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Squash Bugs - 27 Solutions to Get Rid of Bugs on Plants Naturally

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29 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Bugs on Plants

Whether you’re a professional farmer or a backyard gardener, you will come across destructive bugs on your plants.

However, there are many solutions available for getting rid of these common plant pests. These range from organic store-bought pesticides to things you probably already have at home.

How to Get Rid of Bugs on Plants Naturally

These are some of the best home remedies and organic methods to stop bugs and other pests from eating your plants.

1. Beneficial Insects

While many bugs fall under the pest category, some are helpers, feeding on bad insects and related pests.

Therefore, having ladybugs, braconid wasps, praying mantises, dragonflies, minute pirate bugs, and other beneficial garden insects around will help reduce the number of harmful insects in your garden.

Moreover, you can buy most of these insects and release them into your garden.

2. Companion Planting

Companion planting is an organic method of controlling pests. Plant flowers such as marigolds and petunias along your garden edges to help keep away insect pests.

And it isn’t just limited to flowers, either. You can also plant pest-repellant vegetables and herbs such as onions, garlic, and sage as companion plants in your garden.

3. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a great home remedy for pest control. Use it to get rid of crawling, leaf-eating insects. When the powder gets inside the exoskeleton of the critters, it sucks the moisture out of them.

Liberally sprinkle DE powder on and around your plants for an effective killing aid against many pest problems. You can also apply it to potting soil or vegetable garden soil before planting.

Alternatively, make a homemade pesticidal spray for plants by combining 5 tablespoons of DE with a gallon of water. Shake well, and use it to spray your outdoor and indoor plants.

This homemade liquid insecticide will kill insects when it dries out.

4. Soap and Water 

Combine soap and water for a simple home remedy to stop insects from eating plant leaves. Soapy water works against a wide variety of insect pests.

Mix 5 tablespoons of organic liquid soap with a gallon of water to make a plant-friendly bug spray for indoor and outdoor plants. This solution will kill most bugs.

5. Neem Oil

Neem oil is a superb natural insect repellent for plants. It is also one of the most popular go-to pest control remedies for organic gardeners.

It is highly effective as a repellent for squash bugs, cucumber beetles, Japanese beetles, aphids, and others.

A basic neem oil insecticide recipe is to mix 4 teaspoons of neem oil with 2 teaspoons of liquid soap and a gallon of water. Shake well and spray the insecticidal solution on plants.

You can also purchase the ready-to-use concentrate and apply it according to the instructions on the bottle.

6. Beneficial Nematodes

This is a very powerful method to get rid of root-eating bugs and insects. Beneficial nematodes seek out soil-dwelling pests and larvae and devour them.

Buy online and apply according to the package instructions. They will devour Japanese beetle grubs, cutworms, flea beetles, ants, vine weevils, and many other soil-dwelling pests.


There are many kinds of traps for garden pests, some of which don’t harm them at all.

7. Sticky Trap

Using sticky traps is an effective way to control flies and other pesky flying insects. You can also make a DIY trap out of any yellow or blue paper that’s covered in a sticky substance.

8. Empty Grapefruit Halves

Your morning breakfast can become a trap for slugs. Once you’ve eaten the fruit, use the empty peel as bait to attract slugs, and watch them slowly march nearby.

Cut the grapefruit in half and scoop out the inside. Next, place the empty peel near the affected plants in the late afternoon.

Slugs will crawl right in to take cover. Finally, scoop out the pests the next morning and squish them or feed them to the birds.

9. Beer Container

To prevent snails and slugs from noshing on your plants, set out a little dish of beer to attract them.

Slugs are attracted to the yeasty aroma of beer. So, the smell coming from the dish will lure them in, where they’ll eventually drown.

Afterward, scoop them out and dispose of them.

Essential Oils for Pest Control

You can also use essential oils to make a homemade spray to keep bugs away from your plants. Yes, some essential oils are effective at repelling certain garden pests.

The basic application is 10–15 drops of oil in a cup of water. Place the solution in a spray bottle and apply it to the affected areas.

However, be careful when using them, as some essential oils can also repel insects that are useful to a garden.

10. Peppermint

This essential oil is popular for its pleasant aroma. It also has the ability to keep away certain critters, such as the mealybug [1], beetles, flies, chiggers, caterpillars, and ants.

You can even use it to repel wasps, gnats, and rodents.

11. Chrysanthemum 

Easier to use than it is to say, some chrysanthemum flowers contain pyrethrins, which can be used as a natural bug killer and repellent.

Chrysanthemum oil is especially useful against leafhoppers, harlequin bugs, aphids, ticks, pickle worms, and spider mites.

12. Pine 

Pine oil is highly effective against mosquitoes [2]. Mosquitoes find the smell utterly repulsive. As a result, they will avoid your house and garden when the oil is diffused.

13. Tea Tree

For great protection against mosquitoes and ants, you can make a simple solution of tea tree oil and water and apply it with a sprayer.

Bed bugs, ticks, dust mites, and lice also seem to hate it.

14. Thyme 

The distinctive smell of thyme is good for controlling earworms, maggots, whiteflies, and other plant pests. Thyme oil also possesses antifungal properties.

15. Lavender 

Among the home remedies for plant insects, lavender is also very powerful.

Flying insects, such as flies, fungus gnats, and certain beetles, seem to hate lavender oil. What’s more, you can use it to relieve itching from bug bites.

