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How to Naturally Prevent Bugs in Your Garden

There is nothing more frustrating than having your vegetable plants taken over by garden bugs! So instead of being behind and trying to look for solutions to kill the pests, learn how to prevent bugs in your garden from the start!

Marigolds Planted in the Vegetable Garden to Prevent Bugs

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If you have gardened for any amount of time I’m sure you’ve dealt with garden pests at some point or another.

They usually hide underneath the leaves of your vegetable plants and by the time you notice them they’re everywhere!

At that point it can sometimes feel impossible to get rid of them. I’ve had past gardens where I ended up just ripping out all my plants because the bugs were so bad.

So over the last few years I’ve been working on doing my best to implement strategies that will help to prevent garden pests so that hopefully they never come.

Or at least when they do there are fewer and it’s much more manageable.

How to Prevent Bugs in Your Garden 

The strategies I recommend for preventing garden bugs include using beneficial insects and beneficial plants.

In fact they pretty much go hand in hand.

If you plant beneficial plants they attract beneficial insects and so it’s a double win!

Beneficial Insects

Beneficial insects are a great addition to your garden because they will get rid of pests without any effort from you.

You can buy beneficial insects or try to naturally attract them with certain plants.

Then keep in mind that if you spray for bugs you will likely be killing beneficial insects as well, so try not to spray if possible.

Or be sure that it won’t kill your beneficial insects.

Beneficial Insects Include:

  • Ladybugs eat aphids, mites, white flies, scale insects, and other soft bodies insects.
  • Praying mantis is a predator or most pest insects, mites, eggs, or any insect in reach. The only problem is that they will eat beneficial insects as well.
  • Spiders will eat roaches, earwigs, mosquitoes, flies, clothes moths, fleas and more.
  • Ground beetles will eat caterpillar, fly maggots, aphids, slugs, other beetles, and many other soft bodied pests.
  • Aphid midges eat aphids.
  • Braconid wasps eat caterpillars, aphids, and more.
  • Damsel bugs eat corn earworms, soybean loopers, green clover worms, minute pirate bugs, and more.
  • Green lacewings eat aphids, mites, thrips, mealybugs, immature whiteflies, and small caterpillars.
  • Soldier beetle larvae eats the eggs and larvae of beetles, grasshoppers, moths, and more. The adults eat aphids and many other soft bodied insects.
  • Tachinid flies eat the larvae of moths, beetles, sawflies, stink bugs, and more.
  • Hoverflies eat aphids as well as other soft bodies pests.

A Ladybug Eating Garden Pests on a Vegetable Plant

Beneficial Plants

Beneficial plants are great because some attract beneficial bugs and some deter pests that you don’t want.

Flowers and Herbs That Attract Beneficial Insects Include:

  • Alyssum
  • Arugula
  • Bachelor Buttons
  • Basil
  • Bee Balm
  • Buckwheat
  • Cardoon
  • Chamomile
  • Cilantro
  • Cosmos
  • Dianthus
  • Dill
  • Echinacea
  • Fennel
  • Helenium
  • Hyssop
  • Lavender
  • Love-in-a-Mist
  • Marigolds
  • Mint
  • Mustard
  • Parsley
  • Sunflowers
  • Valerian
  • Verbena
  • Zinnia

If you plant some of these flowers or herbs throughout your vegetable garden you will notice a significant decrease in pests.

I plant marigolds throughout all of my garden beds and I notice a significant benefit from them. I also have lavender and a few beneficial herbs spread out throughout my garden as well as planted around the perimeters.

Other Methods for Preventing Pests

You can set up floating row covers which are great for keeping away cabbage moths, Colorado potato beetles, aphids, Mexican bean beetles, flea beetles, squash bugs, and tomato hornworms.

Another good practice is to use companion planting strategies.

There are certain vegetables that can help repel pests such as onions.

And then there are certain vegetables that are best to grow together because they attract similar insects.

In doing so you will have better control over the bugs because instead of pests being spread out all throughout your garden, you can hopefully keep them confined only to certain areas.

The last thing you should do is check for pests frequently. The bugs will usually be hiding under the leaves of the vegetable plants so when you go out to your garden quickly peak under the plant leaves.

If you do notice any pests, immediately treat them which should prevent any further spread. The more on top of it you can be the less likely it will be that you have any major problems.

Killing Pests

Even though there are effective ways to prevent bugs in your garden it’s still likely that some are going to show up.

I like to use diatomaceous earth in the garden for killing bugs over anything else.

It’s organic and it’s perfectly safe to sprinkle all over plants with vegetables that you plan to harvest.

If the diatomaceous earth doesn’t work, I also like to use Garden Safe Insect Killer.

It’s also safe to use in your vegetable garden and you can spray it directly on your plants wherever you notice bugs.

Overall, if you can try adding in a few beneficial plants and can attract any beneficial insects, your garden will be way less prone to pests than ever before.

If you’re sick of constantly dealing with pests it’s any easy practice and it’s extremely beneficial!

If you’d like to learn more vegetable gardening strategies, be sure to check out my course Vegetable Gardening Success!

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Bugs on the Leaves of Vegetable Plants

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