Pests and gardening go hand in hand. You are not the only one who is eager to get a taste of your spring or fall veggies, or looking forward to the blooms on your prized rose bush. The pests want in on your gardening too! Pest control in the garden can be a daunting feat, especially when you don’t notice you have a problem until it’s out of hand. Early detection is key to success in the battle of organic pest control; every pest is easier to get rid of when caught in the beginning stages of developing. So get out to your gardens often, observe with a keen eye, and try employing some of these basic, non-insecticidal methods of pest control before reaching for a pesticide.

A spray from the hose can knock pests off your plants.

If plucking insects from plants freaks you out, use tools to keep you far from the creepy crawlies.

4 Non-Insecticidal Effective Methods for Removing Garden Pests

1. Spray plants with a blast of water from the hose to dislodge pests. This is usually the first pest control method we encourage gardeners to try.  A blast from the hose is an effective, pest control measure when pest infestation is low or in beginning stages. Hose your plants down once a week in the mornings (so foliage has time to dry through the day) to remove eggs and larvae (make sure to try to direct water under the leaves where many insects like to hide and lay eggs.) This method works well for multiple pests, and especially for aphids, whiteflies, and leafhoppers.


2. Use your hands to remove pests. Many insects can be handpicked right off the plant. If the thought of this makes you squeamish, use a pair of kitchen tongs (or chopsticks if you’re an overachiever). Pluck off the pests and drown them in soapy water. Aphids can be rubbed off of leaves (wear gloves so your fingers don’t get stained yellow)


3. Vacuum pests. Many pests, like stinkbugs and leaf-footed bugs can be sucked up into the vacuum cleaner by using a hose attachment. You can shake the plant (another way to get rid of pests naturally) vigorously to dislodge the pests and hoover them right out of the air. If you still have an old Dustbuster, these work great!


4. Shake pests loose from plants. You can put a drop cloth or old sheet around the base of your plant, give it a good shake and many pests will fall to the ground. (This won’t do much for dislodging eggs, but adult insects can be disturbed.) Gather pests that have fallen on sheet and dispose of in soapy water, or freeze them in a bag for 3 days and then trash.


These seem like really simple tips, and that’s because they are, but if you implement them, they really can save you some heartache over damage from pests. Prevention is the best way to avoid pests from taking over your gardens. For more tips, be sure to check out our blog on important gardening tasks to keep up with for the best chance at keeping pests at bay.


P.S. Sometimes no matter how vigilant we are with our preventative measures, the pests still swoop in. You may need an insecticide to fully eradicate your pest issue. We suggest avoiding complete “wipe-out” sprays and opting for the least toxic, yet still effective options for your pest issues. Rainbow Gardens is always here to help you figure out the right products for your needs. Take multiple pictures of your problems, and/or bring in samples in sealed plastic bags for us to help diagnose your problems. .


~The Happy Gardener.