Some animals — by their very nature — are a pain in the neck, they are unwanted, not needed and seemingly contribute nothing to our immediate environment but things we can do well without: ill health, unsanitary messes, and not only that, they often exhibit habits that can be dangerous to both you, your family and your property. Termites eating through the wooden frame of a home, aphids destroying vegetables and flowers, rats chewing up the electrics, cockroaches pooping on food preparation surfaces… You get the idea!
These kinds of exhibited behaviors are why we call them pests, because all they do is bring misery. Once any one or numerous pests have decided to target your home, office or any building you rent or own, then you may as well say you’re at war. You cannot just win the battle, because they’ll be back. So what do we do with pests? We take them on and wipe them out, yet that can be expensive and bad for the environment. Splashing the cash for m\synthetic chemicals, poisons, traps, preventative measures and more soon adds up to a tidy total, and those chemicals? They get into the environment, stick around, don’t degrade quickly when compared to natural approaches and can be, well, just plain nasty!
Yet, there are other ways of taking on those unwanted guests, approaches where you don’t need to 1. part with stacks of money (who doesn’t want to save cash?) or 2. spray, squirt or leave toxic chemicals and poisons in your immediate environment — we all want a safer place to live, relax and enjoy. So what are you waiting for? Get to it, and believe it: you can use an organic approach that uses that which nature provides to combat many of your pest problems. So without further ado lets discover the natural way to drive and keep critters and bugs away!
Natural Pest Control: It Works
Chrysanthemum Flower Tea
Tomato Leaf Spray
Garlic Oil Spray
1. Neem: Neem (Azadirachta indica) is the common name of a really special tree that can be found both on the Indian subcontinent, and in parts of the Middle East. The oil extracted from neem seeds is celebrated as an effective, all-natural approach to keeping certain pests away. Perhaps its most important role is that of its ability to act as an excellent mosquito repellent. If, like me, you are unfortunate enough to live where mosquitoes like to hang out, well, neem can be a great way to take on these most pesky of pests. Plus, where mosquitoes are concerned, we need all the help we can get! They carry disease, are an utter annoyance and cause unsightly itchy bites that can drive you pretty crazy; especially if you suffer from extreme reactions to the proteins they use to dilute your blood as they feed. (Yuk!)
Neem extract is regarded as being one of the most potent natural pesticides known to exist. It has actually been shown to contain over 50 natural insecticides! And that means it does what’s best for pests: Keeps them away! You can also use the tree’s extremely bitter leaf to make a natural pesticide that is easy to prepare and apply around your home, garden, balcony, window boxes and more. All-in-all neem is a bit of a dream!
To prepare a quantity of neem spray is really straightforward; simply add half an ounce of organic neem oil and half a teaspoon of a mild organic liquid soap to two quarts of warm water. Stir slowly but be sure it’s mixed well and diffused throughout the water. Pour the prepared liquid into a rinsed out spray bottle and use straightaway.
As with other natural approaches to pest control apply generously, and don’t just spray “on top” or over the area you wish to treat, spray under the leaves, under windowsills, between cracks and crevices. Merely giving a quick spray over the top will not be as effective as getting down into the depths of where bugs love to hang out, feed and… breed!
2. Chrysanthemum Flower Tea: The chrysanthemum plant produces a natural chemical known as pyrethrin that is actually synthesized in a manufacturing process and then included in various kinds of industrial insecticides. It is, therefore, a proven and effective way to blast unwanted pests into oblivion. The one singular plant that contains the highest amount of pyrethrin content is the Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium. It is a fantastic reservoir waiting to be tapped for its bug blasting properties.
Pyrethrin is so effective as it attacks and immobilises an insect’s nervous system. It basically causes death by pressing the stop button on all of the insects’ functions.
With the kind of firepower just described it’s wise to be cautious when working with this kind of plant. If it can do that to an insect, well, it can also do it to mammals, which of course we are but one example. Of course you can readily plant them in the garden, in window boxes and individual pots, but since they do contain pyrethrin — all be it natural – it’s imperative to be sure that no children or pets are going to be eating, nibbling or in any way ingesting any pyrethrin from either a plant’s blooms or its leaves. Of course it will take a much larger dose of pyrethrin to cause any toxicity in either humans or other mammals, but it’s always wise to be cautious when handling this type of plant. Keep them away from toddlers and other animals and inform older children about how it can be toxic.
