Top 7 Gardening Experts on Common Garden Pests and Natural Pests Control

Pests are one of the main causes of damage to your garden. They come in different shapes and sizes.

Here are some of the common pests and natural ways to control them based on the perspective of gardening experts:

  1. Frogs and toads should be attracted to your garden as they love slugs.
  2. Building fences help prevent deers and rabbits.
  3. Getting rid of ants by drowning their nests.
  4. Keep beetles away with homemade spray from alcohol.

Gina Harper from Harper’s Nurseries

Caterpillars

Caterpillars often transform into beautiful butterflies but unfortunately many varieties will cause chaos in your garden if left uncontrolled.

The tomato hornworm for example has a voracious appetite and will happily munch through leaves destroying your plants in the process. Not only are they fond of tomatoes they will happily devour your peppers and potato crops too.

Top 7 Gardening Experts on Common Garden Pests and Natural Pests Control

If you manage to spot them, handpicking them off your plants is one option but introducing natural predators is recommended for longer-term management.

I have personally found Ladybugs and Green Lacewings to be the most effective as they feed off hornworm larva and help keep them at bay. If all else fails, consider treating your plants with an organic insecticide.

Slugs

Slugs can also wreak havoc in gardens and I rarely spot them in daylight hours as they tend to come out to feed at night.

The silver trail they leave is always a telltale sign they have been on the prowl, not to mention plants being stripped of their leaves overnight and evidence of half-eaten vegetables!

Top 7 Gardening Experts on Common Garden Pests and Natural Pests Control

Handpicking slugs off your plants in the dark can be rather unpleasant so I continue to use the old-fashioned ‘beer trap’ method my uncle used to use on the farm.

Slugs seem to love the stuff so try pouring some beer into a shallow metal container and they will likely make their way to have a drink, fall in and drown.

Again, natural predators can help out here. Frogs and Toads love feeding on slugs and you could attract them to your garden by building a small pond. Not only will it help keep these pests under control, it will also make an attractive addition to your garden.

Holly Berrigan from MYSA

Groundhogs

One that most people don’t think about as often because it’s a large animal are groundhogs!

Top 7 Gardening Experts on Common Garden Pests and Natural Pests Control

While we obviously don’t want to hurt the animal, we also don’t want it eating our produce. So the best way I’ve found to deal with them is to find the locations of their holes, wait for them to leave, then block the entrances with sticks or a cover that they can’t get through.

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If that doesn’t work and you have a cat, putting some cat excrement at the entrance is also a pretty effective deterrent.

Deers, rabbits, and other mammal pests

While a fence is always the easiest solution, if you still find yourself with nibble marks on your plants the best solution is to spray the plants with pepper spray made from black pepper, chili pepper, ginger.

Top 7 Gardening Experts on Common Garden Pests and Natural Pests Control

And if you want to kill 2 birds with 1 stone, add some garlic in while you’re at it to prevent some of the unwanted bugs as well.

Aphids, mites, or other small insects

Neem oil spray is a great natural way to keep these small bugs off your plants.

Jordan Collins from Two Lions 11 Ltd

Cutworms

They’re most active during the night when they attack early veggies and flowers eating the stems found at ground level. They’re incredibly destructive and can completely eat away the plan, leaving nothing to enjoy in the garden.

Top 7 Gardening Experts on Common Garden Pests and Natural Pests Control

One of the ways to go about this problem is to manually pick the worms and dispose of them. However, this may be a bit time consuming and uncomfortable.

You can try cutworm collars on transplants or consider delaying planting in general if you’ve noticed that there’s a problem.

Ants

These tiny pests are not only often unwelcome guests in our homes but also strike our gardens and cause damage.

Although they don’t directly damage the plant as they don’t feed on it, they can significantly harm the soil in the process of creating their nests. If you have any specimens growing low, this may be a problem.

Top 7 Gardening Experts on Common Garden Pests and Natural Pests Control

You can get rid of their nests by drowning their nests. You can also carefully remove the affected soil and replace it with a new one.

Blackfly

Although there are different types of blackfly, the most popularly seen one is the black bean aphid.

It is popular for striking the soft and sappy part of broad beans, runner beans, French beans, nasturtiums, and others. A result of this type of infestation is also mould growth.

Top 7 Gardening Experts on Common Garden Pests and Natural Pests Control

There are a few naturally occurring predators that you can use to get rid of blackfly problems in your garden. These include ladybirds, hoverfly, and lacewing larvae.

Natalie Barrett from Nifty

Flea beetles

Flea beetles are tiny pests that have a shiny body and large legs. They have the ability to jump and are extremely difficult to catch. They harm plants by creating holes in the leaves.

To control them, there’s a homemade spray that you can try in your attempts to get rid of flea beetles.

Top 7 Gardening Experts on Common Garden Pests and Natural Pests Control

Mix 2 cups of rubbing alcohol, 5 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of liquid soap. Before spraying the whole garden, do a small test by applying the mixture to only one plant to see how it reacts overnight.

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You can also use talcum powder to get rid of flea beetles or set sticky traps around the garden to trap them.

Aphids

If you notice leaves dropping or you’ve spotted a distortion of foliage, your garden may be suffering from aphids.

