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22 Ways To Combat Garden Pests Naturally

22 Ways To Combat Garden Pests Naturally

Garden pests come in all shapes and sizes, which makes gardening a challenging endeavor at times. The best preventative measure to take to encourage a pest-free garden is to keep your soil healthy and the pH levels balanced.  However, we know that a healthy garden attracts raccoons, rabbits, beetles, and other pests. We’ve compiled an arsenal of 22 tried-and-true ways to combat garden pests without the use of harsh pesticides.

22 Ways To Combat Garden Pests Without Chemicals

1. Enlist the Help of Feathered Friends

Eastern Bluebird will study the ground and snatch up insects.

Birds consume lots of insects and are a natural and attractive garden resident. Lure bug-eating birds to your garden area by placing a birdbath regularly filled with fresh water. This will also deter them from picking a tomato for the juice. Erect a bird feeder close by as well. Keep it filled with seeds in late autumn through early spring. This way, the garden will be their existing haven and when summer rolls around, and they will feed on the insects at hand. Guinea fowl set loose in the garden or lawn will eat ticks, hornworms, and Japanese beetles. Most won’t scratch or ruin plants or eat the vegetables as chickens may.

2. Banish Japanese Beetles With Garden Lime

Japanese beetles eating a garden plant

Dust green beans with garden lime to repel Japanese beetles.

3. Use Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth acts as a natural, abrasive barrier to crawling insects like stinkbugs. Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth beneath growing watermelon, cantaloupe, squash and all fruits and vegetables resting on the ground, as well as on plant leaves.

4. Spice it Up To Repel Loopers!

cabbage looper on a plant

To deter cabbage loopers from eating the leaves of cabbage, Brussels sprouts, or kale, add 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper to 1 quart of water. Place in a spray bottle and apply to leaves, stems and the ground directly surrounding each plant.

5. Adios, Aphids

Aphids and grasshoppers can wreak havoc in flowerbeds and vegetable gardens. Try this: blend 2-4 hot peppers, 1 mild green pepper, and 1 small onion and a one-quart jar of water. Pour mixture into a spray bottle and apply as needed.

6. Make A DIY Bug Spray

An all-purpose pest-control spray can easily be made by adding 2 teaspoons of liquid dish soap a spray bottle of warm water. TIP: Add the soap after the bottle is filled to prevent bubbling over.

7. Deter Squirrels With Fish Fertilizer

Stop squirrels from digging up planted corn with a mixture of 2 tablespoons liquid fish fertilizer to a gallon of water sprayed on rows.

8. Keep Dogs and Cats Out With Chopsticks

Discourage bigger pests such as cats or dogs from entering flower or garden beds by erecting lots of chopsticks or plastic forks in the ground among the seed beds, and surrounding young, tender plants. This leaves no room for animals to dig or disturb the plants, helping them get a good start. Try these other repellents to pet-proof your garden.

9. Deter Deer With Blood Meal

Scatter dried blood meal (available at any home and garden center) on the ground between rows of vegetables in the garden every week to 10 days to deter deer. This works for rabbit and groundhogs, too. However, blood meal tends to attract dogs. Sprinkle garden lime on top of the blood meal to repel the dogs. Or try this deer deterrent spray.

10. Bye, Bye Bullwinkle

Bright orange tape wrapped around stakes surrounding your garden plot has been known to keep moose away.

11. Repel Raccoons, Skunks, and Snakes With Garden Lime

Garden lime being sprinkled on the ground near plants

Keep these critters out of the garden by applying a wide stripe of garden lime around the garden perimeter. When an unwanted critter licks off the lime it will experience an unpleasant burning sensation, and hopefully, leave the garden.

12. Onions To The Rescue

Onions and/or garlic act as an insect deterrent when planted around or between all the other plants that insects tend to disturb.

13. Mums The Word

Plant chrysanthemums around your home to keep out bedbugs, fleas, lice, roaches, ants, and more. They also act as a repellent to ticks, spider mites, Japanese beetles, and other garden pests.

