5 Strategies For Repelling Pests Naturally

By Mary H. Dyer | August 24, 2019
by Mary H. Dyer
August 24, 2019

If you’ve got pest problems, it’s easy and convenient to reach for a can of bug spray. The problem is that toxic chemicals are unhealthy for you and extremely bad for the environment. Usually, typical garden and household pests can be controlled by natural means. Here are 5 easy strategies for repelling pests naturally.

Peppermint tea – If ants are a problem, try leaving a few used peppermint tea bags in areas where you notice ants are active. Peppermint also repels spiders, whiteflies and aphids. For an extra boost of minty aroma, place a drop or two of peppermint oil directly onto the used teabag.

Dill – If your vegetable garden or flower bed is inundated with pests, try planting dill. The pungent herb will discourage aphids, squash bugs and spider mites. Dill also attracts beneficial insects that help keep pests in check. For example, tomato hornworms are attracted to dill, so a plant located near your tomatoes will help draw the pests away from your prized tomatoes. Caterpillars of beautiful swallowtail butterflies are also attracted to dill.

Garlic – Poke a few garlic bulbs between vegetable plants and gardens. The garlicky aroma will deter aphids, fleas, root maggots and Japanese beetles. Harvest the garlic when it matures, then replant the bulbs or bring a few indoors and use them for cooking. You can also blend garlic bulbs and water to make an effective bug spray. Strain the solution, then add a drop or two of liquid dish detergent. The spray will kill ants, beetles, whiteflies, aphids, slugs and caterpillars.

Diatomaceous earth – Sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the soil wherever slugs and snails are a problem. The natural, powdery remains of tiny aquatic organisms are gritty and will kill pests by abrading their slimy skin. Diatomaceous earth is also effective against other crawling pests, including ants, fleas, spiders and earwigs.

RosemaryPlant rosemary in pots to deter flies and mosquitoes from your outdoor get-togethers. When planted in your garden, rosemary discourages slugs, snails, carrot flies, cabbage loopers, been beetles, slugs and snails. The dried, crumbled leaves are also an excellent form of pest control, both indoors and out.

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  • RoyF
    Comment added April 18, 2021Reply

    I have been saving tea bags for the past year. I test the bags and empty the contents on plants in my garden including box, conifers snowdrops daffodils, crocus. Also I empty the contents on Camelias Roses, Hydrangeas and noticed a reduction in snails, slugs, and aphids also plants looking healthy

  • Lorie
    Comment added September 26, 2019Reply

    Plain Sulfur will repel snakes. Mothballs are TOXIC and can poison pets and children. There are products such as "Snake Away" that contain compounds found in Mothballs. Check the label very carefully. Wear gloves and a mask to sprinkle a line of sulfur at least 6 inches wide around your house, buildings, dog house, garage, woodpiles... any area you want to protect. Reapply after heavy rain. The scales on a snake's underside are connected by elastic tissue. As the snake crawls, the elastic tissue stretches and is exposed between the rigid scales. Sulfur greatly irritates the elastic tissue and snakes who have tried to "cross the line" react as if they have crawled across burning embers. It only take a few seconds for a snake to see the error of his ways, and he will leave with extreme hast; after completing the fastest "break-dance" you have ever seen. LOL ! (The sulfur won't bother kids or pets unless they get it in their eyes...it feels like salt water and stings for a bit.) Good luck with your unwanted guests. Just remember that snakes are hanging around because they have found a food source or are following a well used snake path. Once the "local buffet" is empty, they will move on.

  • j. Dempsey
    Comment added August 28, 2019Reply

    If I use a soilless planting medium, can I avoid white flies on my house plants?

  • Anne
    Comment added August 28, 2019Reply

    looking forward for more learning about the issues of gardening

  • diane
    Comment added August 26, 2019Reply

    Snakes do not like the smell of mothballs. I usually sprinkle a few in my flowerbeds and around the fence line. As an extra precaution, I also run a line of snake-away around the pool area. Better to be safe than sorry in snakey Florida.

  • Debra Adamietz
    Comment added August 26, 2019Reply

    Thanks for the tips on how to repel aphids. In DesMoines I had a ton of them all over my milkweed and sunflowers plants this year. I am trying to help w/ the monarch population so I hate to spray the plants with anything. Spraying all of the them w/ water was out of the question. Too many

  • Ann J Harris
    Comment added August 25, 2019Reply

    I find your messages very helpful. We try to avoid using toxins whenever possible. Your suggestions 're repelling beetles worked! Thanks so much.

  • Behzad Amir-Ansari
    Comment added August 25, 2019Reply

    Very helpful, thanks.

  • carol canale
    Comment added August 25, 2019Reply

    the only (and MAJOR) problem o have in my garden is my neighbor's hornets, wasps, yellow jackets---who knows. they have invaded my leaf lettuce day and night. they buzz around and bury themselves inside the leaves way down to the root, which makes picking the lettuce impossible. i smack and shake the plants to no avail. they attack ME. i bring lettuce in the house (picked after 9pm). in the sink water it goes. hidden hornets fly out of it into the house. it's bolting because i can't pick it unless the sun has gone down and i have a flashlight. HELP!!! what can i do? wasp traps (x3) only work a little bit. the neighbors don't care.

    • Charlene
      Comment added August 25, 2019Reply

      You can cover the lettuce with a row cover and plant a crop of flowers and lettuce away from your garden. If it's dry in your area the bees are probably looking for moisture, set out some saucers of water away from your garden. Unless your neighbors are into apicology it is unlikely the bees belong to your neighbors. All bees serve a purpose so practicing permaculture is the best way to go.

  • Ellen Marie Robinson
    Comment added August 25, 2019Reply

    I have these lizard like-gecko like creature around,and I am afraid will get into my home. Any ideas how i can repell them

    • Michele
      Comment added August 25, 2019Reply

      They get into my house in Georgia especially in colder weather. We catch them by the tail when we can and put them back outside but they don't hurt anything. They do die though but just dry up. Thank God I haven't had any snakes in my house but I know a lot of people who have. I have seen a few black snakes around my gazebo and was so upset I slept with the lights on for a while. They are harmless also but there is something about snakes. Ugh...One woman I know had a snake get into her car. Wouldn't drive her car again until her husband bought her a new one. LOL If anyone knows anything that keeps snakes away (and works) please post it.

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