ranging from pesticides to nontoxic compounds to even substances you probably already have in your home.
Here’s How to Get Rid of Insect Pests Without the Use of Harmful Chemicals
This article is here to walk you through a few natural and safe methods of ridding your garden of harmful insects.
The best way to get rid of garden pests is never to have them in the first place!
Many basic gardening habits benefit your garden in more ways than one, including making it less desirable for pests to live within.
Here’s an effective measure against insect pests that requires little to no money at all — that of taking physical action.
If you see a plant with a minor infestation, you might be able to pick off the pests or remove a section of it without having to uproot or destroy the entire plant.
1. Pull Out Weak Plants
By pulling out weak plants that are likely to get infected and maintaining healthy soil, your garden will be much less appealing for pests.
If you do pull up an infected — or even suspected infected plant, be sure to disinfect those tools so that the disease doesn’t spread the next time you use those tools.
Nets, fences, anything that puts a strong defense between your crops and whatever wants to munch on them.
You can even use floating row covers, which are either fabric or plastic barriers laid out on the soil that block invaders but still allow sunshine in.
If you have the time, sharp eyes, and the patience for it, go through your garden and manually pluck anything you don’t want off your plants. Egg sacs, bugs, spores, etc.
This is an effective way to ensure that nothing unwanted gets in.
4. Water Pressure Sprays
You can use water pressure to wash the pests — just make sure the plant is resilient enough to withstand the pressure you’re using on it!
A powerful blast of water can dislodge most anything that may have gotten a foothold on your crops, such as aphids and mites.
However, the drawback is that this process must be repeated frequently for best results and can only be used on sturdy plants that won’t get demolished.
There are many items that you may already have in your house that can be extremely effective at either killing or driving away pests.
These items — such as hot peppers, eggshells, or even just plain soap and water — are effective at removing pest infestations.
Better yet, they are often cheap on the wallet: even if you don’t have these items at home, you can get them easily and relatively economically.
1. Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
This is a powder made from fossilized aquatic creatures that get inside the exoskeleton of bugs, sucking the moisture out of them.
Liberally sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth around your plants for an effective killing shield against any potential moochers.
It’s safe for humans to handle, but must be reapplied after a rainstorm.
Keep in mind, it also kills the insects you want for your garden.
2. Organic Liquid Soap
You can dilute soap with water and spray it on your plants to create an effective shield against a wide variety of pests.
Use an organic castile soap like Dr. Bronner’s and put five tablespoons in with a gallon of water for an instant solution.
Keep an eye on your leaves for any burns, signaling you to dilute the mixture even further.
You can also try an organic insecticidal soap like Natria and spray on the affected areas.
Forget the vampire non-nonsense tales, you have a bigger problem with bugs in your garden.
Garlic’s strong smell, once stuck into the soil of houseplants, will help to keep insects away.
Be sure to replace the garlic bulb periodically to avoid rotting.
4. Pepper Spray
Not the canister, you use normal pepper into a solution of dish soap to help repel spider mites and other similar insects.
Paprika, dill, and ginger also work for the same purpose.
5. Coffee Grounds
You love coffee, but bugs positively hate it.
Use this to your advantage by placing coffee grounds in areas where insects, specifically ants are a problem.
It’s a straight-up killer for ants. Plus, it’s a great way to recycle your used coffee grounds.
6. Egg Shells
Eggshells are great for your garden soil because they not only supply nutrients, they also discourage slugs and snails.
The sharp edges of the shells can painfully scrape their gooey bodies, so it’s a good deterrent against them.
There are some oils that are effective at repelling garden pests.
While many of these oils should only be used while diluted, once they’re diluted, you can just spray them on plants that have already become infested.
To use these oils, the basic application is approximately 15 drops of oil per cup of water. Place the solution into a spray bottle and apply it to the affected plants or areas.
Though be careful with oils, as some can also repel bugs that are beneficial to a garden.
1. Peppermint Oil
This one is famous for its pleasant aroma and its ability to keep out certain critters, such as spiders and ants. Definitely a must for any gardener.
2. Neem Oil
A famous oil among farmers everywhere, neem oil has gained a reputation as a superb insect repellant for crops.
Mix it into a solution of water and soap, spray it around and watch the insects run for cover as their hormones are thrown completely out of whack.