14. Protect Fruit Trees With Onions

Keep borers from drilling into the base of fruit trees in the orchard by planting a circle of onions or garlic around the tree trunk.

15. Plant Garlic To Help Raspberry Bushes

Garlic planted alongside raspberries will stop beetles from destroying the crop.

16. A Potato-Bean Friendship

The Colorado potato beetle.

Bush beans planted in alternate rows with potatoes protect them against the Colorado potato beetle. The potatoes in return keep bush beans from the Mexican bean beetle.

17. Radish Rescue

Gardening - Woman is harvesting radishes from the raised bed

Radishes deter beetles when planted around crops of beans, peas, squash, melons, and cucumbers.

18. A Yummy Salad

Plant basil next to tomato plants to help protect them from an attack of harmful insects and disease. This will also enhance the plant’s growth.

19. Herb’s the Word


The aromatic herb rosemary is a valuable companion plant in the vegetable garden as it deters bean beetles, cabbage moths, and carrot flies.

20. Catnip—Not Just for Cats!


Interplanting catnip and tansy with zucchini and cucumbers will reduce the population of cucumber beetles.

21. Petunia Deterrent

Plant petunias around beans and potatoes. Petunias help keep the Colorado potato beetles (pictured above) away.

22. Ants Away With Tansy

yellow flower tansy summer on a green background heat village garden

Grow tansy to discourage ants and aphids from the garden and greenhouse. Plant it around your garden, and buildings. Ants carry aphids. Discouraging ants will help keep aphids away from the garden.

Looking for more companion planting strategies? We have them here!

Helpful Strategies For The Gardener

  • To remove tiny deer ticks quickly from your clothing when working on the lawn or in the garden, use duct tape, packing tape or a tape lint roller. Roll it over yourself and your pets periodically when you’re out working in the garden.
  • To keep gnats away from your face, while working outdoors, wear a wide-brimmed hat (check out our new Outback Hat!). Gnats will not fly under the brim and make a nuisance.
  • Make yourself unattractive to bees, black flies, and other flying pests. When working outdoors, don’t wear perfume, hairspray, scented deodorant, or brightly colored clothing.


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  • Elaine says:

    How do you deter armadillos?

  • JoAnn says:

    A lot of your remedies seem like they would be very harmful to pets, such as the diotancious (sp?) earth and the hot pepper sprays. Am I right?

    • Susan Higgins says:

      Diatomaceous Earth is not harmful to pets or humans provided you use food-grade DE. Very important!

  • LaBic says:

    The tansy plant may be banned in some areas as it is noxious (especially to horses, I’ve heard).

  • anita says:

    I have tons of golden color ants in my garden. How to get rid of them naturally?

  • Ray says:

    How to eliminate moles in your lawn.

    • JoAnn says:

      I used a solar powered “thumper” or “noise generator” and it worked quite well. Put 3 of them in my garden that’s 50×20.

  • Krystal says:

    Other than a fence how do you keep chickens from eating your plants and out of your garden beds?

  • Angelwings2ltd says:

    The best way – I have found to get rid of Fleas in both the yard & on your pets. . . Is Texas Cedarwood Oil. . .You can get products from Wondercide,com . . . All Natural products, Safe for Humans & your critters. You should see the fleas will drop off your pets within Minutes! I Highly recommend their products! (and No, I do not get paid for endorsing them. . . I just love their products!)

  • Lizh says:

    I have Neem oil. It is supposed to cause anoxia in insects so they starve to death. It is not supposed to hurt bees though. There is so much poor info available I am still unsure if I should use it.

  • SusanS says:

    Please be thoughtful when using diatomacious earth. It works by cutting into the exoskeleton of insects. Imagine yourself crawling through broken glass. While it may get rid of the pests annoying you, it will harm the beneficial insects, earthworms, etc. as well. It will stay in the ground where you sprinkle it – it doesn’t dissolve and disappear anymore than broken glass would.

  • John T. Banewicz says:

    Hate to use this method of getting rid of 4 legged garden munchers like ground hogs and chipmunks, but it works. Place pieces of bubble gum in locations frequented by these critters in early spring and they die of constipation. What a way to go.

