Schaub Team Blog

How to Control Garden Pests

Posted by Kimberly Macasevich, Guest Blog Writer on May 24 , 2023 - 11:36 am

Whether it’s bugs or animals, every gardener knows that garden pests are inevitable. Are you looking for ways to get rid of annoying garden pests? This article will discuss insect pest control and keeping bugs out of the garden organically before calling in a professional exterminator.

Garden Pest Control

Every gardener should value a healthy garden. Preventing garden pests is the most impactful thing you can do for your garden. There are simple steps to ensure a healthy environment and keep away pests.

First, you should always clean up debris around raised beds or in–ground vegetable patches. By cleaning up fallen and rotting garden debris, insects have fewer places to hide. Second, you should monitor your plants daily and check for any infestation.

As a gardener, you should plant strong varieties and make sure you’re planting at the best time of the year for your crop and climate. It’s also essential that you not overwater or overfertilize. Plants grown at the correct time of year with adequate sunlight, moisture, and nutrients can usually fend off pests by themselves.

Using nature to control garden pests, such as using ladybugs to snack on aphids, will help your garden long-term. Biologically controlling pest problems should be implemented to have a healthy and diverse garden.

How to Keep Bugs Out of a Garden

Now that you’ve started a garden, the last thing your want is pests damaging your plants. There are several organic ways to control pests in your garden without using pesticides.

Ladybug on rosesKeep good bugs around

It may surprise you but there are good bugs you want in your garden. They are beneficial to keeping the pesky bugs away. These helpful bugs include ladybugs, praying mantes, hoverflies, and nematodes. If you are unsure about which bugs are good and bad, you can research and find insect photos online and compare them to the bugs in your garden. Also, other predators such as birds will help eliminate unwanted bugs in your garden. You should consider placing a birdhouse or birdbath near your garden to attract birds.

Make the good bugs comfortable

As another natural pest control option, you can plant specific plants in your garden that attract good bugs to fight the pests. You can plant catmint and alyssum near roses, which will attract ladybugs.  Attracting ladybugs to your roses is an effective way to get rid of aphids.  Also, planting flowers with smaller blooms will create diversity and attract more beneficial insects. 

Use kitchen soap

You can use something as simple as kitchen soap as a pest control method in your garden. Be sure your soap doesn’t contain bleach; use something such as Dawn. Mix 2.5 tablespoons of Dawn dish soap and 2.5 tablespoons of vegetable oil with 1 gallon of distilled or filtered water. The vegetable oil helps the mixture stick to plant leaves. Apply to your plants using a spray bottle.

Another option is using castile bar soap. This mild soap is widely available. You can make a solution using castile soap in a few easy steps. Place one bar in a gallon of water and leave it overnight. In the morning, remove any solid remnants and shake well before use.

MarigoldsFight with plants

Once you’ve identified the unwanted bugs and garden pests, you can choose plants that will naturally repel bad bugs. You should consider planting marigolds, petunias, nasturtiums, alliums, and chrysanthemums. These are all easy to grow and will add variety to your garden. You can also grow these plants in pots so that they are mobile and can be moved around. That way you can position them where the bugs are the worst. Smaller flowers are the best bet for naturally preventing pests. The best thing you can do is to try to have good plants growing all the time.

Pick out large bugs

Some garden pests are large enough to pluck out of the garden by hand. This is not necessarily the most enjoyable method to remove unwanted bugs. Some of these garden bugs include caterpillars, Japanese beetles, potato beetles, slugs, and tomato hornworms. You’ll want to begin removing these bugs around sunset, as many larger bugs become more active at that time of day.

Garlic ClovesUse garlic spray

Another method for removing garden pests is to make homemade pest spray. Homemade garden sprays are generally effective. It is better for the environment and safer for your children and pets. You can mix a garlic spray to get rid of egg-laying pests.

  1. Take 10 cloves of garlic, puree them, and combine them with one quart of water.
  2. Let it sit overnight.
  3. Strain the mixture with a cheesecloth the next day and mix it with one cup of vegetable oil and a shaker of cayenne pepper (which will also keep dogs and cats away from your plants but does not harm them).
  4. Let the mixture sit for one more day.
  5. Then, dilute the mixture in water using ½ cup of garlic solution in 1 gallon of distilled water.
  6. Fill a spray bottle and spray the plants you want to protect.
  7. Spray the plants on the bottom side of the leaves, and re-apply at least once a week or after plants get wet (rain or sprinkler).

Improve your garden’s soil

Good garden bugs love compost. Homemade compost is a time investment but will pay off when it comes to getting rid of bad garden bugs. You will need to build or purchase a compost bin. When the bin is ready you can begin adding things like fruit and vegetable waste, coffee grounds, sawdust, and even eggshells. Fill that bin and time will do the rest. When the compost begins to break down, you will mix it in your soil. This newly added nutrition will go right into the roots of your plants, making them much less susceptible to garden pests.

Finally, garden pest control isn’t achieved by just one pest control method. Sometimes you may need help getting rid of pests by calling the professionals. Whether you’re a beginner gardener, or an expert, keeping pests out of your garden will be an ongoing process. It takes a combination of methods for a garden to thrive.