3. Chrysanthemum Oil
Easier to use than it is to say, this flower contains pyrethrin, which is a natural bug killer.
Chrysanthemum oil is especially useful against aphids and other pests by literally suffocating them.
4. Pine Oil
Found from pine trees and highly effective against snails, pine oil is quite recommended for dealing with the annoying cephalopods.
Cephalopods find the smell utterly repulsive, avoiding the garden like the plague.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Great against ants, tea tree oil can easily be made into a simple solution comprised of oil and water and applied with a basic sprayer.
Best of all, aside from ants, bugs, in general, seem to hate it.
6. Thyme Oil
This extremely distinctive smell is not only good against bad bugs and other harmful insects, but it’s also effective against fungi and many types of bacteria.
Like the others, thyme oil can be easily applied with a sprayer in a water solution.
7. Lavender Oil
This one is highly regarded as a good method for keeping bugs out of closets, so why shouldn’t it be used for the garden as well?
Bugs seem to hate lavender oil and it’s easily made into a water solution for application.
8. Lemongrass Oil
Very citrusy in odor, lemongrass oil is an excellent repellent for mosquitoes and termites, making it insanely handy to have around if you’ve had termite problems in the past.
9. Orange Oil
Orange oil, incredibly sticky and irritating, is a wonderful repellent against ants, spiders, mites, termites, and even some kinds of flies.
Apply in a generous coat of solution to your plants and even your home.
10. Cinnamon Oil
This is a very safe, effective oil for use in the garden, and if you can stomach it’s incredibly strong odor, it makes a great deterrent for aphids.
Cinnamon oil is also a good last resort if you’re being ambushed by bugs.
11. Basil Oil
Famous for culinary use, basil oil is a very easy oil to locate and repels not only garden pests, but also fleas.
If you’re tired of making solutions, you can burn the oil and let the smoke permeate the garden.
12. Mugwort Oil
Infamous as a therapeutic treatment, mugwort oil can actually double as a garden defender against the equally infamous cowpea weevil, the bane of beans everywhere.
While many bugs fall under the pest category, some are actually helpers — repelling or feeding on the pests you want to get rid of.
As such, keeping a supply of ladybugs, praying mantises, dragonflies, hoverflies and other beneficial insects and bugs around will reduce damage to your garden and help ensure healthy crops.
And even better: once they’re in your garden, you don’t have to worry about feeding or otherwise maintaining them!
Much like the helpful bugs mentioned in the above option, companion planting is an organic option to deter pests from bothering your garden.
Companion planting isn’t just limited to flowers either — you can plant vegetables and herbs such as onions and sage.
Not only are seeds for many of these vegetables, herbs, and plants extremely affordable, but for the vegetables and herbs, you can eat them as well!
If none of the above are effective, you can also try traps. There are many kinds of traps, some of which don’t harm the pest at all.
1. Fly Paper
Using yellow fly-paper — any yellow board or paper that’s covered in a sticky substance — is a very effective trap.
2. Grapefruit Halves
Your morning breakfast can become your daily shield against insects.
Once you’ve eaten the fruit, use the rind as bait to attract snails and slugs and watch them (slowly) march nearby. Get rid of them as they appear.
You can also cut a grapefruit in half and scoop out the inside. Once that’s done, place the empty shell near affected plants in the late afternoon.
Slugs and snails will crawl right in to take cover. Scoop them out the next norming and squish them or feed them to the birds.
3. Beer Container
To prevent snails and slugs from noshing on your plants, set out a little dish of beer to attract them there, instead.
Go figure the slimy little guys like the stuff too.
The smell coming from this little dish should eventually draw all of them in and drown them, allowing you to scoop them out and dispose of them.
There are also specialty pheromones and even flowers you can use to control pests. Placing the pheromones on the edge of your garden keeps pests away.
Follow it up with plants such as zinnias and asters that attract pests outside of your garden, further keeping them away from your plants.
While there are many different methods of ridding your garden of pests, hopefully this list has shown you that there are quite a few that are organic and less toxic for the environment.
Some of these options don’t even harm the pest, instead, redirecting them into another area. With these tips, you should be able to work towards a pest-free garden while feeling happy about the methods used!