Five Natural Pest Prevention Options To Try At Home

Insects are a problem no matter which of the lower 48 states you live in. We’d be remiss to not include Alaska and Hawaii in this misery index as well, but their population of good and bad bugs is different than those we experience here on the continent.

Now that’s not to say that all insects are harmful to your garden, your property, or you personally. Many serve as great alternatives to pesticides, herbicides, or other yard and house poisons we routinely use but should probably shy away from.

The use of natural remedies in battling insect pests has drawn greater interest as the local food and green movements have caught on nationwide.

We’ll offer a few simple, effective methods of combating insects and other pests—and at a much lower price than anything you can buy in a store.

up close look at praying mantis on wooden branch
Photo Credit: Quang Nguyen Vinh

Lady Bugs

bag of pre-fed lady bugs purchased online
Ladybugs are popular pest control agents –

Ladybug, ladybug fly away home…was something we all heard as children. What most of us didn’t realize is that these brightly colored little beetles are voracious killers. They’ll clear out aphids and other undesirable bugs at warp speed. You can purchase them at a local garden center by the bug, by the bag, or by the jug, or you can order them online in bulk packs of 1000+.

However, if you get them, just release them in key spots around your yard in late spring or early summer. Leave the strategizing up to them! They’ll move to wear they need to be.

Paper Bag Deterrent

brown paper bag on string hanging outside door to deter wasps
A paper bag wasp deterrent – photo by Randy Tucker

No, you don’t have to wear it over your head, but if you stuff a brown paper bag with newspaper and hang it on your patio, on the engine compartment of outdoor power equipment, or in any other location you routinely get wasps and hornets you’ll witness an exodus by these stinging pests.

The paper bags resemble a paper wasp nest. You know, the huge ones that hang from tree branches that you maybe got entangled with as a curious kid.

This is the reverse of a decoy; it is a deterrent. Paper wasps are among the most aggressive of all hornets, bees, or wasps and their presence once detected by others of their genus will get the other pests packing.

Vaseline & A Cup

cracked dirty yellow cup upside down in garden
Vaseline on a drink cup is an easy way to trap aphids – photo by Randy Tucker

Sometimes the best way to catch aphids is just to trap them. Applying a coat of Vaseline to a standard 16-ounce plastic drinking cup placed upside down in your garden will do the trick. Yellow or green cups work the best. The aphids are attracted to the color and get stuck on the Vaseline, drying out the trapped bugs once the sun comes out for the day. It is an inactive method on your part of getting rid of these garden-destroying pests.

Lampshades vs. Squirrels

An inverted lampshade protecting a bird feeder – photo by Randy Tucker

It sounds like an obscure minor league baseball game but inverting a solid cover lampshade or even an inverted porcelain sink above a bird feeder will keep pesky red and gray squirrels from raiding your bird seed. Squirrels are notorious thieves and among nature’s greatest acrobats. They can defy most contraptions we devise to prevent them from reaching a bird feeder, but this method works. If the lampshade is 16 inches or more in diameter, and a little slick, it is all the better. These furry rodents climb down to the shade and try to scurry around it to the feeder but can’t maintain their grip and fall off.

Fake Owls

Owl decoys are an effective bird deterrent –

Scarecrows have been used for centuries to protect crops from these ravenous scavengers, but perhaps the best method of keeping crows at bay is just a simple plastic owl placed above your garden. As an added benefit, plastic owls are great with woodpeckers too. The owl is the apex predator of the air. No other bird has the killing capacity of an owl. The other birds know this and steer clear.

Simple, effective methods of preventing, killing, and trapping bugs, rodents and birds are available in your home right now and can be assembled with little effort. What not try it?