Spring is here and it’s time to spend more time outside gardening. Keep your yard pesticide-free by using organic pest control recipes from your pantry.

If you have any of the pests mentioned below, these remedies may help.


If picking them off by hand is tiring, mix one tablespoon of molasses with 4 cups of hot water. Add one teaspoon of dish soap. Put into a spray bottle and spray leaves once a week. The mix works as a repellent.

Spider Mites, Thrips, Aphids

My mom makes a similar concoction, minus the dish soap, to prevent dogs from doing their business on our lawn. It works.

Add these ingredients to a blender:

  • 2-3 garlic bulbs (take off the cloves individually unless you have a mega powerful blender)
  • 12 small hot chili peppers (or 2 tablespoons of hot chili powder)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon dish soap
  • 3 cups of water

Blend well, then add another 3-4 cups of water. Blend again. Strain and pour the liquid into a spray bottle. Up the strength, if you need to, by reducing the amount of water and increasing the amount of garlic and peppers.

White Flies, Mealy Bugs, Scales

These pests die by being smothered in an oily mixture. Whisk 1/2 cup of dish soap with 1 cup of oil (cheap oil) well. Use 1 tablespoon with 4 cups of water in a spray bottle.

Snails and Slugs

Set a beer trap with a shallow container full of beer. They’ll drink it, get drunk and drown. I wrote about this because it works.

Citrus Leafminers

I’m currently dealing with these pests right now. If the problem is mild, I was advised to pick off the mined leaves. I’m using the dishsoap and oil spray for white flies and it seems to be working in addition to some fly paper and leafminer traps.

Powdery Mildew

Spray whole milk every few days until the powdery mildew is gone. I read up on this a little bit, and they say that more is not better, so go easy on the milk spray especially in the shade. Pick off mildewy leaves first, if it’s not going to inhibit the plant’s integrity.

Neem Oil as the Best Aid

Neem oil can serve as a repellent to over 200 different types of insects. The plant absorbs the oil and the insects that would otherwise eat the plant basically don’t like the taste. It’s also a fantastic fungicide that I’ve used on powdery mildew and another fungus during the winter. You can learn more about neem oil here.

If you have any other home garden remedies, please share!

Katie Dillon headshot

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

Explore More Household Tips

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. I had never heard of the beer trap for snails and slugs. I have always just sprinkled eggshells around the plant. The snails get cut when then go over the eggshells although for some reason I prefer the idea of drowning in beer. Thank you for the tips.

    1. I read about the eggshells too. Except the article I saw said that slugs and snails would naturally avoid crawling over the eggshells, therefore, eliminating the mental image I have them being sliced open! Beer does work though!

  2. So…any magic potions for keeping bunnies out of the garden?! (Love the oil/soap mix for the white flies! They won’t leave my lemon tree alone.)

    1. Aw, bunnies. We have a net around our vegetable garden. We live on a canyon so I’m not sure if it’s rats, bunnies, or raccoons but it took 3 months before whoever it is figured out they could chew through it. :/

      1. Oooh. Smart. I sort of netted some blueberry bushes last year, but they just burrowed underneath it. This year, I’m going to use a mix of moth balls around the blueberry bushes (I can’t believe I forgot this trick! I just used it 12 months ago! *Facepalm*) and some wire hoop cages over my raised beds. Wish me luck!! I’ve hear cayenne pepper works well on bunnies….but I haven’t been able to find it in bulk.

        1. Those bunnies! My wife has tasked me to deal with the bunnies in our garden and well. I’ve tried soo many things to get rid of them but they eat through everything! A friend of mine recommended using steelwool, but that would be a…. eyesore, lol. I ended up calling a local pest removal company which solved my problem, do you guys use any of those services?

  3. yay! thanks for these tips! I am attempting a garden yet again – can’t wait to try these tips!

    1. Me too. Though I haven’t seem to have put aside enough time to get it going. On the to-do list.