Slug it Out With Natural Pest Deterrents

When creepy-crawlies start invading your garden, don’t reach for harmful pesticides that can wreck your plants – natural solutions can get the job done! Try them on these garden pests:


These slow-moving insects will munch through your seedlings in minutes, and destroy hostas and delphiniums in days.

• Did you know that slugs are big party animals? They love beer! Bury a small tin can filled with beer so the rim is level with your soil. Slugs will dive in and then drown. Once you’ve captured a bunch of them, toss out the can and replace it with a fresh one.
• Since slugs love dark, moist spots, get rid of areas that will attract them by cleaning and hoeing your garden beds often – slugs like to hide and lay eggs under weeds.
• Toss out wooden boards and bricks, so slugs have nowhere to hide. Create barriers that slugs hate to crawl on, like diatomaceous earth, gravel or coarse sawdust.
• Sprinkle Epsom salts on your soil and table salt around plants.
• Lay human, dog or cat hair over your plants.
• Slugs avoid strong smells so plant mint, chives, garlic, and fennel.
• Apply petroleum jelly to your potted plant containers – slugs will slide right off!
• Slugs love grapefruits. Scrape out the fruit, poke holes in the rind and turn upside down in your garden to make a slug trap – they’ll party in there instead of in your plants!


Water your garden in the morning, since critters prefer to feed at night in wet soil.
• Away from your plants, lay down a couple of wooden boards in some soil. Snails will hide there, since they love damp, shady spots. Every few days, collect your boards and scrape snails into a trash bin.
• Spray snails with equal parts vinegar and water.
• Place copper or foil barriers around plants that snails are eating. They’ll get shocked when they cross them. This also works for slugs.


Everyone loves butterflies. However, many caterpillars can destroy vegetables within weeks.
• Pluck them off your plants by hand.
• Plant oregano, hyssop and thyme to repel them.


Tiny aphids reproduce quickly, making them hard to get rid of.

• Combine orange or lemon rind with a pint of boiling water, and let it steep overnight. Strain mixture through a coffee filter and pour into a spray bottle. Twice a week, spritz aphids on leaves and underneath them, where they like to hang out.
• Aphids have natural enemies, so introduce them to your garden! Beneficial insects like lacewings and ladybugs kill aphids, and you can attract them by planting dill, yarrow and mint.
• Grow young plants under row covers to deter aphids, removing covers as plants start to flower.
• Plant garlic or onions near infested plants, because aphids hate the smell!


These insects are extra-creepy! Luckily, you can get rid of them.

• Lay rolled up sheets of wet newspaper in your garden at night. Earwigs will crawl inside at sunrise. Collect the rolls before they dry out and either burn them or tie them up tightly in a plastic bag.

Here are a few other tricks to try to rid your yard of pests:

• Have a pond? Add some frogs; they’ll eat the insects.
• Plant rosemary, yucca, sage, lavender and hydrangeas to keep pests away from your crops.

Do you have any tips for getting rid of unwanted insects? Share them with us!


Slug on a leaf: Scot Nelson Flickr via Compfight cc

Aphid: S. Rae Flickr via Compfight cc

Caterpillar: zaphad1 Flickr via Compfight cc

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