Bugs are an important part of the ecosystem, but when they’re stinging you or eating your garden, it’s fair to want them gone. But how can you send them packing without using nasty chemical pesticides that are bad for the environment? Well, we have 10 natural ways to help get rid of bugs in your backyard.
1. Get rid of standing water
Some pesky insects, like mosquitos, breed in stagnant water. Therefore, if you want to cut their numbers down, you need to remove any standing water around your home. Take simple steps like ensuring buckets left outdoors don’t collect rainwater and cleaning your gutters so water doesn’t get trapped in them. Clean gutters will ensure other pests don’t take up residence either.
If your backyard is prone to flooding or it takes a long time for puddles to evaporate or drain, you may have underlying drainage problems. Get an expert out and see if there are any fixes to the problem, like digging trenches or laying channelling pipes.
2. Clean your roof
Some types of insects, including wasps, nest in leaf litter. Therefore, you’ll want to clean up all leaf litter around your home and on your roof.
Strong winds and nearby trees can flood your roof with leaves and other organic debris that insects love. Regular roof cleaning will stop this leaf debris from piling up, depriving insects of a place to live.
3. Keep grass trimmed
Bugs love having places to hide, so you need to get rid of as many of these hiding places as possible. An easy way to quickly reduce their hiding spots is by keeping your lawn mown. Shorter grass offers less protection, meaning bugs will either find somewhere else or get picked off by predators, like birds.
4. Keep bins covered and away from the house
Many insects, particularly flies, have learned that our rubbish is an excellent and easy food source. But you can close off this buffet by keeping your bins covered.
Additionally, keeping your bins away from your house can limit the number of insects that find their way into your home. This is because the bins may be drawing them to your home and then other smells, like cooking food, are encouraging them inside. Using flyscreens can also limit the bugs that make it inside your home too.
5. Keep food covered outside
Nothing ruins a barbecue like flies crawling all over the food. So when you aren’t actively eating food, make sure it is covered or put away. Doing so can also help to lower the fly population around your home by reducing a potential food source for them.
6. Attract birds
The most natural way to kill off bugs is to encourage birds to visit your yard. Many birds’ diets include insects and many insects will move on if they see a bird. Plant trees, shrubs and flowers that attract native birds, like grevilleas and banksias, to bring birds flocking to your yard.
And attracting birds to your yard won’t just help cull the insect population — you’ll also support local native bird populations by providing them with food. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy watching these wonderful creatures fly about their day.
7. Attract helpful bugs
It’s important to make a distinction between bugs that are pests and those that are helpful. Bugs like bees, ladybugs and ants can help improve your garden by pollinating flowers, improving soil quality and even eating pest insects. Therefore, it’s a good idea to encourage these bugs to visit. You can set up an insect hotel for bees to call home, plant herbs like fennel and dill to feed ladybugs and sweet flowering plants to attract ants.
8. Choose plants that repel bugs
Some plants are natural bug repellents. As many insects navigate the world via scent, you want a plant with a strong smell, like lavender or lemongrass. This can overwhelm the insect and send them in the other direction.
9. Use citronella candles
If you plan on spending time outdoors at dusk or night, you need to have a plan to keep mosquitos away. An easy solution is to light citronella candles. The strong smell can help repel mosquitos, although it is even more effective when teamed with plants that repel bugs too.
10. Spray a garlic solution on plants
Garlic can be a lifesaver if bugs are making a mess of your garden. It’s also another natural repellent you can try. Simply make a solution with garlic and water — two cloves of garlic in half a cup of water makes a highly concentrated solution — and spray it on your plants. The strong odour will deter pesky insects from eating or living on the plants. And if the insects aren’t attracted to plants near you, they’re more likely to leave you alone too.
There’s no need for harmful pesticides in your garden. Instead try these natural and simple solutions for getting rid of pesky insects and even encouraging helpful ones to your garden.