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12 Ways to Banish Pests Without Chemicals

Use our tips to get rid of pests in your garden. Organic gardening practices like growing companion plants and setting out sticky traps are easy and effective.

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Photo: Courtesy of P. Allen Smith


Ladybugs aren't just cute. They're also eating machines when it comes to pesky aphids, scale, mites and mealy bugs. Garden and lifestyle expert P. Allen Smith recommends releasing half of your mail order batch when they arrive, and the rest, a few days later.  Keep them cool until you put them on your plants, so they'll stay dormant. Once they're out, don't use chemicals that would kill your new helpers.

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Photo: Courtesy of Territorial Seed Co.

Praying Mantis

Praying mantis are fascinating to watch, and they're voracious predators that gobble up garden pests. They'll also eat desirable insects, such as bees and butterflies, so use them where they can feast on unwanted bugs, like beetles in your bean patch. Attach mail-order egg cases to a plant or fence, and they'll hatch and release hundreds of hungry helpers into your garden.

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Photo: Courtesy of Johnny's Selected Seeds

Row Cover

Lightweight row covers made of fabric allow rain, sunlight, and air to reach the plants below, but help keep damaging insects out. Keep the cover loose enough so your plants can raise it as they grow.

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Photo: Courtesy of Territorial Seed Co.

Cabbage Collar

Physical barriers, like this cabbage collar, help keep destructive cabbage root flies and slugs away from the roots of brassica crops. Cardboard collars made from paper towel rolls can protect vegetable and flower seedlings from hungry cutworms.

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