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How to Kill Garden Bugs

By Joshua Duvauchelle ; Updated September 21, 2017

Garden pests can ruin fruit and eat away at plants, causing plant stress and wilting. If they're not controlled, plant pests can cause widespread plant deaths in your garden. Backyard gardeners can employ various levels of insect control, both natural and chemical-based, to kill garden bugs and protect the health and wellness of their vegetables and fruit.

Spray down your garden plants with a strong blast of water from a garden hose. This may kill some small bugs, and also knocks away heavy groups of insects as a temporary control method before employing insecticide or other techniques.

Fill a gallon-sized bucket with water and add 3 to 4 tablespoons of liquid dish soap. Place the bucket underneath your affected garden plant and shake it. The bugs will fall to their death into the soapy water.

Make a homemade insecticide. Fill a plastic spray bottle with a quart of water and two tablespoons of liquid dish soap. Spray the solution onto your garden plants and vegetables. The soap suffocates and kills bug pests. The soapy residue left on the plants also deters future bug infestations without harming the plant.

Use a commercial insecticide from a nursery for heavy pest infestations. Some products are purely chemical, but others feature natural ingredients, like d-Limonene, a citrus extract, and horticultural oils like neem. Apply according to the manufacturer's guidelines, as product potency varies widely by brand.

Install an insect trap near problem areas in your garden. Traps may be simple sticky traps painted in yellow or blue to attract common pests. More complex traps may rely on bug pheromones or similar attractants to attract pests into a sticky or liquid trap that kills them.


Things You Will Need

  • Water hose
  • Bucket
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Spray bottle
  • Insecticide
  • Insect traps


  • Maintain healthy plant growth using proper watering and fertilizing techniques. Healthier plants are less susceptible to pest infestations.

About the Author


Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.