Preparing Your Approach
There are two ways to prepare this really effective natural pesticide.
When your plants are in full bloom harvest all the flowers and dry them either by the sun or carefully in the oven. Once completely dry, grind the flowers into a fine powder, it’s best to wear a mask at this stage. Once ground to a fine powder you can sprinkle it directly onto the pests themselves or apply to affected plants.
In a pint of boiling water place approx. 10 ounces of dried chrysanthemum flowers, after taking the water of the boil stir the mixture until all blooms are completely soaked and “mixed in”. Let it stand for a minimum of 1 hour. Now strain the liquid to remove the flower’s remains. Put the liquid into a rinsed out spray bottle or even into a larger purposefully purchased spray applicator and get to work. Spray on plants and over surfaces where insects live, feed and breed. Don’t forget to spray under, not just “over”.
Please be sure to always use protective gloves when handling either preparation, be it the liquid or powder form. Though small amounts might not be toxic to humans, it is still best to be safe than sorry. Another benefit of pyrethrins is that they are extremely fat-soluble, which means even if you do somehow ingest a small amount they toxins will not accumulate but simply be washed out of your body.
A huge advantage of using natural pyrethrins is that they quickly degrade when exposed to either sunlight and/or high temperatures. So, unlike other synthesized products, they don’t stick around and accumulate in the environment.
If You Can’t Budge Bugs
Pyrethrins are included a wide-range of effective pesticides, in simple terms they can be used against a variety of pesky pests and bugs that you don’t want round the home, garden or other areas. However, if you see that your bug problem is too big to handle, do what we always recommend: Call in the pest control experts.
Another great thing about this particular home made insecticide is its shelf life: it can be stored for up to two months. Also, by adding some neem oil you can further enhance its potency as a spray that will keep bugs and pests both away and at bay.
3. Tomato Leaf Spray: If you find your favourite flowers covered with armies of aphids and mites then this easy to prepare concoction is a sure and proven way to take them on. It will remove them, deter them from returning and stop them dead in their tracks. Their attempts to colonise your plants will be thwarted. It is so easy in how it works; with the alkaloids in tomato leaves being fatal to many insects. Simply soak 2 cups of chopped tomato leaves in 2 cups of water overnight. Strain the liquid the next day, keep the liquid and throw the leaves into your compost heap. Now pour in 2 additional cups of water to the solution — give it a good stir or shake — being sure that everything is mixed up nice.
Now get any functioning pre-rinsed spray bottle, maybe it’s one that used to house a chemical cleaner — and fill it up. Now you’re armed and ready to take on those unwanted pests crawling all over your flowers and plants! Simply spray the affected areas as soon as aphids appear and to really keep their numbers down if not remove them completely always pay close attention to stems and the under side of leaves. Be sure to give them a good soaking! Repeat daily until they are reduced to an acceptable level or completely gone. Happy spraying!
4. Garlic Oil Spray: Garlic isn’t just a delicious and nutritious aromatic that is used in food, no, it can also be used in and around your property and garden to keep bugs at bay. Garlic, as you may well know, contains sulphur — no wonder vampires stay away — and thus behaves as a natural repellent for many insects.
So using garlic in a spray not only means you can sleep safe in the knowledge that Dracula won’t be stopping by, but it also means you can turn garlic into a cheap and safe pesticide. You can make an easy to prepare garlic spray that will control aphids, slugs, and other insects, or you can make a three in one spray that contains onion, chilli, and garlic that will help keep away ladybugs, caterpillars, other insects and even larger animals such as deer.
Simply put three to four cloves of minced garlic into two teaspoons of mineral oil. Let the mixture sit overnight, and then strain the garlic out of the oil. Add the oil to one pint of water, and add a teaspoon of biodegradable dish soap. Store in a bottle or jar, and dilute the mixture when you use it by adding two tablespoons of your garlic oil mixture to one pint of water.
