Gardening enthusiasts know the frustration of seeing their hard work destroyed by pesky pests. However, there is good news: common garden pests can be effectively prevented, and you can fight off their damage using simple homemade remedies.
The first step in preventing insect damage is to discourage their presence in your garden. Remove any weak plants, as they may already be infected or attract damaging insects. Pull out these plants and dispose of them away from the garden area.
Additionally, minimize insect habitats by clearing away debris and weeds, as these serve as breeding grounds for insects.
Homemade remedies are not only inexpensive but also give you control over what goes into your garden. Many homemade sprays have proven successful in controlling harmful insects.
These sprays typically consist of natural but non-toxic ingredients like garlic, cayenne, stinging nettles, or horsetail, which are diluted in water and blended to create a spray.
Here are a few simple formulas you can try:
Soft-bodied insects (mites, aphids, mealybugs)
- Mix one tablespoon of canola oil and a few drops of mild soap, such as Ivory, into a quart of water.
- Shake the mixture well and pour it into a spray bottle.
- Spray the plants from above, ensuring to reach the underside of the leaves.
- The oil in the spray suffocates the insects.
- For lawn or garden grubs, you can use a natural remedy called milky spore
- Spread the granules on the soil, which infect the grubs with a disease that kills them.
- Milky spore only affects grubs, leaving beneficial organisms like ladybugs and praying mantises unharmed.
- This treatment lasts up to 40 years, eliminating the need for unsightly green beetle catchers, as grubs are the larvae of Japanese beetles.
Mites and other insects
- Mix two tablespoons of hot pepper sauce or cayenne pepper with a few drops of mild soap into a quart of water.
- Let the mixture stand overnight, then stir and pour it into a spray bottle.
- Apply the spray as described above, shaking the container frequently during application.
Earwigs, slugs, and other soft-bodied garden pests
- Sprinkle diatomaceous earth over plants and around the edges of garden beds.
- Diatomaceous earth is a chalky powder made from fossilized remains of diatoms, which are harmful to the exoskeletons of insects, slugs, and snails.
- It works mechanically, not chemically, making it effective against insects without the risk of them developing immunity.
- Mix two tablespoons of baking soda into a quart of water.
- Pour the mixture into a spray container and apply it to affected areas.
- Repeat this process every few days until the problem ceases.
- Mix equal parts milk and water and spray the solution on infected plants.
- Apply three treatments, spaced a week apart, to effectively control the disease.
Insects and fungal diseases
Combine one tablespoon of cooking oil, two tablespoons of baking soda, and a few drops of mild soap into a quart of water. Pour the mixture into a spray container and apply it as described above.
Insects on fruit trees
- Use lime sulfur and dormant oil, which can be purchased at nurseries and garden centers.
- Spray the trunk and branches of dormant fruit trees with this mixture to suffocate insect egg cases.
- Since the spray is heavier than water-based sprays, you will need a pump sprayer, which you can rent from some nurseries. Remember to only use this method when the tree is dormant to avoid harming it.