Your Garden Pest Control Tips

Last month, to get Spring started, we teamed up with Vegepod to give Crop Swap Sydney members the chance to win a Vegepod starter kit.  The competition required entrants to share a garden pest control tip with the community, and they did!  There were companion planting anecdotes, recipes and homemade deterrents galore. With almost 100 entries it was difficult to choose just one winner but we loved Maree’s tip “I vacuum the orange stink bugs that get on the citrus trees. Totally organic and works perfectly. Although, I have had to explain why I am vacuuming my lemon tree at times.” We’ve compiled your tried, tested and local advice, and categorised it for easy reference below.  Enjoy.

General Pest Deterrents
Fruit Fly
Ants
Bugs/ Butterflies & Caterpillars
Possums/ Bandicoots/ Cats
Citrus
Aphids
Birds
Snails & Slugs

General Pest Deterrents

  • Heavy interplanting is what works best for me: plant different veggies, herbs and flowers together and confuse pests with a variety of colours, shapes and smells. Works every time.” – Emmanuela
  • I love to plant sunflowers which attract lady bugs that help to control various pests.” – Anthony
  • Companion planting works great. My marigolds have been keeping bugs away. I also pick bugs off by hand whenever I see them. A garden needs love and not chemicals ” – Yvonne
  • Snakes! Poor veggie patch gets neglected now since ‘that fateful day’; once something gets planted it’s a case of crossing the fingers. Not even the cat will go near it. Am in desperate need of a veggie pod it seems!” – Marie
  • Just get a vegepod, pest problems solved!” – Juliana
  • Plant tomatoes now, in August, cherries only, hope for the best before Christmas and rip the lot up to make green Tom chutney with anything still on them. Then you’ve still got enough time to get a cucumber crop through. That’s bulletproof fruit fly strategy there – surrender!” – Oliver
  • “An unexpected success was putting in a pond (with plenty of native bushes and rocks around) next to my veggie garden. The mozzies moved in first, but soon the frogs/tadpoles came and took care of the mozzies and cleaned up the water beautifully. Now we have so many larger lizards and frogs that help with our pest control of a night time around the patch. Vigilance and a good permaculture set up seems to be the best bet for us.” – Ainslie
  • Can’t go past a mix of water, olive oil,garlic and chilli as a natural pest control” – Amanda
  • I let my chickens into the garden this time of year to clean up before planting. I’m hoping they will take care of codling moth. Otherwise netting and home made bordeaux spray are on trial.” – Lea
  • Watching plants closely and often, planting lots of different plants biodiversity, building an insect hotel, allowing for a few odd sacrifice plants because aphids are food to predatory insects you want around. Not spraying insecticides or using commercial fertilisers generally” – Erre
  • I will combine plants like tomato and basil. I find as well that a good soil is the best, and get my worm pee from my community garden! It makes my kids and neighbours laugh as I swear by worm pee!” – Fanny
  • 1) Citrus peels and egg shells on the garden. 2) My blue tongue lizard and geckos. 3) netting 4) overturned wicker laundry hampers over my herbs 5) beer traps. But I would still LOVE a Vegepod!!!!!!” – Nadine
  • Firstly, focus on the health of your plants and soil. Bad soil leads to sick plants and Sick or struggling plants are pest magnets… so feed them right and correct and nutrient deficiencies in your soil to try to ensure they are as healthy as possible. This doesn’t have to be done with store-bought products. You can start by working a good compost or manure into your soil before plant, mulching well and watering in worm tea fertiliser on a regular basis. Secondly, find a good environmentally friendly product that controls your major pest groups and just get into a routine of spraying your plants every 10 days or so regardless of whether you see pests or not. It’s easier to fight off a pest invasion before it gains a strong foothold in your garden.” – Sophia
  • In my garden my free range chickens look after all the Xmas beetles, curl grubs and other nasties like cockroaches etc. Only use worm compost as fertilizer and eco neem oil for pests on the plants. Worm compost and the worm tea is the best solution I find for my garden as if the plants are fed regularly they stay healthy and don’t require any further treatment ” – Rohit
  • How is it we don’t hold “pest control parties” LOL invite the neighbourhood over for some ‘hide n seek” I mean we have “parties” for everything else, renovation, moving, selling stuff… etc people could come dressed up as suitable pest control animals like chickens the one to get the most of pest at the end of the ‘party’ gets a case of beer?” – Carol
  • I use fruit exclusion bags on my tomatoes and apples to reduce losses to pests.” – Annamari
  • Plant a diversity of flowering perennial and annual plants in beds and side patches near your vege beds to create habitat for insects, lizards and small birds. When seasonal pest populations build up they will be controlled by the predator populations you already have in your garden.” – Jon
  • Best pest control are chickens, Guinea fowl & the husband. Use all 3 wisely & I get to cook and eat the produce. Nice! Thanks @cropswap and @vegpod” – Daniela

