Organic Remedies for Garden Pests

Use this extensive list of organic remedies to help remove, prevent, and maintain garden pests.

By Staff

Here’s an extensive list of organic remedies for garden pests from our “Guide to Organic Pest Control” article:

Pest                                     No-spray Options                                      Top Product Choices
Aphids Row covers; beneficial insects including ladybeetles, lacewings and syrphid flies; reflective mulches Insecticidal soap, diatomaceous earth, horticultural oil
Armyworms Row covers; beneficial insects including braconids and other small wasps Bt, spinosad, kaolin clay
Asparagus beetles Predation by poultry; winter cleanup of debris Spinosad
Cabbage loopers Row covers; handpicking; predation by birds Bt or spinosad
Cabbageworms Row covers; handpicking; predation by birds Bt or spinosad
Colorado potato beetles Resistant varieties; row covers; straw mulch; crop rotation; handpicking Spinosad
Corn earworms Resistant corn varieties with tight husk tips; early planting Bt, spinosad or vegetable oil applied to young ear tips
Corn borers Good end-of-season cleanup of debris; parasitic wasps Bt, spinosad (alternating use)
Cucumber beetles Row covers; handpicking; vacuuming; trapping in yellow pails filled with water or with yellow sticky traps Kaolin clay
Cutworms Surface cultivation; weed reduction; rigid collars around seedling stems Bt, kaolin clay, beneficial nematodes
Fire ants Check garden weekly for new mounds and treat as needed Spinosad
Flea beetles Row covers; reflective mulch Spinosad
Grasshoppers Poultry; good fall cleanup to dislodge overwintering eggs Nosema locustae protozoa, applied to habitat areas in late spring
Japanese beetles Row covers; handpicking; parasitic wasps Milky spore, beneficial nematodes
Leafhoppers Ladybeetles, lacewings and other beneficial insects Neem, kaolin clay, diatomaceous earth
Mexican bean beetle Scout twice weekly; handpick adults, eggs and larvae; release beneficial Pediobius wasps Neem
Spider mites Encourage beneficial insects; use strong water spray to wash undersides of leaves Insecticidal soap applied in late afternoon or early evening
Slugs and snails No evening watering; handpicking; trapping; ground beetles and other natural predators; reduced mulching; clean cultivation Sand, diatomaceous earth, copper barriers, iron sulfate baits (restricted use in some certified organic operations)
Squash bugs Row covers; handpicking; trapping under boards at night; growing non-preferred varieties; prompt composting of debris Neem
Squash vine borers Resistant varieties (butternuts); row covers; surgical removal; composting of all debris Beneficial nematodes
Tarnished plant bugs (Lygus bugs) Close mowing near plantings; vacuuming; row covers; trap cropping with alfalfa Beauvaria bassiana fungus
Tent caterpillers Tear nests open with a stick every few days Late night applications of Bt or spinosad
Thrips Grow flowers to provide pollen and nectar for beneficial insects; reflective mulches Kaolin clay, Beauvaria fungus, insecticidal soap
Tomato fruitworm (same species as corn earworm) Encourage beneficial insects and wild birds; handpick Bt or spinosad
Tomato hornworm Scout twice weekly starting in early summer; handpick Bt or spinosad
Whiteflies Wash off with water; yellow sticky traps; reflective mulches Neem, insecticidal soap, horticultural oil

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