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Natural pest control for your garden

Organic and plant-based pesticides and sprays are not always as good for your garden as you might think. So what can you use instead?

You can use nature to control pests in your garden instead, leaving the good bugs to work their magic. Here are some natural methods for some of the most common pests.

Snails and slugs – Coffee grounds or beer

These slimy creatures love coffee grounds and beer, even though it kills them. Lay a ring of coffee grounds around target areas, or place ice cream containers with a small amount of beer in the bottom. Slugs – be gone!

Pear and cherry slugs – Powdered gypsum or dead slugs

Lay powdered gypsum around the base of your pear or cherry tree. You can also squash some of the slugs on the leaves and leave them there to repel others.

 Ants – Soil quality and tansyiStock_Ants[1]

Rid your garden and pot plants of these busy critters:

  1. Improve your soil quality by adding compost, organic matter (like manure) or sustainable mulch to help it retain water. This is important because ants like dry soil.
  2. As an extra measure, you can also grow a herb called tansy in problem areas. Tansy is a natural ant repellent.

 White butterflies – Egg shells, white pansies or strong herbsiStock_eggsLarge[1]

Keep white butterflies off your cabbages and greens by:

  • Scattering egg shells around target areas.
  • Planting white pansies through your vegie patch.
  • Growing strong herbs, like dill and sage, among your vegies.

 Caterpillars and harlequin (stink) bugs – Dead bugs

Make a spray out of dead bugs by dropping some into a bucket of hot water. Don’t worry if a few leaves drop in too. Let it cool; put it in a spray bottle; and spray affected plants.

 Possums – Blood and bone manure or Chinese tea istock_tea - resized.jpeg

Try these two methods :

  • Blood and bone manure. Put golf ball sized amounts into old stockings to and hang them through your trees. Repeat every seven to 10 days for four weeks.
  • Lapsang Souchong tea. Brew a large pot of this Chinese tea, let it cool, put it in a spray bottle and spray it along fence tops, roofs – anything the possums are using as highways. Repeat after rain and every seven to 10 days for four weeks.

 Blackbirds and Indian myna birds – Plastic snakes

You don’t even need to get your hands dirty to stop these birds from digging up your garden. Place plastic snakes – any colour – all around your garden. Move them around each day to make the birds think they’re real. iStock_toysnake[1]

Do you have a natural pest control tip to share? Please email us at with your suggestions or watch our latest sustainable gardening video for more tips for your garden.

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