By: Amy Grant
Seems you either love garlic or detest it. It doesn’t seem to bother some of them, but to others, garlic is as repelling as it is to a vampire. Controlling garden pests with garlic is a low cost, non-toxic control and can be done quite simply. How do you use garlic as a pest control?
Using Garlic for Pest Control
There are a couple ways to use garlic as a pest control. The most common is to make a garlic spray for pests. Examples of some of the unwelcome insects that can be controlled utilizing a garlic spray include:
In conjunction with this natural pesticide, be sure to keep the yard weed free and start off with healthy soil that has plenty of organic matter incorporated into it.
Of course, you can purchase a garlic spray which comes in a convenient atomizing sprayer and is usually mixed with other natural products like eucalyptus oil, potassium soap, or pyrethrum, but making your own spray is a less expensive and a very simple project for controlling pests with garlic.
How to Make Garlic Spray for Pests
So how do you make a garlic spray for pests? There are many recipes to be found on the internet, but the basic recipe for a garlic spray is as follows:
- First, make a concentrate garlic extract. Crush four or five garlic cloves in a food processor, blender or with a mortar and pestle. Add to this, one quart of water and four or five drops of dishwashing soap, preferably a natural, biodegradable soap. Strain the mixture through some cheesecloth two times to remove any bits of garlic that may clog the spray bottle. Store the concentrated garlic in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid.
- To make the garlic spray, just dilute your concentrate with 2 ½ cups of water, pour into a spray bottle or pressure sprayer and you are ready to do some damage. Keep in mind that this natural pesticide won’t last forever. It is best to use it soon after making, as the concoction will lose its potency over time.
- To apply the garlic spray, spray the plant once a week to protect against pests or twice a week if rain is in abundance. Don’t spray when it is getting close to harvest time unless you want your lettuce to taste garlicky. Also, garlic spray is a broad spectrum pesticide, so only spray the parts of the plants that are infested so you lessen the risk of harming any beneficial insects.
Another way of using garlic for pest control is to intercrop with it. That just means planting garlic among other crops. This is especially beneficial if you love garlic like I do. I’m going to grow it anyway, so I might as well plant it around my roses to repel aphids or around the tomatoes to prevent red spider mites. While garlic does a wonderful job of repelling pests on many plants, avoid planting near legumes, peas and potatoes.
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Homemade Sprays for Fighting Aphids
Homemade remedies are a longstanding tradition among organic gardeners, who have had to be creative in finding ways to battle insects and diseases without the help of synthetic chemicals. In the case of fighting aphids, or plant lice, two homemade sprays have proven very effective in controlling aphid infestations: tomato leaf spray or garlic oil spray. While knowing how to make and use them is important, it's equally important to understand why they work.
You must begin by making a garlic spray concentrate so that you can remix some of this concentrate with water to make the mixture to be used on your plants.
To make your garlic spray concentrate, you will need 2 to 3 whole garlic bulbs (1/4 lb of garlic), 1 quart of water (a little more than a liter), 4 to 5 drops of dishwashing soap (I like to use Murphy soap, a pure vegetable oil soap which is biodegradable), a blender or a food processor, a cheesecloth, and a 1-quart glass jar.
1. Do not peel the garlic bulbs – just separate the cloves.
2. Using a blender or a food processor, add these garlic cloves and 1 cup of water. Chop until well blended.
Since garlic leaves contain allicin, one of the ingredients that repels insects, you can replace the cloves with garlic leaves if you have lots of garlic plants growing in your garden.
3. Now add the rest of the water and the dishwashing drops to the mixture and blend until the mixture has turned to liquid. (This usually takes several minutes)
4. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth to remove bits of garlic that might clog the sprayer. It’s a good idea to strain a second time if any debris remains in the garlic spray concentrate.
5. You should now have about 1 quart of concentrated garlic extract. Store the strained concentrate in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid until you are ready to use it.
Now to make your garlic spray you will use for spraying your plants:
Take 1 cup of the concentrate, mix with 2 1/2 cups of water, and pour this mixture into a pump spray bottle or a pressure sprayer.
Use this garlic spray mixture to spray the plants that are under pest attack or that you suspect are likely targets.
Adding Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is another pest deterrent that you can use to naturally discourage pests from settling in your soil. Add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper along with the teaspoon of garlic powder, if desired.
Kaye Wagner has been working in the fields of journalism and public relations since 2006 and is a recipient of a National Hearst Award. She is particularly interested in home-and-garden projects, as well as beauty and fashion writing. An avid traveler, she also writes travel reviews and guides. Wagner earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brigham Young University.
Important Information to Consider
Garlic extract has been used in a study to determine how aphids would react to it. The study concluded that garlic can indeed be used in a push-pull strategy to control aphids . The push-pull strategy uses garlic to repel (push) aphids from your garden, while attracting beneficial insects like lacewings and lady beetles.
This strategy is indeed effective because a double tactic is being used against aphids. If you wish to learn more about this study, please click here. If you’re also thinking about using companion plants to control aphids, read this article.
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[email protected] on July 12, 2020:
SueE on June 20, 2020:
I would love to try this, but how does this affect dogs in the yard. Garlic is no good for dogs. As mine might sample a blade of grass or chew on a wood chip.
Deborah on May 21, 2020:
Will this mixture harm or keep the beautiful hummingbirds & other birds away?
David H on April 25, 2020:
Is this strong enough potency to keep away groundhogs?
