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Your Essential Guide to Garden Pest Control

from the Gumtree Team

15 Apr 2024 7 mins read

Worried about pesky critters devouring your carefully cared-for garden? Every home gardener knows the frustration and pain of discovering a half-eaten plant that has been attacked by caterpillars, snails, parasites or other common garden pests. But there are solutions you can implement that can help you control these critters. 

This guide aims to equip you with natural, DIY pest control tricks to keep your leafy haven thriving. Whether you have a small but lovingly tended apartment balcony garden, or a large and sprawling backyard garden, these tips can help you fend off common pests. Attract beneficial insects, build healthy soil, and use clever deterrents like garlic spray and copper barriers. Plant smart with resistant varieties and companion herbs, and say goodbye to ravaged leaves and disappointment. With a little bit of know-how, your garden will be a paradise for you, not the pests.

Understanding Your Garden Enemies

Not every buzzing bug and creepy crawler in your garden is an enemy. In fact, many of them are naturally beneficial to your garden. Before you begin evicting each and every insect from your garden, it pays to know which ones are actually beneficial bugs.

Most Common Garden Foes

These are some of the most common garden insects you’re likely to encounter in your home garden. But be aware: not all of these bugs are bad guys:

  • Tiny Terrors: Aphids, flea beetles, and mealybugs feast on sap, stunt growth, and spread diseases.
  • Munching Menaces: Slugs, snails, and caterpillars devour leaves and flowers. Some of these may be native species, but caterpillar varieties like the white cabbage moth larvae are actually introduced pests. 
  • Sneaky Saboteurs: Wasps can be an alarming insect to see in your garden, especially if you’re allergic. But parasitic wasps lay eggs inside other insects, such as caterpillars, controlling pest populations naturally. 


Prevention is Key: Building a Fortress for Your Foliage

Create a haven for your plants where pests are unwelcome guests. Natural garden pest control fosters a healthy ecosystem that thrives from the ground up.

Welcome the Good Guys

Creating a flourishing garden is about fostering a balanced ecosystem. You can achieve this with a few simple methods that not only keep pests away, but encourage local pollinators to visit your garden as well. 

One of the most obvious ways you can keep pests away is by using a physical barrier. Row covers and netting protect young plants, while a copper barrier around raised beds acts as a formidable defence against slugs and snails. 

Another way to help your garden flourish is to keep it in optimal health. Healthy plants are more capable of fighting off pests, but avoid overwatering as this can attract fungal diseases and mosquitos. 

You can also try rotating crops to confuse pest life cycles and keeps them guessing. This involves simply planting different types of crops or plants in a different part of your garden each year. 

Preventative Measures

Taking preventative steps is crucial in maintaining a healthy garden. One such method is companipon planting. Interplanting pest-repelling herbs like marigolds and basil with your veggies can help to deter pests. Marigolds repel nematodes by releasing a chemical into the soil which is toxic to these pests. On the other hand, Basil emits a strong scent that repels flies and mosquitoes.

You can also choose plants bred to withstand pest pressure. Certain types of tomatoes are known for their resistance to blight and other common tomato pests; while some breeds of roses are more resistant to common rose pests.

In addition to this, regular inspection of your plants plays a vital role. Make it a routine to check your plants for any signs of infestation. Spotting trouble early and addressing it promptly can prevent small problems from escalating into larger ones. By combining these approaches, you create a strong first line of defence for your garden, keeping it healthy and thriving.

Organic and Eco-Friendly Solutions: Nature’s Arsenal at Your Fingertips

Nature offers a potent pest-control arsenal for a healthy, happy garden. Here’s how to unleash its power:

  • Soapy Suds: This simple spray blasts soft-bodied pests like aphids. Mix 1 teaspoon liquid soap with 1 litre water and gently mist plants. The soapy film disrupts their breathing, sending them packing. Repeat every few days until pests vanish.
  • Garlic’s Pungent Punch: Aphids hate garlic! Infuse a litre of water with crushed cloves for a few hours, then strain and spray directly on plants. The strong scent deters munchers, and it’s safe for vegetables and flowers. Bonus: add chilli flakes for extra spice!
  • Neem Oil, the Natural Champion: This versatile oil from the neem tree is a pest-control powerhouse. It disrupts insect moulting and feeding, tackling everything from caterpillars to thrips. Mix 1 tablespoon of neem oil with 1 litre of water and a few drops of mild dish soap, and spray plants early in the morning or evening. Remember, neem oil harms bees, so avoid spraying during the day.
  • Beneficial Bacteria: Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, is a naturally occurring bacterium that targets specific insects like caterpillars and moths. When ingested, it disrupts the insects’ digestive systems, sending them on a one-way trip. Bt is available in sprays or dusts and is safe for humans and beneficial insects. Unleash these tiny warriors and watch your caterpillar woes disappear!

These natural methods keep your garden thriving and pest-free without harming the environment or innocent insects. On top of this, you can also try and attract beneficial visitors such as ladybugs, lacewings, and birds to feast on harmful pests. You can do this by planting a variety of native, flowering plants.

Addressing Specific Pest Concerns: No Bug Can Stand Your Ground!

Now that we’re armed with an arsenal of natural pest control methods, let’s tackle some specific enemies lurking in your leafy domain!

  • Aphid Armageddon: Brew strong lapsang souchong tea, cool it, and mist-infested plants. The tannins send them packing!
  • Slug and Snail Showdown: Sprinkle crushed eggshells or diatomaceous earth around plants. For a DIY trap, bury empty beer bottles with necks above the soil – the yeasty aroma lures them to a watery demise.
  • Tomato Triumph over Blight: Mix baking soda with water and spray every two weeks. This natural fungicide keeps your tomatoes happy and blight-free.
  • Rose Revolution against Blackspot: Choose resistant varieties and remove fallen leaves. For extra protection, spray with neem oil before bud break and throughout the season.


The Top Benefits of Garden Pest Control

Natural pest control isn’t just about protecting your precious plants—it’s a gateway to a healthier, happier ecosystem. Here are just some of the benefits you can gain from choosing natural pest control solutions:

Bountiful Harvests

Enjoy plump tomatoes, juicy berries, and vibrant veggies bursting with flavour, all thanks to pest-free plants thriving in your care. It’s an investment in your health, one delicious bite at a time.

Garden Oasis

Picture a vibrant tapestry of healthy foliage, buzzing bees, and fluttering butterflies. Natural pest control transforms your garden into a haven for you and wildlife, a sanctuary for your soul.


By going natural, you’re protecting not just your plants but the planet. You’re safeguarding beneficial insects, birds, and small animals, creating a mini-nature reserve where everyone flourishes.

Peace of Mind

Natural methods mean less stress and more time to enjoy your green haven simply. Imagine sipping tea amidst the gentle hum of bees and the intoxicating scent of blooming flowers—pure serenity.

Knowledge is Power

As you master natural pest control, you become a gardening guru! You’ll build a wealth of knowledge and satisfaction from identifying creepy crawlies to concocting DIY sprays.

Equip Yourself for Eden: Sustainable Gardening Solutions From Gumtree

With this comprehensive guide, you’re now equipped with the knowledge and tools to remove your garden from pests! Remember, prevention is key, organics are your allies, and consistency is your weapon. 

If you’re ready to begin creating a bountiful, green paradise, then why not check out what second hand treasures you can find online at Gumtree? Within our extensive garden category, you’ll find a range of different second hand or new gardening tools and furniture, as well as plants and seedlings for sale. Take a look at Gumtree’s offerings today from sellers all over Australia, and begin creating the perfect green retreat at home.