Organic Pest Control

How to Control Pests Organically


Organic pest control doesn't have to be expensive. Preventative care is the best way to keep organic pest control manageable and affordable. Check your organic garden often, use insect traps and turn leaves over to make sure there are no critters underneath.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need

  • Rotenone And Pyrethrin Concentrate
  • Floating Row Covers
  • Garden Sprayer
  • Horticultural Oils
  • Liquid Bleach
  • Sticky Traps
  • Insecticidal Soaps
  • Neem Oil


Step One

Walk through your garden every day and keep a watchful eye out for pests. Ants crawling up stems, leaves sporting blackened spots, and plants wilting frequently can tell you that insects or fungal diseases have arrived.

Step Two

Put insect traps and monitors such as yellow sticky bars in the garden and check them weekly. Grow vulnerable vegetables under floating row covers and keep a garden calendar to note seasonal and repeat problems.

Step Three

Observe any damage to plants on your garden walk, then look to see what's causing it. Turn leaves over to see webs underneath and scratch in the soil for caterpillars.

Step Four

Control the first pests you see by hand: Stomp or squish bugs, and pluck sickly leaves off the plant. Squeamish? You can pluck and drown insects in a jar of bleach.

Step Five

Use only organic pest controls for bigger or chronic problems. Become familiar with organic pesticides: insecticidal soap, oil sprays, pyrethrins, rotenone, and garlic or red pepper sprays.

Step Six

Spray or dust only the affected plants and repeat as directed on the label or recipe (when mixing your own). Spray or dust only when bees aren't working.

Step Seven

Use parasitic insects to combat your garden's pests whenever possible - look for mixtures of Bacillus that infest common caterpillars. Encourage beneficial insects by planting a diversity of flowers and herbs that attract them.

Step Eight

Stop trying to control the pests when the cure overwhelms your time or the plant's worthiness for your garden. Change your expectations and live with some damage, or take out the sick plants and grow something else.

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