16. Lemongrass

Lemongrass oil is an excellent repellent for fruit flies, mosquitoes, bugs, and fleas. This makes it handy to have around the house.

17. Orange 

You can also use orange oil to naturally keep pests out of your vegetable garden and house.

It is a wonderful natural repellent for cockroaches and spiders. You can also use it to kill termites, mosquito larvae, and aphids.

18. Cinnamon 

This is also an effective oil for use in the garden and around the home.

Cinnamon oil makes a great deterrent for aphids (greenfly or blackfly), earwigs, thrips, leafminers, and silverfish.

19. Basil 

Basil oil is another great way to keep insects away from plants. It not only repels asparagus beetles but also flies, moths, and carrot flies.

20. Mugwort 

Mugwort oil is a strong toxicant against the red flour beetle [3].

Household Items

There are many items that you may already have in your house that can be extremely effective at either killing or driving away pests.

Items such as hot peppers, eggshells, or even used coffee grounds are effective at reducing various pest infestations.

21. Garlic

Garlic’s strong smell will help keep moles, gophers, and voles away from your yard and garden. Place the cloves in their tunnels. However, be sure to replace them periodically.

Alternatively, make a DIY bug spray for plants by blending 2 bulbs of garlic in a cup of water. Next, strain and mix the solution into a gallon of water along with 2 teaspoons of liquid soap.

Shake well, and use this as a natural pesticide for your vegetable garden. Garlic spray also helps to keep fungal issues at bay.

22. Egg Shells

Eggshells are great for your garden soil because they not only supply calcium but also discourage slugs and snails.

The sharp edges of the crushed shells will painfully scrape their gooey bodies.

23. Pepper Spray

You can use fresh hot peppers to make a DIY garden bug spray. It will kill or repel caterpillars, cabbage worms, spider mites, maggots, mayflies, and bugs.

For the recipe, puree 5 hot peppers in 2 cups of water. Next, add a teaspoon of liquid soap. Finally, strain and use this spray on bad insects and related pests.

24. Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds also make a great natural pesticide for plants. Squirrels, rabbits, slugs, snails, and many insects hate it.

Therefore, place coffee grounds in areas where there are bugs in the garden soil and rodents causing problems. It will also keep away ants.

25. Vinegar

A mild vinegar solution can help control garden pests. To make a natural bug repellent for plants, combine 1 cup of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap with 3 cups of water.

Next, add it to a spray bottle and use it on houseplants and outdoor plants. This homemade bug spray kills or repels mites, aphids, stink bugs, mosquitoes, caterpillars, and other plant pests.

Physical Action

This is an effective measure to get rid of bugs in the vegetable garden naturally, which requires little to no money at all.

If you see a plant with a minor pest infestation, you may want to take one or more of these steps:

26. Pull Out Weak Plants

By pulling out weak plants that are likely to get infected, you are helping to maintain healthy soil, and your garden will be much less appealing to pests.

If you do pull up an infected plant, be sure to wash your hands. Also, disinfect the tools so that possible diseases don’t spread the next time you use them.

27. Barriers

Utilize nets, fences, and anything that puts a strong defense between your crops and animals that want to munch on them.

You can even use floating row covers that block pests but still allow sunlight in.

28. Handpicking

A simple DIY home remedy to kill bugs without killing plants is to pick them off.

Go through your garden and manually pluck off anything you don’t want on your plants. Pick off insect eggs, adult insects, and larvae. Squish them or drop them in soapy water to suffocate them.

29. Water Pressure Sprays

Use a water hose with strong pressure to blast insect pests from your plants. However, ensure the plants are resilient enough to withstand the pressure.

A powerful blast of water can dislodge anything that may be eating your crops.

Other Ways to Get Rid of Pests Naturally

  • The best way to get rid of little bugs on plants is never to have them in the first place. Therefore, make your garden less desirable for them to live in by keeping it clean.
  • Additionally, avoid planting the same crop over and over in the same bed. This will help decrease soil-dwelling pests.
  • Build up your soil. Healthy soil produces healthy plants, which are better able to withstand pest attacks.
  • There are also flowers you can use to control bugs outside. Growing these plants on the edge of your garden helps keep certain critters away.
  • And don’t forget horticultural oils. These can effectively control adelgids and scale insects.

While there are many different methods of ridding your garden of bugs and other vegetable pests, this list highlights many organic pest control and eco-friendly options.

Above all, with these remedies, you should be able to work towards a pest-free garden while feeling happy about the methods used.

Andre Campbell

Organic farmer and co-founder of Dre Campbell Farm. He appreciates everything in nature—sunshine, plants, animals, and human life.


  • Hello ,i recently purchased this home ,it was late in the season to do any garden work,as i wondered around the yard i noticed in the garden ,beetles!!!!!not just a few but all over the flowers that were left in the garden.It was an infestation, Im assuming they are grubs also ..My question is weather permitting in time for planting as the season approaches i want to make an herb garden ,how do i get rid of the beetles im sure they are dormant over the winter .

    • Bernice, please identify before you nullify! Many beneficial insects look like bad guys. Take clear photos, or get a sample and ask a Master Gardener or local Agriculture Department to identify. Then, if it is a pest, use least toxic methods.

  • Can you please make this useful article copiable and printable …

  • Hello, I am currently growing squash in our garden this year and one of the plants seems to be wilting but not turning yellow in color. Is there something I can do to revive the plant?

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