Sumo Gardener

How to Prevent and Get Rid of Garden Pests

Are you looking into how to get rid of garden pests? Having a garden in your home is having a wonderful sanctuary where you can relax on your own or with your family. Unfortunately, when pests are around it, its beauty slowly fades away. 

Cockroaches, ants, spiders, fleas, rodents and mosquitoes are some of the critter problems that you can find in your backyard. These pests would damage your garden and plants that you have been growing for months.

Here is everything you'll need to know on how to get rid of garden pests. 

Tips to Get Rid of Garden Pests


How to Get Rid of Garden Pests

Pests are a real nuisance compared to weeds and they will come to infest your property no matter what kind of weather it is. They will build nests which will be easier for them to infiltrate your homes, and once they have settled in, it is hard for you to eliminate them.

Luckily, there are many solutions that would tackle this pest problem that you have in your garden. To make your backyard free from infestation, you can either use a natural approach or call an exterminator to get rid of them.

It’s up to you which one is better. Here are some tips that can help protect your gardens.

Natural and Organic Remedies

This is one of the cheapest ways to getting rid of pest lurking in your backyard. Some of them can just be easily found at home in your kitchen. If you are someone who wants to ensure safety, especially when doing treatments, this one is the best option for you.

Attract Beneficial Insects

Ladybug getting rid of pests

Not all bugs are bad, many of them help grow our plants by pollinating, decomposing waste and help with getting rid of pest. They can also improve the overall health of your garden.

Insects like lacewings, praying mantises, soldier beetles, damsel bugs, hoverflies, ladybugs, spiders and wasps don’t actually feed on the plants, they can actually reduce the population of dangerous pests, and the presence of safe insects keeps dangerous ones away.

You can encourage these beneficial insects into your garden by planting things that attract them, such as sunflowers, mint varieties, fennel, dill, dandelion, carrots, daisies, asters, Echinacea, nasturtiums, lupines, and yarrow. 

If you don’t seem to be attracting these creatures into your yard enough to eat up the aphids, keep in mind that you can actually buy lacewing larvae and some other insects from specialist outlets.

Homemade Insecticides

Effective pest remedies that you can find in the kitchen include garlic and hot peppers, which can kill all kinds of insect pest and rodents. If you have beer in your fridge, this can remove those snails and slugs eating leaves in your plants. Apple cider vinegar can also remove aphids and fruit flies.

(Check out our step by step guide on how to make homemade vinegar bug spray here.)

If you love coffee, well, some bugs and insects hate them. The smell of ground coffee can repel them in your yard. You can spread them in your garden soil to drive these insects away, and they are good for your garden plants too. It increases their acidity and adds nitrogen in the soil.

You can just easily make concoctions to remove pests from your plants. Using a soap diluted in water can deter some pests. A good soap is one that has no detergent or additives, like Castile soap.

Horticultural oils are plant-based oils mixed with emulsifiers so they can be added to water and sprayed on plants. They smother and poison soft bodied insects, like aphids and soil mites.

Although these are natural remedies, make sure to test them first on a small portion of the plant to make sure they will not harm it. Never apply on a hot sunny day, which will cause plants to burn. Some of these can also harm beneficial insects that can be good for your garden.

Grow Pest Repelling Plants

Planting Pest Repelling Plants

There are also some plants that you rely to repel pests away for good. You can just plant them in your yard and it will naturally help you keep it pest free. Aside from making your garden look pretty, some flowers can help you rid of insects that harm your plants. 

If you like having herbs in your food, then planting them in your garden can be beneficial too to keep pests from coming in. Here are some herbs that repel pests.

  • basil can repel house flies and mosquitoes; 
  • lavender can ward off moths, fleas, mosquitoes, and flies;
  • rosemary can deter mosquitoes and numerous insects which are harmful to vegetable plants;
  • chives can turn off aphids, Japanese beetles, and carrot flies; 
  • parsley can be a no-no for asparagus beetles;
  • thyme can ward off whiteflies,
  • corn earworms,
  • cabbage maggots,
  • tomato hornworms,  
  • dill can repel slugs, aphids, and snails.
  • And many, many more.

