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What pests does garlic keep away?

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Home > Blog >  What pests does garlic keep away?

Garlic isn’t just a versatile plant and vampire deterrent. You can also use it as a powerful and all-natural pest control product.

If you’re tired of insects and other bests chowing down on the plants and flowers you’ve spent months growing, it’s time to add garlic to your arsenal.

Below, you’ll learn how garlic works as a pest control product and how to utilize it to protect your garden. You’ll also discover some additional tactics that can help you maintain a pest-free property.

garlic cloves in a wooden bowl

Does garlic work as a pest control product?

Garlic has long been used as an all-natural pest control tool. In fact, scientists have studied its effects for decades (even as far back as the 1970s).

What makes garlic so effective? It contains compounds like diallyl disulfide and diallyl sulfide. These compounds interfere with sensory receptors in some pests, including insects.

By interfering with the sensory receptors, garlic causes disorientation and even death. It will also deter other pests from coming near areas like your garden.

What pests does garlic repel?

Garlic does an excellent job of keeping many different types of pests away. The following are some of the most well-known pests it works on:

  • Aphids
  • Beetles
  • Armyworms
  • Caterpillars
  • Mites
  • Mosquitos
  • Cutworms
  • Flies

Larger pests like mice, moles, rabbits, and even deer are deterred by the smell of garlic as well.

Signs of a garden pest problem

How do you know if you need to start using garlic as a pest control solution for your garden? Here are some warning signs to watch for: 

  • Holes in plant leaves (especially the middle of the leaves)
  • Chew marks on leaves
  • Leaves curling up or falling off completely
  • An increase in ladybugs (they feast on aphids, and an increase in their presence may signal an aphid problem) 
  • Stem damage (especially near the soil)
  • Yellow spots on leaves

Keep in mind that you can also use garlic as a preventative tool. Even if you’re not dealing with pests currently, you can treat your garden with garlic to ensure it stays pest-free.

Why use garlic for pest control?

When they first hear about garlic being used for pest control purposes, many people wonder why. Why would someone use garlic when they can buy pest control products at the grocery store or gardening store?

Garlic offers many benefits that other pest control solutions can’t, including these:

All-natural pest control

Some outdoor pest control products are highly effective at eliminating pests. However, they’re also harmful to beneficial insects and could be toxic to your animals if they come in contact with the plants, soil, or grass near your garden.

You may also be wary of spraying strong pest control products and breathing in their pungent smell. Many of these solutions contain harsh chemicals that irritate the eyes, nose, and throat.

Affordable treatment

Most people have garlic readily available in their homes -- and if they don’t, they can easily access it from a local grocery store. You can even grow your own garlic plants, so you always have a supply of bulbs at the ready to season your food and prevent pest issues. 

If you’re looking for an affordable pest control solution, it doesn’t get much cheaper than garlic -- especially a homemade garlic spray.

Targets many pests at once

Garlic effectively eliminates a wide range of pests, including those listed above.

It doesn’t matter if you struggle with aphids, mites, or cutworms. You can feel confident that garlic will help to deter them and prevent them from wreaking havoc on the plants you’ve worked hard to cultivate.

Potential downsides to using garlic for pest control

Along with the benefits listed above, there are also a few potential downsides to making garlic your pest control product of choice. Here are some of the most significant ones to consider:

Possible eye, nose, or skin irritation

Some people are sensitive to the smell of garlic. Because garlic-based pest control solutions are highly concentrated, you may experience mild eye, nose, or skin irritation when making and using them.

You can minimize the risk of these issues by wearing goggles, a mask, and gloves while treating your plants. Wash your hands thoroughly after making and using garlic-based pest control products, too. 

Not rain-resistant

If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, you might struggle to keep your garden safe from pests by using garlic treatments alone.

Garlic-based solutions aren’t very resistant to rain (or water in general). As a result, you’ll need to reapply the treatment whenever it rains, or your plants get wet.

If you don’t mind doing this, then there’s no problem! However, it’s essential to keep this information in mind, so you see the best results from your garlic-based pest control strategy.

Not effective for active borers

Garlic is a great pest control product for pests that hang out above ground. However, when it comes to active borers like ants and leaf miners, garlic isn’t as strong of a deterrent.

These pests aren’t bothered by the smell and won’t be driven away by it. You’ll have to use other pest control solutions to manage them.1

How to use garlic for pest control

Some people use garlic essential oil as a natural pest control solution. A few drops around their garden help to keep pests away. Essential oils contain very high concentrations of plant compounds, so a little goes a long way.

You can also make your own garlic spray to prevent pest infestations using the following materials and ingredients:

  • Three bulbs of garlic
  • 1 quart of water
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Blender
  • Cheesecloth
  • Quart-size jar with a lid
  • Spray bottle

To make your garlic spray, start by separating the garlic cloves (leave the skins on) and discard the excess wrappers.

Place the cloves of garlic in the blender and add one cup of water. Pulse the garlic cloves until their well-chopped. Add the remaining water and four drops of dish soap.

Blend the mixture until it’s thoroughly liquefied. Then, use the cheesecloth to strain the liquid as you pour it into the quart jar.

Squeeze the cheesecloth thoroughly to get all the liquid out. The liquid will be highly concentrated.

To treat your plants, mix one part concentrate with ten parts water (for example, combine one tablespoon of garlic concentrate with ten tablespoons of water). Add the diluted mixture to a spray bottle and spray it on or around your plants.

What if garlic doesn’t work?

Garlic spray can be a valuable tool for mild or moderate pest issues. If you’re still struggling with infestations in your garden or other parts of your property after using it consistently, though, you might need to branch out and try out some alternatives.

Here are a few additional pest control solutions to incorporate into your regimen:

Use insect traps

Many garden stores sell sticky yellow cards that act as insect traps. Place them on the ground and between plants in your garden to catch many of the pests that travel through the soil to feast on your plants.

A garden store employee can recommend the best trap for the specific insects or pests you’re trying to manage.

Add beneficial insects

Some insects can wreak havoc on your plants, but others can benefit your garden.

For example, ladybugs eat aphids, mites, and the eggs and larvae of other insects (including destructive ones). You can also introduce other beneficial insects like lacewings, parasitic wasps, and praying mantises.

Remember that the toxic chemicals in conventional pest control products will harm beneficial insects. Don’t incorporate those treatments into your pest control routine until at least ten days after introducing the insects. 

Weed frequently

Weeds often harbor pests and parasites. They also compete against your other plants for nutrients, light, and water.

Stick to a strict weeding schedule -- and pull the weeds entirely out of the ground -- to avoid making your garden hospitable to pests and help your plants thrive.

Hire a professional pest control team

If you aren’t seeing results from all-natural methods, consider hiring a professional. 

A professional pest control team can evaluate your garden and identify the specific pests that are causing problems. Many professionals also use all-natural, non-toxic products to treat your garden, meaning you don’t have to worry about exposure to harmful ingredients. 

Keep pests away today

Who knew that garlic could be such an effective pest control tool? When you combine it with professional remediation methods, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to keep your home clean and pest-free.

Are you ready to invest in professional pest control? If so, Natran Green Pest Control is here for you. We offer safe, effective, and eco-friendly pest control services to get rid of rats, mice, roaches, and more.Reach out today to learn more about services or schedule a complimentary inspection.

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