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How to Kill Bugs in Vegetable Gardens

By Charles Pearson ; Updated September 21, 2017

Insects can cover your garden and do great damage to your vegetables. Luckily, there are many ways to kill the majority of bugs in your vegetable gardens. It’s important to remember that not all insects and other creatures in your garden are pests. Some are helpful. For some plants, it’s necessary to have insects cross-pollinate your plants in order for them to bear fruit. Other insects feed on harmful insects and not on your plants. It’s not always the best idea to kill everything that’s in your garden.

Ask at your local greenhouse about different kinds of insecticides and find what kind is right for your problem.

Read the labels to find out how to use these safely. They can be toxic to plants and animals if they are used incorrectly, so mix them according to what the instructions say. The instructions will tell you the optimal way to mix, store and use the chemical insecticides. Insecticides come in two main varieties: spray on, which is a concentrated liquid that you mix with water; and powder, which is dusted on the plants.

Spray liquid insecticide on to the plants or the soil. These have been the subject of some controversy over the years, but there are many different kinds and each has a different effect on the insects and on the environment. The liquid types are diluted with water and can be sprayed on with a garden sprayer. This makes it easier to get at all sides of the plant and to the undersides of the leaves, which is a common place to find insects. Some can also be used on the soil, where insects may hide or where their larvae may live.

Dust powdered insecticides onto the plants. Wear protective clothing when using these, and be careful not to inhale the powder. It’s best not to use these on a windy day. Most people prefer the liquid types, because they give better coverage and are easier to use.

Spray a jet of water onto the crops if you prefer not to use chemicals in your garden. The spray shouldn’t be so strong that it will damage your plants, of course, but it is one chemical-free way to get any insects off your crops.

Buy horticultural oils to control pest problems. Hot pepper spray is another organic option, which you can make yourself. You can make your own with either some store-bought ground pepper, such as cayenne, or you can finely chop or grate fresh hot peppers. Mix these with water and then strain them once the water has soaked up the juices. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray your plants.


Things You Will Need

  • Insecticide
  • Horticultural oils
  • Hot pepper spray


  • Pay attention to what kind of insects are a problem in your garden and also the types of plants you have. This will determine the kind of insecticide you'll need to use.
  • If you can't see the insects, pay attention to what kind of damage they are doing to your plants, and what plants they are attacking.

About the Author


Charles Pearson has written as a freelancer since 2009. He has a B.S. in literature from Purdue University Calumet and is currently working on his M.A. He has written the ebooks "Karate You Can Teach Your Kids," "Macadamia Growing Handout" and "The Raw Food Diet."