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Fruit Fly

  • We hang bottles, pierced with large holes near the top, filled with some apple cider vinegar, on our lemon tree to attract the flies to the vinegar and not our lemons. Otherwise, the flies prick the lemons causing them to rot” – Karina

Ants

  • Dr Lewis’s peppermint soap mixed with a few drops of tea tree oil and peppermint essence, diluted in water. It makes the best ant spray inside the house and keeps pests away from crops. All natural but not too good for cats. Smells really fresh.” – Sarah
  • Use coffee grounds from your pods or plunger around the edges – ants and bugs hate it” – Mshi
  • I’m going to have to go with a bit of horticultural glue (or Vaseline) It’s great in helping to prevent ants from helping out their buddies the aphid. The glue, put around the base of a tree trunk (citrus in my case), stop the ants from piggybacking the aphids from plant to plant when things get a little crowded. It could even be put around the legs of a vegepod 🐜. Just a word of warning not to apply it directly to the trunk but to something like aluminum foil/cling wrap/electric tape to avoid burning the tree.” – Rachel

Bugs/ Butterflies & Caterpillars

  • Mosquito netting over greens & brassicas stops all cabbage moths & in a raised bed can stop slugs/snails also” – Lynette
  • To control harlequin bugs in the garden simply mix dishwashing detergent and water together in a spray bottle and spray them to kill them as it blocks up the breathing holes and they quickly die!” – Lydia
  • 3 year old kids…they keep the caterpillars as pets and eat any of the fruit or veg before its ripe anyway 😧 pests don’t stand a chance” – Jen
  • Combine chopped onions, garlic, hot chillies. Mix them together and cover with warm, soapy water to steep. Then strain off that liquid and add it to five litres of water to create an all-round insecticide” – Danielle
  • “Make your own white oil using olive oil, dish washing liquid and water as a universal bug spray. Works wonders on stink bugs on our citrus trees.” – Tony
  • Cabbage moths are territorial. To keep them off scatter empty eggshell halves among kale, broccoli, cabbages and other leafy greens. The moths mistake the eggshells for other cabbage moths and leave the area.” – Ewa
  • In my garden my free range chickens look after all the Xmas beetles, curl grubs and other nasties like cockroaches etc. Only use worm compost as fertilizer and eco neem oil for pests on the plants. Worm compost and the worm tea is the best solution I find for my garden as if the plants are fed regularly they stay healthy and don’t require any further treatment ” – Rohit
  • I blend up chilli and garlic and steep a ‘tea’ that I strain and put in a spray bottle to put on anything the bandicoots like eating from the veggie patch as well as keeping small bugs off my herbs in pots.” – Pippa
  • Use coffee grounds from your pods or plunger around the edges – ants and bugs hate it” – Mshi
  • Pay your kids to find the caterpillars, snails etc. All natural, no chemical solution!”Colleen
  • Using land cress as a natural control for moths. Worked a treat to protect my brassicas this season. They are attracted to and lay eggs on the land cress. The larvae eat the leaves and then die.” – Stephanie
  • The tags from loafs of bread, the white ones. Put them on a stick in your veggie patch, I’ve hardly had any cabbage whites or caterpillars on my cabbages and broccoli!” – Emily
  • Boil up your rhubarb leaves and when cool use as a spray on your plants against bugs.” – Pat
  • Mix crushed garlic and liquid sun light soap a watering can and plenty of water, ten cloves garlic quarter cup soap the rest water, put it on everything and the bugs stay away , hasn’t let me down yet” – Michael
  • “1 tablespoon of shaved home made soap + 2 cups water to make spray for getting ride of aphids & caterpillars” – Shee
  • Can’t go past a mix of water, olive oil, garlic and chilli as a natural pest control” – Amanda
  • I let my chickens into the garden this time of year to clean up before planting. I’m hoping they will take care of codling moth. Otherwise netting and home made bordeaux spray are on trial.” – Lea
  • I have great success using a homemade garlic spray and / or soap spray. Both were integral in ridding my apple tree from a nasty infestation of woolly aphids. I’ve found a mild soap spray is also good for controlling whitefly” – Dierdre
  • I make pretend white butterflies out of plastic bags and put them on a stick as they don’t invade a spot if they see another butterfly. Helps control caterpillars” – Gina
  • “When planting cabbage plants plant water cress as a sacrificial crop, when the cabbage moth butterfly caterpillars eat lancers which they love the taste of they die & so your cabbage family plants have a chance to grow”Carol
  • Last summer I pegged some reused ugly lace curtains around my raised bed to exclude the cabbage moth and it worked a treat. all hail Vinnies and ugly lace curtains😄” – Cathy
  • Mine is the good old Marigold! Not only do they produce beautiful flowers, they also keep insects, beetles etc away.” – Sonali

