Natural Pest Control in the Garden and Home

natural pest control

Pest control…2 words that are part of your everyday vocabulary if you live in Florida. Insects are everywhere here and if you are not keeping a watchful eye out they can take over quickly. Using natural pest control can eliminate those pests without harming humans, animals, and the environment.

We seem to get the entire pest population here and some of those pesky critters are bigger and smarter than you may think. Florida is known for its large wolf spiders and banana spiders, the Palmetto bugs, which are no more than a super-sized roach, and our snakes. Oh, and I can’t exclude the ticks, the fleas and the “I don’t know what the heck they are” bugs that appear in weird places out of nowhere.

garden pest

Natural Pest Control in the Garden and Home

Knowing that there are so many pests everywhere we go, I needed to find a way to control them before they got out of hand. The problem was that I didn’t want to use anything that wasn’t safe for humans and animals. That pretty much eliminated everything on the shelf from Home Depot, Rural King, and Tractor Supply. Now what? Well, I decided to do some internet research to come up with a way to eliminate or at least control the pest population on my property. I needed a natural pest control!

Natural Options

After countless hours of researching, then a lot of trial and error, I think I have it under control. I am not making any promises here, I know what works here in central Florida, in my climate, and in my situation. I can’t make any guarantees for anyone else. However, feel free to try some of the suggestions here and let me know what you think. Remember, when the pest problem gets crazy, you may have to opt for less natural pest control but try these natural options first.

Flies

Flies are a pain in the butt. They always buzz in our face, land on our food, get into our cups, and just drive people crazy. When you have a farm or any animals it seems, you will have flies. They infest the feeders, land on feces left by animals, fill the barn, and seem to follow the livestock everywhere. They also seem to make themselves known around wooden structures like decks and railings especially when these structures are new.

Natural pest control for flies:

  • Placing cloves into an apple will deter flies. Place it on a table on your deck or patio.
  • Placing a funnel made out of paper into a jar with apple cider vinegar in the bottom catches fruit flies.
  • Purchase a Captivator Flytrap from Amazon. I read the reviews and apparently, they work well!
  • Leave a finished bottle of wine out and watch the flies drown with the leftover liquid in the bottom.
  • Swat them! Yep, a flyswatter works great.
  • Fill a gallon ziplock bag 3/4 full with water. Drop a penny inside. Hang the bag outside. The light reflections into the many facets of the eyes of the fly will repel them.
  • Make your own flypaper. Check out this post by One Good Thing by Jillee.
  • Plant herbs like lavender, lemongrass, marigold, mint, and basil.
  • Plant camphor trees. Camphor chases all pests from flies to mosquitos!
fly on a flower

Bees

Most homesteaders do not want to make the bees go away. We want the native bees to pollinate our crops and flowers, after all, we are trying to save them right? However, yellow jackets and other stinging and biting insects like wasps are not pleasant to have around.  They travel in groups and when they swarm lookout! Wasps are known for making their hive under porch awnings, in outdoor umbrellas, and in the eaves of houses. The point is, they need to go.

Natural pest control for stinging bees and wasps:

  • Combine 1 part water with 4 parts sugar in an inverted water bottle with the bottom cut off. Hang outside to attract yellow jackets. Once in they are trapped.
  • Make a soapy water solution. Put the solution in a bottle that attaches to a hose and sprays a good distance. Spray wasp nests with the solution.
  • Grow wormwood, eucalyptus, mint, and citronella to naturally repel wasps.
  • Watch this video to learn how to eliminate wasps with a paper bag!
bee on a flower

Ticks

Ticks seem to be everywhere and come in all sizes from super tiny to the size of a small bean. These creatures can carry diseases and are sometimes hard to find until they are buried deep in your skin. Ticks seem to be getting worse every year so prevention is key. Always check yourself over from head to toe when you walk in the woods or anywhere that ticks may survive. Ticks can affect people and animals so make sure you check them also regularly.

Natural pest control for ticks:

  • Mix witch hazel and water at a 10:1 ratio, place in a spray bottle and spray animals as a tick repellant. (kills ticks already on them too)
  • Mix 2 tsp vegetable oil with 10 drops of peppermint oil, add a few drops of dish soap, apply once a week to your domestic animals.
  • Add 1/8 tsp. of garlic powder per pound of dog food to repel fleas and ticks.
  • Combine 4 oz. distilled water and 10 drops of eucalyptus oil into a spray bottle and spray your animals.
  • Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a spray bottle with water and spray on animals.
  • 80 drops of cinnamon oil and one oz. of water can be added to a sprayer that attaches to a garden hose to treat your yard for ticks.
  • Plant lavender, citronella, lemongrass, pennyroyal, and rosemary.
  • Invest in Guinea Fowl, chickens and ducks! These animals eat ticks and other pests.
  • Allow for opossums, some fire ants, and nematodes, they feast on ticks also.
Ticks can be controlled by nest pest control methods.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes seem to be the most hated insect on the planet. They are everywhere. They can ruin your outdoor events, swimming excursions and walks through the woods. There are many ways to eliminate mosquitoes. Learning why they are around and what is attracting them is the first step in controlling them.  Did you know catnip, when pulled off the plant and rubbed directly on your clothes and skin will repel them? Try it.