Aikon on March 04, 2020:
Amazing article! What would be the mixing ratio when it's to be used with a 16l knapsack sprayer?
Aikon Dasiz on March 04, 2020:
Arnold on October 31, 2019:
What is the effect of garlic on cabbage
Abraham Chikah on July 19, 2019:
Thanks a lot. I actually going to give it a trial and see the end results for myself
James semuddu on May 08, 2019:
wow, I've been looking 4 cheapest pesticides 4 my melon and tomatoes, I'v got answer bt hw do I measure?
nbnath on March 09, 2019:
Mr. Salman share your development too. I have also experienced good results due to pungent smell the insects keep away.I have also experienced with tomatoes. Good to C likeminded people all across the world get united through this hobby.
Salman on January 03, 2019:
Dear, I am going to Plant ginger soon. As a precautionary measure, can I spread garlic powder on soil. I have already put cow dung, rice ash in soil. Your advice will help a lot to me. Thanks
Jill Spencer from United States on September 11, 2017:
How did I miss this article before? Love it! Am going to try it. Much cheaper than the stinky mix we've been purchasing to deter deer. Thank you!
Sherry faram on February 04, 2017:
I make garlic water to keep the possums out of my yard. It works a treat. Touchwood my yard has been possum free for about 2mths now.
Snakesmum on July 22, 2016:
Have been using garlic spray for years, and have found it very good, especially against aphids.
Zach (author) from Colorado on June 09, 2015:
Geri - Since garlic powder has been processed and dried, it will have lost a lot of its potency. I've never tried it, but I feel that it won't be the same as fresh garlic.
Geri on June 09, 2015:
Will garlic powder work as well as a clove of garlic?
Jennifer Attwell on October 13, 2014:
Will definitely be trying this
iguidenetwork from Austin, TX on June 26, 2013:
I've bookmarked this hub. I've been wondering how to make a pesticide which is also safe for my tomato plants. Thanks for the hub and for your added information you posted on the comments. Up and useful.
Kaili Bisson from Canada on April 30, 2013:
Fantastic tip. thank you! I wonder if it works on slugs?
Zach (author) from Colorado on April 30, 2013:
Jennsinkona - Store it in the fridge.
Kevin Peter from Global Citizen on April 30, 2013:
The natural pesticide explained in the hub sounds great. never thought of garlic to be so useful. Thanks for your hub and the useful information.
Jennsinkona on April 29, 2013:
Aloha! Just made my first batch and I was wondering where would be best to store the gallon?
Linda Bryen from United Kingdom on April 29, 2013:
I've heard of washing up liquid is useful for watering plants to kill insects but I haven't heard of this one so I will give it a try. Thank you Joe Macho for sharing a fantastic hub.
idigwebsites from United States on April 03, 2013:
Wow, that's an organic and natural pesticide indeed! I don't like to use chemicals too for my plants, and I'm quite excited to try this one -- and it's totally easy to make. thank you! :)
Smith Rex on March 11, 2013:
Amazing!! i am certainly going to try it and will save money too. I hope it is slug deterrent as well.
Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on February 13, 2013:
Great article. I´ll be making it tomorrow. I´ve heard a lot about the benefits of using garlic in the garden. Thanks for this very easy recipe. Have a nice day!
Gina145 from South Africa on January 20, 2013:
I don't like to use chemicals, so this sounds worth a try.
I've been using fish emulsion to feed my plants and it attracts flies something awful. I wonder whether adding a bit of garlic water would help keep them away.
Connie Smith from Southern Tier New York State on August 08, 2012:
Thank you Joe, I will give garlic water a try. It's good to know it won't alter the flavor of any veggie. I have tons of garlic this year, so this will be a very good use for the extras! Thanks.
Zach (author) from Colorado on August 07, 2012:
grandmapearl - Thanks for stopping by! Choosing a natural means of pest deterrent really depends on what type of pests you're dealing with. Though garlic works to stop a wide range of pests, it might not cover the particular pests you're dealing with on your melons and cucumbers. The good news is that it never hurts to try. Garlic won't alter the flavor of either melons, cucumbers or any veggie for that matter.
Connie Smith from Southern Tier New York State on August 07, 2012:
Very good information that I am going to use. Do you have any advice for pests on melons and cucumbers? Would garlic water work without flavoring the melons and cukes? I'd very much appreciate your help on this. Thanks! Voted Up, Useful, Shared and Pinned.
Patsy Bell Hobson from zone 6a, SEMO on July 12, 2012:
Voted up and tweeted. I will try your garlic water and pepper in a couple of days when the pepper is ready to pick.
mcstagra on June 17, 2012:
besides being economical its non toxic to human, definitely i'll try this in my garden. thanks a lot
Gillian Namele from Complicated on April 15, 2012:
For sure garlic is a real winner in many areas. While I have followed the medicinal benefits of garlic for all these years, I have never used it in the garden before. This information has come in handy for my battle with aphids.
Zach (author) from Colorado on March 08, 2012:
sloopyjo - Let me be the first to admit that I am greatly unfamiliar with Awabuki plants. On the upside, I've used garlic water on a variety of house, garden and ornamental plants with no damage at all (other than what the insects had already done). Even the most tender of plants showed no ill effects. Garlic is not a strong chemical and should not interfere or stunt your plants' growth or vigor. Applying an application of garlic water will most likely be very appreciated by your Awabuki plants! Good luck to you, aphids can be quite the pain.