Possums/ Bandicoots/ Cats

  • “There are a whole heap of things we have to do to yield any crop before the birds and bugs and possums get to them! I companion plant with bay tree hedges and curry plants in the veggie patch area which is fenced to keep out the bunnies. Mainly though we let them be… Some food for the creatures and some for us, which means a plethora of gorgeous wildlife – it’s all a balance!” Kathryn
  • I blend up chilli and garlic and steep a ‘tea’ that I strain and put in a spray bottle to put on anything the bandicoots like eating from the veggie patch as well as keeping small bugs off my herbs in pots.” – Pippa
  • I’ve resigned myself to not having a pretty veggie patch but this bird netting is fantastic for keeping out possums, bandicoots and cats. I remove it during the day in the summer months though as sometimes it works too well as a greenhouse and it gets a little too moist inside.” – Jennifer
  • “Paint small rocks with bright colours and lay them down around plants and berries when they are flowering. The possums/birds will have a go and realise they are not tasty. Once the fruit is actually there, birds and possums will have moved on.” – Emmanuela
  • I’ve planted a few dragon fruit plants 🌵 and installed a motion sensor light in my backyard in the hope of deterring my biggest pest, the possum! The light had been helpful so far, the dragon fruit plant is to further annoy the possums. ” – Shee
  • We are adjacent the bush and floppy fences around beds have worked brilliantly for possums, wallabies and larger critters.” – Ainslie
  • Possum protector at night.” (See picture below) – Maree
  • “Put out wind chimes for possums, I like wind chimes so that sounds like a mighty grand idea to me ” – Carol
  • “Insect and bird netting has meant we no longer battle animals for our crop!” – Celia
  • Saw this today (picture below)… Amazing home made possum protection made from wire, some edging material and my favourite touch is the rope handle for access to pots- ingenious!” – Jenny
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Citrus

  • To control harlequin bugs in the garden simply mix dishwashing detergent and water together in a spray bottle and spray them to kill them as it blocks up the breathing holes and they quickly die!” – Lydia
  • I vacuum the orange stink bugs that get on the citrus trees. Totally organic and works perfectly. Although, I have had to explain why I am vacuuming my lemon tree at times.” – Maree
  • Food grade DT earth dusted on a tree full of stink bugs will get rid of the bugs and not pose a hazard to pets or children.” – Belinda
  • I mix water, oil & a bit of detergent in a spray bottle and spray on citrus plants. The oil penetrates the outer shell of young bugs and kills them, leaving the fruit unaffected.” – Emma
  • “Make your own white oil using olive oil, dish washing liquid and water as a universal bug spray. Works wonders on stink bugs on our citrus trees.” – Tony
  • I used to have a big issue with shield bugs on my citrus trees, particularly my orange. I extended my chook run to include them and they do most of the hard work for me!” – Stephen
  • I’m going to have to go with a bit of horticultural glue (or Vaseline) It’s great in helping to prevent ants from helping out their buddies the aphid. The glue, put around the base of a tree trunk (citrus in my case), stop the ants from piggybacking the aphids from plant to plant when things get a little crowded. It could even be put around the legs of a vegepod 🐜. Just a word of warning not to apply it directly to the trunk but to something like aluminum foil/cling wrap/electric tape to avoid burning the tree.” – Rachel

