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Organic Pesticides - Getting Rid of Garden Pests Organically

Updated on July 19, 2009

Everyone gets pests in their garden at some time or another and rather than turning to chemical insecticides and repellents there are some very safe, natural and non-toxic options available. Organic pest and insect repellents are typically made up of essential oils and other ingredients that won't leave a toxic residue in the soil, on the plant or be problematic for other animals or birds.


Slugs and Snails Organic Pest Control

Slugs and snails are not just nasty to look at they are actually very damaging to your garden plants. The average slug can eat 30 to 40 times its weight in plant material every day. In addition to munching on all your prize flowers and vegetables, they also leave behind a slimy trail that detracts from your enjoyment of your garden, walkway and even your patio.

There are several ways to get rid of slugs and snails. The first one is to pour a thin line of salt around the area you don’t want the slugs to go. They won't cross the salt, but too much salt will also start to kill your plants. This is good option in areas where run-off isn't a problem but won't work around flowers.

Slugs and snails also stay out of the sun, so removing old leaves, logs or other shady, sheltered areas will help make your garden an unwelcoming spot. Making homemade slug traps will also work. Use old single serve yogurt containers and fill them about 1/3 to ½ full of beer. Submerge the cups in the ground but leave the rims up about 1 inch off the ground's surface. The slug or snail will be attracted to the yeasty smell of the beer and will fall in and drown. Change the beer every two to three days.

Raised beds can be protected with a copper barrier. Using copper sheets, available at most hobby or garden supply stores, place at least a three to five inch strip of copper perpendicular to the ground on the raised surface. Snails or slugs cannot crawl up this barrier and will not be able to get into your flowerbeds.


Organic Pest Control For Aphids

There are a wide number of insects that feed on aphids including Hover Flies, Lady Bugs or Ladybirds, Dragonflies and Green Lacewings.

In addition to nature insects controlling aphid populations there are some other simple techniques to help rid your flowers and vegetables of these life-sucking insects.

A natural and safe spray to use on roses and other flowering plants as well as your vegetables can be made from simple household ingredients.

To one quart of water add one teaspoon of baking soda and a few drops of any "green" dishwashing detergent. Spray on the stems and leaves of plants every three to five days or as needed.


Organic Wasp Killer

Wasps and other stinging insects are a real problem in the garden area, especially if someone in the family is allergic. There are several ways to remove the wasps without using any toxic insecticides, however if you are highly sensitive you may want to hire a professional to come in and remove the nest.

One of the oldest methods is to actually smoke out the wasps. Start a fire that in some leaves or green wood under the wasps nest. Extinguish the flames but allow the smoke to drift up into the nest. This won't work on a windy day but it will get rid of the wasps if you can get significant amounts of smoke in the right area. Another option is to use a garden hose and literally pressure wash of the nest and surrounding areas. Spray with a mint oil, water and dishwashing liquid mixture to prevent the wasps from returning.


Organic Pest Control of Mealybugs

Mealybugs can be devastating to your garden and almost impossible to get rid of in outdoor garden areas. A mixture of two teaspoons of Sunlight dishwashing soap and two teaspoons of any type of vegetable oil mixed into one liter of water. Spray several times a week on any mealybugs you can see on or around the branches or leaves. You will have to do this continually for at least a month as new eggs will hatch and continue to cause problems.

Organic Flea Killer

Fleas won't bother your garden plants but they will bother you, your animals and your pets.

Keeping your garden and lawn area flea free without using any chemicals is possible but it does take some work. One option is to introduce specific worm larvae into the soil that will actually eat the young fleas before they become a problem.

Another solution is to sprinkle your yard and garden with Diatomaceous earth. This is a specially designed soil that is full of sharp edges, causing damage to the flea larva as they crawl through and around the soil. It will also cause damage to other small larvae in the soil but won't hurt your plants at all.

A great way to make your own flea trap is to place a moderately deep bowl full of water and dish soap on the lawn, patio or in your garden. Suspend a light bulb about 3 feet above the water and turn it on when it gets dark.

The fleas will be attracted to the light and will jump into the water, the soap trapping them where they will drown.



Cats are not on the same level as the other pest mentioned above, but they can be pests in the garden. Their digging in the soil is likely to uproot your favorite plants, plus once one cat starts using your garden as a litter box lots more will join in.

One natural way to deter cats is to use rocks, pine cones or the balls from a sweetgum tree to keep them out. Anything that makes it difficult to find soil to dig in will work to slow the cats down. With some cats spraying the area where the cat likes to toilet with any type of hot pepper spray will work. Dilute it with water and spray liberally on the grass, trees and plants in the immediate area.

Black pepper or chili pepper powder sprinkled on the ground will also keep most cats away, although this needs to be repeated after you water or when it rains. Cedar chips or bark and even mulch or compost that is kept moist will all help cats feel unwelcome in your garden.

Finding organic and natural ways to control garden and yard pests takes a bit of work but it is well worth the effort.

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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      i love my garden but so many bugs are eating it

    • Danny Decay profile image

      Danny Decay 

      9 years ago from Winter Park, Florida


      FINALLY, someone has decided to share the wealth of information on "green" pest control with the world. VERY informative and useful.

    • EverythingMouse profile image


      10 years ago

      I am always searching for organic and natural alternatives. This is an excellent resource.


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