Aside from herbs, here are numerous ornamental flowers that also repel pests. 

  • Nasturtiums can protect your vegetable gardens from whiteflies, aphids, cabbage loopers, squash bugs, and various beetles; 
  • Chrysanthemums can keep ticks, fleas, Japanese beetles, roaches, harlequin bugs, spider mites, and ants away;
  • Marigolds can help you get rid of aphids and mosquitoes;  
  • Petunias can ward off leafhoppers, aphids, asparagus beetles, squash bugs, and tomato hornworms.

While adding these plants doesn’t mean that you’ll get rid of pests all together, it can help to reduce their numbers, and is a good strategy to use in conjunction with other tactics mentioned above and below.

Pest Control Services

Garden pests can be very difficult to handle. If things are getting messy and you can no longer tolerate those unwanted critters crawling in your yard, then it’s time to take action. Pest control services can address this pest problem you have immediately.

Make sure to call a pest control company that is well experienced in handling backyard issues. There are highly trained, skilled and certified exterminators who can resolve your problem without spending too much money.

If you fully want to have fun under the sun while sitting in your yard, then let a professional exterminator handle these pests for good and enjoy your garden without having to worry about those nuisances.

How to Prevent Garden Pests

There are many remedies that we can use to remove this unwanted pests in our garden. But as they say, prevention is better than cure. Here are simple ways and traditional ways to maintain a pest free garden.

How to Prevent Garden Pests

Backyard cleaning

Always keep your backyard clean and orderly, it will lessen the infestation or might as well stop pests from coming in. Removing wood and logs in your garden is a good way of preventing pests. They are conducive for living and these insects will build nests around those areas.

Regularly mowing your lawn and raking up leaves also has a benefit when it comes to pests. Many pesky beetles, parasites, and other creatures like to make long grass, weeds, and fallen leaves their home. As such, if you remove this temptation, you can reduce their numbers in your yard.

In addition, by keeping your yard neat and free from debris, this will help the soil beneath your lawn and plants to get more air, water, and sunlight. In turn, this will help them to be healthier and most resistant to pest invasions.

Avoid Having Water Sitting Around

Mosquitoes, in particular, but also many other types of pests, love water. As a result, if you want to keep them at bay, it’s important to find ways to eliminate still water lying around in your outdoor areas.

For example, empty out clam-shell pools, buckets, and other containers when they’re not being used, and try to not have too many pots sitting around that have deep bases where water can collect after lots of watering or rain.

As well, when it comes to watering your lawn and plants, this is best done in the morning. When you do this job earlier in the day, the soil has a chance to dry by the time night comes, when critters such as snails and slugs are typically out and about. If the soil is dry by then though, they will be less active.

Use The Companion Planting Method

Companion planting is a very effective pest repulsion technique that has been used for ages

Companion planting is a very effective pest repulsion technique that has been used for ages. Certain plants have scents and aromas that can actually repel and deter certain pests. 

The planting of such plants in companionship with other plants is called companion planting. This is a great and inexpensive method to prevent pests from getting into the garden and damaging your plants. 

Some common companion plants are garlic, basil, lime and mint. The pungent smell of garlic is known to deter aphids and spider mites while the scent of basil keeps hookworms away.

Installing traps and Barriers

Apart from planting beneficial plants and other natural protection, another way to keep pests away is placing traps. Enforcing some protections, like simple equipment and devices are your first line of defense. Some hand-on techniques are very simple and you can do it yourself.

You should also get a zap light and install it above the garden to get rid of any moths and other flying pests. Also, sprinkle some anti-bug powder around the perimeter of the garden.

Barriers like nets, fences and paper collars keep bugs and other animals away from plants. You can also use floating row covers or transparent fabric or fabric covers that let sunshine in but keep some bugs away. Traps lure pests away from plants, allowing them to be removed from the garden. You can either purchase or build them.

Consider placing barriers around plants to protect them. For example, Crushed egg shells spread around the plants slugs and snails like to munch on can be helpful, as the pests won’t want to move their soft bodies against the jagged edges.

Similarly, thin bands of copper sheet metal used as unobtrusive edging around plants can repel slugs and snails. The slimy coatings they have on their bodies can generate a reaction when coming into contact with copper (similar to an electric current) and this can send them on their way.