See this post for a very detailed way to eliminate mosquitoes! I am sure you will find some natural pest control measures that you can use around your home and property.

Mosquitoes can be controlled with natural pest control.

Other Miscellaneous Pests

Do you grow cucumbers? Do you battle with cucumber beetles? Did you know that a simple and natural pest control is to plant sunflowers with your cucumbers?  That’s right, those pesky beetles will flock to the heads of a fully grown sunflower! Then you can simply brush those beetles right off into a bag and dispose of them easily.

Have you ever noticed that your green leaves on some of your plants look like a blotchy mess of holes throughout the leaves? Those are probably flea beetles. These little creatures will pick a plant, start eating the leaves and then they lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves. Their eggs look like small brownish-red balls the size of fleas. Although you should scrape the eggs off, sprinkling coffee grounds around the base of the plant will deter those little beetles from eating any more of that plant.

potato beetle on a potato plant
“Photo by Jared Belson” (https://pestpush.com/)

Ants

Sugar ants are a nuisance. They get into your food and destroy everything edible if you let them. Sugar ants are easily seen as they seem to travel single file on a path from their nest to whatever it is they are consuming.

To get rid of sugar ants in the home, simply combine 1 part Borax and 3 parts sugar. Add water to this mixture until it resembles the consistency of syrup. Place a small amount in a jar lid that you can place near the area they are devouring their food at. They will take this mixture back to the nest and will eventually die.

Carpenter ants are another problem for homeowners. These ants can damage wood so badly and so quickly that it is not uncommon for someone to invest thousands of dollars into replacing the damages that carpenter ants left behind. The best way to eliminate carpenter ants is with diatomaceous earth. Simply sprinkle it anywhere there may be ants. Diatomaceous earth is like ground glass to insects, as it cuts and tears away at their insides, resulting in their death. Diatomaceous earth works well for cockroaches also.

ant on a leaf

Quick Hack

For a quick solution to pests outside try the Mosquito Plant.

Now you are educated and armed with the knowledge to successfully control pests around your home and property with natural pest control methods that are safe to people and animals. Try some of these methods and drop me a comment below. Do you have other suggestions? Please share.

Using a form of natural pest control on the homestead means getting rid of those pesky bugs in a more natural way.
 

About the author

I'm a mama to four and grandma to six. Yankee born with a love of the south. I love old-fashioned ways with modern thinking. I'm a homesteader, gardener, blogger. I enjoy “from scratch” cooking, consider myself a crafty do-it-yourselfer, and animal rescuer.

25 Comments

  1. Definitely great tips, I love the citronella plant. They do wonders. I want to try and find good seed supplier of that plant, so i don’t have to keep paying top price to buy it.

    1. Author

      Thanks, Christine! You should try Bakers Creek Seed Company, they did have citronella seeds or live plants when I ordered my seeds last month. Maybe you could check a seed swap site too! Good luck and thanks so much for stopping by!

  2. When I moved in my home 8 years ago, the yard was filled with thousands of love bugs and Hawthorne bugs. They drive me crazy – open the front door and they dropped on me. In my mailbox – everywhere! I use essential oil of oregano in a spray mixer attached to the hose and spray around my house. They hate it and leave! Yeah! Great tips – pinned and shared.

    1. Author

      Thanks so much for sharing! I love oil of oregano! It helped me last year tremendously and not just for the bugs! I so enjoy your posts and your pictures so much!


  3. Thanks Annie! I will be referring back to this post as the season goes on to combat the different pests that show up. Thanks!

  4. I was just reading up on natural pest control. This was great timing.

  5. We’re all about not using chemicals on the homestead, and you have some great information here. Thanks for sharing! In fact, we’ve gone back and forth on guinea hens for tick control for a while, but might be getting closer to making a decision. Cheers!

    1. Author

      Guinea hens are the purest form of pest control there is! It is worth their investment!

  6. Great ideas in there – my favourite mosquito pest control are bats and frogs/toads – works super well but obviously rather something for rural areas (at least for the bats…)

    1. Author

      I love my bats so much here and I did a post on making bat houses!


  7. Enjoyed reading this. I love bugs, but not all. Interesting to see the different pests that you get, compared to ours. Some are the same. Taking note of some of the ones we have and your solutions. Thanks for sharing. #GoingGreen

    1. Author

      I’m glad you found it helpful! Florida has about every pest there is and they are bigger than they need to be!

  8. Brilliant post – thank you. I refuse, where at all possible, to use chemicals so you have some great natural ideas here. We had a massive influx of flea beetles last year that killed all my brassicas – off to see what natural controls I can use against them, should they return in such droves this summer. #GoingGreen

    1. Author

      I don’t believe in using any chemicals on my homestead because I feel we just need to learn to be more natural. I want to know what goes in my body! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my posts! Good luck with those flea beetles! Share what you find with me!

  9. So much great information here! I’m going to bookmark this post, as well as try the garlic powder for tick control. We have a ton is ticks and tick borne diseases here in CT. Thank you!






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