Natural Pesticides

Before you reach for a can of insecticide, remember that some insects are beneficial. Chemical sprays are not the only way to keep bugs from harming vegetables or killing flowering plants. There are plenty of alternative repellents and pesticides.

Fact: Homeowners use about three times the amount of pesticides as farmers. Most wildlife pest poisonings, and most surface water contamination from pesticides come from single-family homes.

Popular insecticides and harmful affects

Toxins from pesticides can remain in the body and build up in the liver and fatty tissue. Even at safe levels your reactions can be mild to severe. High levels of exposure can be fatal. Several factors determine how your body will react including your level of exposure, the type of chemical you ingest, and your individual resistance to the chemicals. Some people are unaffected or are mildly affected, while others become severely ill from similar levels of exposure.

Possible reactions are:

  • Fatigu
  • Skin Irritations
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Breathing Problems
  • Brain Disorders
  • Blood Disorders
  • Liver & Kidney Damage
  • Reproductive Damage
  • Cancer
  • Death

Natural alternatives for garden pest control

Try these natural, non-toxic (to humans) repellents. Most of the following suggestions won't actually kill the bugs but will help keep them away from your garden. The easiest way to prevent insect damage in your garden is to discourage them from coming in the first place. Most insects dislike the strong odor. Some types of pungent basil and sage also repel a variety of insects.

Pests are a problem in many gardens and can ruin flower bed and vegetables. When dealing with pests, choose methods that are safe for both plants and humans. Avoid using harsh chemicals as much as possible.

Here are some eco-friendly pesticide recipes


Plant chives, marigolds, mint, basil, or cilantro or place aluminum foil at the base of your plants. The foil reflects light onto the undersides of the leaves, which scares away aphids.


If ants are coming in through the cracks of doors and windows, pour a line of cream of tartar where they enter the house, and they will not cross over it. A cinnamon stick, coffee grinds, chili pepper, paprika, cloves, or dried peppermint leaves near the openings will repel ants. You can also squeeze the juice of a lemon at the entry spot and leave the peel there. Planting mint around the foundation of the house will also keep ants away.

Codling moths

Use a cheesecloth square full of lavender, chives and garlic, or cedar chips. Try adding cedar oil, rosemary, dried lemon peels, or rose petals.


Place some soap shavings or used cat litter along the ground to create a boundary between their grazing area and your garden. Also try hanging a salt lick in their path to distract them from your plants.


Simply spray garlic oil where you don’t want them, or plant calendula, horehound (a bitter herb), or cilantro.

Japanese beetles

Try chives, garlic, rue, and catnip.


Use mint plants, especially peppermint plants! Mice really dislike peppermint and will avoid any areas where it grows.

Mites (spider and clover)

Try planting alder, coriander, or dill, and use rye mulch and wheat mulch.


Sprinkle chili pepper around plants (it must be reapplied if it gets wet). Install oven racks around plants. Rabbits tend to dislike their texture and the way that they feel on their feet. Other natural rabbit repellants include bellflowers, astilbes, asters, yarrows, cranesbills, hostas, lavender, sage, and other textured or thorny plants.


Place mint, lemon balm, human hair (remove excess hair from hairbrushes and place in gardens), pine needles, cosmos, sage, or parsley in your garden.

Ticks and fleas

Plant mint, sweet woodruff, rosemary, and lavender. Also try placing cedar chips in your garden. They smell great to you … but not to fleas and ticks!

Natural Pesticide Recipes

Fill one with undiluted white vinegar to kill weeds and grass poking out of the cracks in your concrete. Vinegar can also help kill ants. DO NOT spray vinegar directly on the plants, the high acidity could kill them.

Try chopping up hot peppers and combine them with 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper and ½ gallon of water. Boil the mix for about 15 minutes and let cool. Strain through cheesecloth and add 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid. Put into a spray bottle and spray the plants every 5 days or so.

For an effective insecticide that works on soft bodied pests, but won’t harm your plants: Mix several cloves of crushed garlic, ¼ cup canola oil, 3 tablespoons hot pepper sauce and ½ teaspoon liquid soap in 1 gallon of water, mix well. Put into spray bottle, shake well before using.

Make a natural pesticide by using your blender. Puree 4 onions, 2 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper and one quart of water. Set aside and dilute 2 tablespoons soap flakes in 2 gallons of water. Add contents from your blender; shake or stir well.

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