Using all these techniques together can create an effective repulsion against most pests. Check out our guide on how to get rid of houseplant pests for more info. 

Plough And Dig The Soil A Few Days Before Planting

Plough and mix up the soil a few days before you start planting to preven garden pests

Many pests hide in the soil and stay hibernated until it is growing season. You can get rid of such pests by treating your soil. Just plough and mix up the soil a few days before you start planting, in this way the pests in the soil are brought to the surface where birds take care of most of them.

And, the larvae and eggs of the pests can’t survive either because of the change in temperature. Another common practice to stop garden pests from the soil is adding snow to the soil in the winter. This fertilizes the soil and freezes the pests and their eggs.

Always Get Your Plants and Seeds from Trusted Sources

Mostly pest and diseases come from the outside of the garden rather than being developed inside. So, you should be careful about the items you introduce into the garden.

First of all, buy all your plants and seeds from trusted sources. Some plants can bring pests and their eggs into the garden, which can lead to an infestation. So, if you are buying plants, check them thoroughly beforehand. 

The safest method is using seeds to grow the plants from scratch and separate the seed nursery form the actual garden so that if there is a disease in the nursery, the actual garden is not affected. 

Overall if you are buying your plants and seeds from a trusted source, then you won’t have many problems.

Tips for Gardening without Pesticides

Invite Beneficial Insects and Predators

Tips for Gardening without Pesticides

Some of the allies in your garden area include friendly insects, such as assassin beetles, ladybug beetles, praying mantis, dragonflies, shield bugs, and ants. They continually patrol the air and ground area capturing and eating other harmful insects.

Like human beings, these friendly bugs need water and food, a place to live and reproduce. When you provide their needs, you will be helping to increase their numbers. For example, ladybug beetles will hatch out as larvae.

Immediately after the hatching process, they begin to eat the young and eggs of destructive scales, aphids, and other harmful, soft-bodied plant eating insects.

Another friendly ally to invite into your yard are our feathered friends. Encourage a variety of birds to patrol the garden area for you. It is perhaps one of the best ways to control harmful insects from harming your plants.

Almost every bird is happy to find and eat a meal of insects. They have been created in such a way to do so effectively. Besides employing these feathered allies to patrol your yard, you will also be entertained by their aerial antics, amazing colors, and beautiful sounds.

If you are fortunate, they will build a nest in your yard and raise their young. Watching this process is an educational treat for both the young and old. Some of the birds that you may want to invite into your yard area include starlings, thrushes, bluebirds, mockingbirds, wrens, and robins.

Develop Fertile Soil 

The next natural tip for a healthy yard and garden without harmful insects is to develop fertile soil. When you begin building a new garden it is relatively easy. You start by tilling the garden area and then adding natural and organic materials such as compost or mulch.

For the better soil it is important to use organic matter that is diverse. For example, for additional nitrogen you can add manure. All types of animal manures are valuable additions for the soil. 

In fact, a good quality manure will be more beneficial than adding compost.

Use Healthy Seeds

In addition, you will want to only use healthy seeds and plants. Try to avoid those bargain-basement chemically treated seeds or transplants. Your plants will want to get off to a strong, healthy start with quality seeds and plants which will make them far less inviting to insect pests.

Provide Enough Water 

Water is important for both human beings and plants. A tiny transplant or seedling will have very small root systems. These tiny root systems need to avoid stress and this can be done by regularly watering them.

If you live in an area that does not receive a lot of rainfall then it is important to water your plants daily. You can retain moisture by applying organic mulch around the plants.

Create Adequate Space

Finally, make sure that there is adequate space around the plant. When your plants are too close together it will promote stress and disease. Plants need to breathe and therefore they need adequate space.

When constructing a plan for your garden area make sure that you leave enough space for the mature size of a plant. This will ensure that all your plants remain healthy and have the strength to fight off attacks from harmful insects.

Final words

These are ways to have your backyard free of pests. Another way to keep it healthy is to always monitor your garden from time to time. Be sure to check your plants, crops or soil for anything unusual to keep it healthy and safe.

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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