Crush and mince together a garlic clove and a medium-sized onion. Add this mixture to a quart of water; collected run off water is not only fine it’s cheaper and better for the environment. Wait one hour and then add one teaspoon of cayenne pepper and one tablespoon of liquid soap to the mix. This organic spray will be good for about week if stored in a refrigerator.
This mixture works because compounds in garlic such as diallyl disulfide and diallyl trisulfide are irritating or deadly to many insects. The oil and soap help the mixture stick to plant leaves. Garlic oil sees to it that whitefly, aphids, and most beetles will stay well clear of any plants covered in this spray. Please do take note not to spray on a sunny day, as this spray combined with strong sunlight will burn some foliage.
The Next 8
5. Citrus Rinds as Slug Traps: Slugs can really do a job on your garden and leave your vegetables, flowers and other plants decimated. This not only costs you money, and even possibly the loss of a food source if you’re looking to be self sufficient in vegetables, it can cause you serious heartache: All that time and energy spent growing your lettuces, tomatoes, beans and cabbages… wasted! Well, this simple trap works. After eating or using one of the following fruits in a meal — oranges, grapefruits, lemons, — collect the fruit rinds and then place them in a deep container. Place the container and citrus rinds into a hole that puts the container’s lip at the same height as the soil’s level. Then let nature and time do its work. This will not kill the slugs, but attract them to come for a feed. Once caught simply remove the container and take the slugs to a place well removed from your garden.
6. Soap Spray: Simple, cheap and readily available to prepare this approach is really handy at taking out a wide variety of garden pests, including aphids, scale, mites, and thrips. Here all you have to do is add one tablespoon of organic dishwashing soap to a gallon of water and spray the mixture wherever you find the pests: It is that straightforward. What is more, the soap solution has a great shelf life and will easily last an entire season and beyond, and by that time you will have undoubtedly used it all up and mixed up a new batch!
I am often asked how this works, and it’s just a matter of the soap dissolving the exoskeletons of the insects, which of course eventually leads to their death.
7. Beer Baths: We’re not the only animals that like this ancient brew. Aside from some other mammals that like to take a sip, slugs will go so far as to take a dip in a prepared beer bath. This, as with the citrus rind trap, is a simple and easy to set up way to get rid of slugs. As with the citrus trap place a deep container in the ground, and add a couple of inches of beer – preferably the dregs from last night! — below the top of the ground sunk container. Slugs being slugs will come along for a session but instead of getting home after a nice night out, the will fall in and drown.
Slugs love yeast and can’t keep away from it, especially when it’s on offer for free, and that’s why beer is such a great way to trap them. It’s really important to sink the container into the soil and keep the beer about an inch lower than the soil. This way, the slugs have to go down after the beer, and thus then they meet their doom. I guess it’s not too bad a way to go. If the beer is near the soil, the slugs can just have a drink and then go and munch some hostas when they’re done with happy hour.
8. Hot Pepper Spray: Here’s a great solution when you have a mite infestation. It truly is a simple way to take them on and only requires a minimal amount of effort to prepare. Simply mix together two tablespoons of hot pepper sauce, a few drops of biodegradable dish soap, and one quart of water. Let it sit overnight and give it a stir in the morning. Now your ready to put into a spray bottle and take the fight to the mite. As with all spraying, don’t just do an “over spray” get down into the nitty-gritty and .
Hot pepper spray works because the compound capsaicin, which causes the “heat” in hot peppers, is just as irritating to insects as it is to us (have you ever sliced a hot pepper and gotten any of it in an open cut? Ouch!) This mixture also helps repel whiteflies, but it may have to be reapplied if you start to see the mites or whiteflies returning.
9. Newspaper Earwig Traps: This approach works well for those of you who want to reduce the population of these sometimes-pesky insects. Making a homemade earwig trap to help control unwanted earwigs in and around your property is actually pretty easy.
Get hold of an old newspaper and roll it up to make a tube. Don’t roll it too tight otherwise there won’t be enough space for the little critters to crawl in, and that will defeat the whole objective of the trap. Most people recommend making the tube about 5-6 inches long, which is basically taking an average sized newspaper and folding it into fourths. Once folded and rolled up — but not too tight – place a loose rubber band around your new structure so that it will keep its shape.