These pests are extremely small, have the shape of a pear, and can attack anything in the garden, including veggies, fruits, flowers, shade trees, and ornamentals. They feed on plant sap and damage your plants.

Top 7 Gardening Experts on Common Garden Pests and Natural Pests Control

You can keep the aphids away from your garden by regularly washing the plants with a strong spray of water to ensure they are pest-free and clean.

An interesting fact is that having lady beetles and lacewings around can also protect your plants from these destructive pests. You can also use alternative sprays like hot-pepper and garlic-induced ones.

If the problem becomes serious, try insecticidal soap and ensure you’ve read the instructions for use carefully.

Owen Mosser from The Golden

Mealy Bugs

Mealybugs are small and fluffy but don’t be fooled. They’re fully functioning creatures that target your plants (mostly indoor plants).

They’re fast-breeders and are efficient in sucking the sap from your plants, so beware of them.

Top 7 Gardening Experts on Common Garden Pests and Natural Pests Control

You can control them by dabbing them with a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol. You can also prevent them by making sure not to over-fertilize your plants.

Vine Weevil

A vine weevil is one of the most common garden pests. It’s a beetle that attacks both indoor and outdoor plants. These pests attack your plants at the root, causing your plants to die out.

Top 7 Gardening Experts on Common Garden Pests and Natural Pests Control

You can get rid of them by handpicking them and putting them on soapy water, or letting nematodes do the job for you. Also, cleaning up your garden is good prevention for keeping pests at bay.

Gena Lorainne from Fantastic Services

Squirrels:

  • Sprinkle cayenne or garlic pepper around your plants. Squirrels hate the smell and won’t eat anything with these ingredients.
  • Protect your shrubs and trees with spiral tree protectors so they can’t climb on them.
  • Mulch your plants, so the squirrels can’t attack the roots.
Top 7 Gardening Experts on Common Garden Pests and Natural Pests Control
  • Invest in netting and put it over your crops and pots.
  • Get yourself a dog or cat which will keep them away from your garden. However, if you don’t want a pet at least try to sprinkle dog hair around your garden squirrels won’t stand the smell.
  • Buy ultrasonic sound devices, they are budget-friendly and work for mice and rats as well.

Rabbits:

  • Fence off the rabbits’ favourite spots.
  • Seal rabbit holes with chicken wire or wood.
  • Seal your veggies and fruits with chicken wire as well, make sure the bottom end is buried well, so they can’t dig.
Top 7 Gardening Experts on Common Garden Pests and Natural Pests Control
  • Invest in motion-activated sprinkles. The sudden water will scare them away.
  • Place decorative owls and snakes around your garden.
  • Get rid of tall grasses and shrubs or mow and prune regularly. Rabbits live in areas where they can hide from predators, and your shrubs are the perfect place for that.
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My advice is to practice the companion planting method. It is the best way to avoid pests in your garden. There are so many plants that deter specific insects, here some examples:

  • Dead nettle deters potato bugs so plant next to potatoes.
  • Garlic deters aphids, plant next to roses.
  • Rue deters beetles.
  • Salsify deters carrot fly.
  • Thyme deters cabbage worms.
  • Mole plants deter mice, plant some in different spots.

Susan Brandt from Blooming Secrets

Tomato Hornworms

This pest is dreaded by vegetable gardeners. It will demolish tomatoes and other vegetables in the Solanaceae family, which includes eggplants and peppers.

Since this pest is so large, they are easy to rid your garden of them. It is green, about 3-4 inches long, and looks like a caterpillar

These pests can be picked off the plant and dumped in soapy water or crushed.

If you see a hornworm that has white egg sacs on it leave it alone. The egg sacs are a parasitic wasp named braconid wasp and it is a beneficial insect.

Top 7 Gardening Experts on Common Garden Pests and Natural Pests Control

Let the eggs hatch and you will have many wasps that can defend your garden against lots of different pests. Plus, these wasps are not a danger to humans.

Another way to kill these pests is to spray a solution of liquid soap and water on the plant leaves. Once you finish spraying the plant, sprinkle cayenne pepper on the leaves and fruit.

The soapy water will kill the pest and the cayenne pepper will repel them if the soap washes off. You will need to repeat this if it rains.

Mites

Mites are tiny little pests that not only reduce plant vigor but can also transmit some dangerous viruses and diseases. One of the easiest mites to recognize is a spider mite.

To prevent mite infestations, water your plants regularly and try to get them in a shaded area in the afternoon.

Top 7 Gardening Experts on Common Garden Pests and Natural Pests Control

Predatory mites are a great option to put in your garden as they are harmless to plants and will eat a wide variety of spider mites and their eggs.

You can also try releasing ladybugs or lacewings to keep the spider mites in check.

Conclusion

Garden pests can turn your beautiful garden awful. Prevent them as soon as possible. Remember to visit your garden regularly to detect and eliminate these harmful insects.

Hope that some of the common garden pests come with natural ways to control in our article will make it easier for you to protect your garden.

Photo of author

Jill Sandy

I am a sustainable focus gardener. I love decorating my home backyard with beautiful landscape design and creative garden care techniques I develop myself.