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Natural Insect Control in the Garden

Updated on April 24, 2016
Natural Insect Control - Photo by Author
Natural Insect Control - Photo by Author

Many of us want to be able to tend to our home, yard and gardens without the use of toxic pesticides and other dangerous chemicals. Not to mention the many health benefits that comes from consuming organic fruits and vegetables. Chemical pesticides tend to not only destroy destructive insects, but insects that are beneficial to our garden plants. Here are some ideas for natural insect control for keeping those destructive garden bugs under control.

Use Lime Juice as an Organic Pesticide
Create a mixture of ¼ to ½ cup lime juice with one gallon of water and spray the solution onto areas where bug infestations are prominent. This homemade spray will destroy some mites and many smaller insects, and serve as an irritant that will keep the remaining bugs away from sprayed areas. A caution about lime solutions is that it may change the PH levels of the soil when overused and may not be agreeable with all plants.

Adding a small amount of mild liquid dish soap into the mix will make the solution even more potent. To protect your plants, be sure the soap you use is a mild soap, with no perfumes or dyes, and consider hosing the solution off the plants after an hour, which is long enough for the solution to take its effect on the insects.

Using Garlic, Onion and Pepper as an Organic Insect Repellent
Create a homemade insect repellent made from a finely chopped garlic clove, one finely chopped small onion, and ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper or chopped hot pepper pods and blend with one quart of water. Strain the juice from the pulp and use the juice to spray on your plants.

By spraying this solution on and around plants it serves to repel the insects, without killing them. Adding a small amount of dish soap to this mixture is an option that can be utilized just as mentioned in the above lime juice solution option.

Planting garlic and onions around your other plants is also a great way to keep insects away from those plants.

Use your hands as natural pest control
Using our own hands is the best way to control insects. By using our hands (with gloves on of course), we can look for, remove, or crush tiny insects that are invading the leaves of garden plants.

Marigold for Natural Insect Control - photo
Marigold for Natural Insect Control - photo

Place Insect Repelling Plants in your Garden
Plants such as Marigolds, Tansy, Sage, Mint, Garlic, Catnip, Basil and onions, just to name a few, when planted around your garden and other plants are well known for repelling unwanted bugs from your gardens.

“Companion plants” are plants that detract certain types of bugs that may infest another plant. By planting companion plants next to each other, they serve as an organic insect repellent to protect each other. For instance, bush beans are known to be beneficial to potato crops. This information is a lot to go into detail here, but learning about companion planting is well worth it. However, I have found a site with a pretty thorough list, which I have added to this article in the links section, located at the bottom of this page.

To repel mosquitoes, utilize plants such as Citronella/Lemon grass, Lemon balm, Lavender, Marigolds, Garlic, Basil, Rosemary, and Tansies.

Keep the valuable insects in your gardens
Ladybugs, ground beetles, lacewings, spiders, centipedes, harvestman, wasps, and tachinid flies are some of the bugs that are beneficial to have around your yard, as they serve as an organic pesticide as they feed on other plant destroying insects.

Healthy plants are less likely to become infested
Most often, insects tend to attack plants, fruits and vegetables that are already diseased and weak. Selecting plants that are native to your area and growing them in rich soil is a good form of natural insect control. To keep soils enriched over time, add microbial fertilizers, homemade compost, composted cow manure, green manure and mulches.

Also, be sure to remove or care for plants that are weak, remove fruit that is infested by worms and insects, and remove fruit that has fallen to the ground where more insects tend to gather and breed.


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    • Jojosi profile image

      Gillian Namele 5 years ago from Complicated

      This is surely useful information. Anything that preserves our planet from the harmful chemicals is welcome, with open arms. Thanks for sharing!

    • Mary Merriment profile image

      Mary Merriment 5 years ago from Boise area, Idaho

      Hello M.Shoaib. Honestly, I have been using just lime juice and water on my vegetable seedlings daily in order to get gnats under control. I haven't seen any problems using it that often. However, to reduce burning the plants, I would be cautious about using it, especially with soap, more often than once weekly.

    • profile image

      M.Shoaib 5 years ago

      Thanks for the article, I have already applied the lime juice formula, the ants have disappeared from plants, some small black insects are still there, thinking of repeating the spray after few days. Pls suggest, how many times in a month we can repeat the lime juice spray, if the problem persists.

    • JasonPLittleton profile image

      JasonPLittleton 6 years ago

      Good job, I enjoyed to read the article.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      Thanks for the natural insect control tips in the garden. I'll be ready this season to head of those pesky bugs without harmful chemicals. :)

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      Mary great hub, I need to try the lime juice. We have tried to cultivate ladybugs and plant herbs like basil and sage for the same effect. It does work too.

    • Blazing Blogs profile image

      Blazing Blogs 7 years ago from London

      well written article, There are a lot of farms adopting Biological control as opposed to pesticides. I believe it is the way forward. Thanks for a good Hub

    • profile image

      kjsand01 7 years ago

      Good article! I love the landscaping around our home with flowers and plants. But, I hate spiders and thus spray our yard twice a year. This gives me other things to do as well.

    • robertdonaldson16 profile image

      robertdonaldson16 7 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      This is a great article. I've been looking for ways to fight garden pests without resorting to using chemical pesticides. Thanks a lot!