Next, soak the newspaper in water then wring out any excess water so the newspaper is damp. Once prepared place the trap in a dark corner of the property where you’ve noticed earwigs and let it sit for a couple of days, this allows the earwigs to make your newspaper trap their new home. A couple of days is usually more than enough time for them to move in and settle down. Once they’ve moved in, simply place the newspaper in a plastic bag and either move it to an area you don’t mind earwigs hanging out or dispose of it.
10. Soda Bottle Yellow-jacket Traps: Yellow jackets, a type of ground nesting wasp, can be a real nuisance, and of course, they can sting. Some people will even have an allergic reaction and require emergency medical attention. Once stung it’s not unusual to see swelling and feel tenderness.
Other symptoms can include dizziness, vomiting and a tightening of the throat. These may be symptoms of an allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening and requires emergency professional help. This is why it’s a great idea to set traps for these critters if you are having any kind of problem with them. Always set any traps away from seating, barbecue or picnic areas, and be sure they cannot escape traps you set up.
Take a two-liter soda bottle and cut it at the shoulder (about one-quarter of the way down), be sure to remove the spout entirely but keep it intact, you’ll need it to complete this simplest of traps. Now place the upside down spout into the cut bottle, place it firmly inside so as that it won’t pop out if the trap is knocked over. The next step? Add a solution of sugar and water, or even add some old flat soda, set the bottle and trap away!
11. Red Pepper Spray: This easy to put together number works by simply making what would usually be a tasty meal for both mammals and birds into a disgusting nightmare. Who wants to eat leaves covered in pure red pepper? No animal I know, that’s for sure! If deer, rabbits, or even squirrels and/or birds are regularly taking a meal from your garden, make the following mixture and then weekly spray target the plants you wish to protect. Again, spray thoroughly, don’t just do an over spray. If you only do that, one night of rain and it’s open buffet season on your garden again! Prepare the mixture by stirring four tablespoons of Tabasco sauce — or its equivalent — into one quart of water, then add one teaspoon of dish soap. The capsaicin in the pepper spray will irritate the animals that were dining out on your flowers and/or vegetables, and they won’t be back for dessert! After eating, or even just smelling the heat of real red pepper, any pests will be looking elsewhere for their next feast.
Be sure to let other people know that you’ve sprayed your garden and that any vegetables and/or fruit needs to be thoroughly washed before eating!
12. Boiling Water for weeds: First, why would you want to get rid of weeds? We are here to get rid of pests, right? Exactly! Well, getting rid of weeds gets rid of places where bugs love to hang out, especially the number one pest we love to hate: Mosquitoes. Weeds offer these pesky bugs a place to hide pout, to stay cool and actually be closer to your home than they should be. Getting rid of weeds close to or round your property takes away this environment, pushing them further away form you, your family and pets. Boil some water, and pour it over weeds in the cracks of your sidewalks or driveways. Most weeds can’t stand up to this treatment, and your problem is solved. Just be careful when pouring!
So there we have it, 12 ideas for safe, homemade, organic pest control. All of which can be a real boon for anyone with pest problems, however, as we always say, prevention is better than cure. Think of how you can stop any infestation before it happens. Keep areas clean of waste and debris. Keep them dry and material free. Think of the plants you have in and around your home. Do they attract or discourage certain unwanted bugs, rodents and other mammals?
Yet, let’s be honest here, sometimes no matter what you do, a determined pest infestation will take hold, but after reading these simple solutions you now don’t have to fret about costs and having dangerous chemicals around the place, because by having just a handful of inexpensive items on hand, you can take care of most outdoor common pest dilemmas in your own, green way.
No matter the kind of pests invading your life, we have it covered. Explore the site and find all the answers you need, our Pest Removal FAQ has articles about getting rid of every kind of pest you can imagine. And if you still have questions, contact us: We’ll do our very best to help.
For example, if you’re having problems with fleas check out this page. Got a termite problem? Click here. Whatever your pest problem, we have detailed information that will help you tackle the issue head on with clear, easy to understand steps that work.