  • Cindy says:

    Love all of these natural ideas. I live in the woods and have lots of critters to repel.

  • Patty says:

    What is a good way to prevent tent caterpillars from invading and defoliating my Texas Mountain Laurel trees?

  • Dottie Ford says:

    I have had great success getting rid of ants. by mixing icing sugar and borax (half and half) put it anywhere you see ants. The icing sugar attracts them and and the borax shrivels them up. They carry this back to their nest and before you know it the nest is obliterated.

  • Beverley Estes says:

    Thank you so much as I need all the help I can get. God is my greatest helper and them people. Be3

  • Charles says:

    For underground stinging insects, I have successfully (100%) over many years treated them in this manner. Wait till late dusk and/or dark. Prepare a water hose with a SLOW flow of water, you want the water to soak into the ground, not wash away the nest….no more than a cup per minute or so. Using a flashlight if necessary approach the nest opening and insert the end of the hose with the water running into the opening to block and bugs from leaving the net. Let the water run for about an hour to an hour and a half. Turn off the water…stay away from the nest till dawn. Pull the hose away from the nest from a safe distance. There should be NO more activity!

  • Beth Williams says:

    We live in the Florida Keys, we have a problem with Iguanas,all sizes from babies to 1-3 foot long!! They love to eat landscape just about everything but Palm Trees!!! Another problem is Land crabs they dig tunnels in the ground very hard to catch out of their/my property holes!!! Any suggestions??

  • sewgood007 says:

    I have a chipmunk problem, and a cat is not an option for me. Any other suggestions?

    • Dennis Decker says:

      Fill a bucket. 1/2 full of water use a board for a ramp from a step or rocks sprinkle a few sunflower seeds on ramp and in water they eat seeds on board then jump in water for more . I once had 5 in the bucket at once!

  • Bella says:

    Hello, is there a natural remedy to kill fleas? It seems there are becoming immune to everything! I live in Florida and I just hate to keep using all those pesticides.
    Than you 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      I was told Texas cederwood oil. Put n spray bottle. After spraying on animals, 5 min should kill fleas.

  • Christie says:

    To deter moles plant castor beans. The moles do not like the odor that the plants give off. A word of warning the seeds are poisonous. Keep small children away from the seeds or just cut the seed heads off. My goats loved the leaves.

  • sharon williamson says:

    What will deter Deer from getting in our garden?Also how do you stop squash bugs from killing your plants?

  • Patricia Johnson says:

    Do you know of a natural mole remedy? My chickens free range on the grass and I don’t want to use any poison. My landlord wants to stck those mole bait “worms” down their holes and I’m trying to keep him from doing it.

  • Cindy Rajhel says:

    Lots of fun essays about garden pests in this eBook:http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0103CGKFS?

  • Jacqueline says:

    I live in Austin Texas and we have 2 dozen or more fire ant hills that pop up every spring on my acre. When I see them I fill up an old parmesan cheese shaker bottle with diatomaceous earth. I find a bamboo stick at least 3 feet long. I walk every inch of the yard and treat every ant hill: Dig into the hill with the end of the stick. Stir up the entire top of the hill. Then sprinkle very thickly the whole hill and surrounding area a few inches around it with the DE powder. Stir it up again. The whole hill will be dead in a few days! Occasionally I need to treat it again in a week – but usually one treatment kills the whole hill. I buy the 50 lb bag of DE at our neighbor animal feed store. Many other uses for DE – including internal for humans & pets. NO MORE POISON. Good information at https://www.earthworkshealth.com/testimonials/

  • carla says:

    To get rid of rats in your garden fill a large bucket 1/4 full of water, throw some sunflower seeds onto water to imitate a full bucket of seeds to the rats. Put a piece of wood against it for the rats to climb up. They will try to get to the sunflower seeds, fall in and drown. IT REALLY WORKS and you will not poison your pets in the process. The other night there were 3 rats in the bucket and two days later there were two rats in the bucket. Here in Cape Town, South Africa the rats are as big as kittens too large for the normal mouse trap. Good luck.

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