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Garden Tips - How to Control Pests and Kill Bugs in Your Garden

Updated on May 6, 2014

Do you want to get rid of pests in your garden? There are safe ways to kill bugs in your garden without using chemical pesticides. Pesticides will kill the insects, but residues are left on the soil. They get into the air and into the water, where they are harmful to fish, pets and small children.

In this hub, I will tell you organic ways to control garden pests. They will remove the pests and not be harmful to anyone else.

Before you start any bug removal, ask yourself: Is it actually a pest? Is it harming you or your garden plants? Many insects are actually beneficial to your garden. Ants, for example, aerate the soil with their tunnels, and earwigs and wasps eat other pests that would be damaging to your crops.

However, if the ants are crawling up your legs while you are weeding, earwigs are burrowing into your tomatoes and wasps are swarming your children, it may be time to take action.

To begin with, here are a few all purpose garden pesticide recipes:

  • 1 Tbsp dishwashing detergent
  • 1 C vegetable oil

Mix and store in a container. When needed, mix 2 Tbsp of this mixture with 1 cup water and spray on plants.

  • 3 onions
  • 2 quarts water
  • 4 cloves garlic

Place in a pot and boil for an hour. Discard onions and garlic. When cool, pour into a spray bottle and spray on plants.

Cabbage butterfly
Cabbage butterfly | Source

Cabbage Butterflies

The pretty little cabbage butterflies are nice to look at, but are murder to anything in the cabbage family.

You can try this home remedy, which will repel many different insects: Add 3 drops of dishsoap to one litre of water. Wet the leaves of the plants thoroughly. Use once per week.

If that doesn't work, you can spray your plants with Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT). It is safe for use around people and wildlife. It will only kill the bugs. Spray your plants with it once per week.


Slugs love to munch on your leafy greens and hostas. They do not like to move through sharp materials. You can surround your plants with diatomaceous earth. It is a non-toxic powder made up of ground up skeletons of small, fossilized plants. It has razor sharp edges that slice up the slugs when they crawl over it. Then they dehydrate and die. Dust the powder around any affected plants.

Or you could sprinkle crushed up eggshells around your leafy greens. Slugs will avoid them too. And they have the added bonus of feeding calcium to your soil.

A pie plate full of beer will attract, and then drown, slugs. And if they are getting into your containers and pots, wipe some Vaseline around the sides. It will make it too slippery for them to climb up.

Here is recipe for snail bait:

  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 2 C water
  • Mix in a shallow dish. This will attract the snails, and they will drown in it.


Earwigs are most prevalent in the summer months, If you have had trouble with these pests in the past, start your efforts in early spring before they lay their eggs.

Here is a recipe that is effective for killing earwigs: Take an empty yogurt container. Add:

  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce,
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp molasses.

Add a cup of water and stir. Now dig a container-sized hole in your garden and pop it in. By tomorrow it will be filled with dead earwigs.

I have also found wasps, slugs and spiders drowned in this mixture.


Are ants setting up house in your garden? If they are getting in your way, use your garden hose to flood the ant hole. Survivors will pack up and move someplace else.

If you want to kill them: Mix one part borax with one part icing sugar into a little container. The sugar will attract them and the borax will poison them.


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    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for commenting, mhatter.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      you know how i got rid of gopher? welcome neighborhood cats


    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 5 years ago from Canada

      You are welcome, frogyfish. Thanks for your comments.

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 5 years ago from Central United States of America

      I was going to ask a question here about a natural way to get rid of slugs as they are eating my mint. So I shall first try the eggshells and see...Thank you so much for sharing these interesting tips!

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 5 years ago from Canada

      You are welcome, pastybell. Thanks for commenting.

    • Patsybell profile image

      Patsy Bell Hobson 5 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

      Lota of information. Thanks for the tips.

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for your comment, livingfood.

    • LivingFood profile image

      LivingFood 5 years ago

      These are excellent tips! Who would have thought to use vaseline on pots...I think it is brilliant and such a cheap and safe remedy!!