Aphids

  • “Pull out thistle type weeds that aphids seem to multiply on before they head off to eat other good plants like my broad beans and garlic!” Maureen
  • “Plant Tansies for aphids I guess” – Claudia
  • “Plant mint, fennel, dill, yarrow, sunflowers and dandelion to attract ladybirds, praying mantis, hoverflies and lacewings – all of which will happily feast on your aphids.” – Gianfranco
  • Combine chopped onions, garlic, hot chillies. Mix them together and cover with warm, soapy water to steep. Then strain off that liquid and add it to five litres of water to create an all-round insecticide” – Danielle
  • I have great success using a homemade garlic spray and / or soap spray. Both were integral in ridding my apple tree from a nasty infestation of woolly aphids. I’ve found a mild soap spray is also good for controlling whitefly” – Dierdre
  • “1 tablespoon of home made soap shaved + 2 cups water to make spray for getting ride of aphids & caterpillars” – Shee
  • I’m going to have to go with a bit of horticultural glue (or Vaseline) It’s great in helping to prevent ants from helping out their buddies the aphid. The glue, put around the base of a tree trunk (citrus in my case), stop the ants from piggybacking the aphids from plant to plant when things get a little crowded. It could even be put around the legs of a vegepod 🐜. Just a word of warning not to apply it directly to the trunk but to something like aluminium foil/cling wrap/electric tape to avoid burning the tree.” – Rachel

Birds

  • “Paint small rocks with bright colours and lay them down around plants and berries when they are flowering. The possums/birds will have a go and realise they are not tasty. Once the fruit is actually there, birds and possums will have moved on.” – Emmanuela
  • To keep birds away from your fruit and vegetables, hang up cds around your garden. The shine from the discs moving around will scare them away. 🐦💿📀🍓🍏🍅🍑🍊🍈” – Taylor
  • “Insect and bird netting has meant we no longer battle animals for our crop!” – Celia
  • Birdies can be a ‘pest’ when blueberries are ripening. So using large pizza size strong foil plates hanging around the plants, to spin around , reflect sun about and clang about a little. Seems to be working! First year attempted.” – Marian
  • We tie up cabbage patch dolls in the fig tree, to scare the birds off ” – Gesa
  • “There are a whole heap of things we have to do to yield any crop before the birds and bugs and possums get to them! I have netting over the things the birds really love. Mainly though we let them be… Some food for the creatures and some for us, which means a plethora of gorgeous wildlife – it’s all a balance!” Kathryn

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Snails & Slugs

  • “I plant marigolds around the edge of my veggie patch to stop pests, and it looks pretty… Also I put broken egg shells around the plants to stop snails and slugs.. Would have tried the left over beer trick.. But left over beer is too hard to find around here…😂🙂🙂”JJ
  • Couldn’t resist – sorry. Blue Tongues are one of the best controls of snails I’ve ever come across ” – Dierdre
  • “Straw around strawberries protects them from snails”Mary
  • “Mosquito netting over greens & brassicas stops all cabbage moths & in a raised bed can stop slugs/snails also” – Lynette
  • My blender is my friend when it comes to pest control. I boil then blitz egg shells for snail deterrent, their feet can’t handle the spiky shells (great for extra nutrients too).” – Pippa
  • Seaweed spray to fertilize and keep away snails” – Mel
  • We use lots of sugar cane mulch to ward off the slugs and snails and the garden also loves it!” – Kathryn
  • I make up a natural pest deterrent spray using some natural detergent olive oil infused with garlic ginger and chilli. Allow to infuse for a week and spray it into your crops it deters slugs snails and caterpillars” – Sarah
  • I’ve won the battle against slugs & snails with beer traps. They seem to love VB!” – Samantha
  • My kids love gardening and my daughter loves snails so she’s always finding them and putting them in her ‘snail garden’. Getting the kids out there to enjoy it is one of my favourite things!” – Renee
  • Put a hulled orange half to attract slugs” – Karen
  • I let my chickens into the garden this time of year to clean up before planting. Otherwise home made bordeaux spray are on trial. I’ve caught masses of slugs with beer but only vb!” – Lea
  • “Sprinkle table salt on the edges of my veg garden to stop snails visiting my crops. They fizz up on contact ” – Janice
  • Put bowls of beer on the ground around the vege patch, snails and other slugs will think they’re on a night out and slither into it, drink it get smashed (drunk) and won’t be able to get out and drown, then if you have chookies or ducks (they do a good job cleaning up the pests too) feed them the drunk invaders and you will have a very relaxed bunch of fowl!” – Deborah
  • I use a trusty pair of chopsticks and go on a slug hunt.” – Karen

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More tips are always welcome, just email us hello@cropswap.sydney.


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One thought on “Your Garden Pest Control Tips

  • Firstly, As a pest control service provider in Melbourne I would like to Thank you for Crafting such wonderful post all about giving pest control tips for the garden especially mentioning for different kinds of pest and termites treating tips.. am very sure this will be more interested and benefited to many.. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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