9 Methods to Control Insect Pests

Table of Contents

It’s wonderful to be outside when the weather is good, but unfortunately bugs enjoy sunny days too. How can you stop insects from ruining your outdoor plans? Here are nine ways to get bugs out of your yard.

1. Dump standing water

A birdbath filled with stagnant water and leaf debris.

Keeping still water in your yard is one of the worst things you can do when it comes to bugs. That’s because insects use the water as a breeding ground, allowing their population in your yard to reproduce exponentially. Do not allow water to stand anywhere in your yard, and be sure to dump out buckets or watering cans after use. Change the water in a birdbath or baby pool as often as possible.

2. Choose insect-repellent plants

Close up of orange marigold plants.

You can beautify your yard and repel bugs at the same time by planting flowers that insects don’t like. Plants like lavender, basil, mint and marigolds all have scents that bugs will avoid.

3. Cut your grass

Boy on a sunny day mowing an overgrown lawn.

Many annoying insects are right at home in the tall grass. This includes bugs that bite your legs and feet, and it also includes ticks. To let bugs know that they are unwelcome in your yard, keep your grass mowed.

4. Toss herbs on your fire

Hands holding a bunch of freshly harvested sage.

Many people enjoy a bonfire or campfire on warm evenings, and you can use the fire to keep insects away. The smoke itself will be helpful to some degree, and you can add fragrant herbs to increase your protection. Try rosemary, sage or lemon balm.

5. Invite bug-eating birds, bats and spiders

Sparrow sitting at a bird seed feeder hanging from a red bud tree.

One great way to cut down on the bug population in your yard is to attract other creatures that eat the bugs. Plant brightly colored flowers and hang bird feeders to bring in birds that will pluck the bugs out of the air and pick them off the ground. Install a bat house for high-flying bug control. Also, avoid killing spiders. They eat the nuisance bugs.

6. Light a citronella candle

Citronella candle burning at night.

The scent of citronella repels bugs, so light some candles when you are planning to enjoy your yard. You can place citronella table candles or big candles on stakes throughout your property. Citronella sprays can help as well.

7. Spray red pepper in your garden

Jar of chili pepper flakes.

If gardening is one of your outdoor hobbies, you can keep harmful bugs away from your plants with red pepper. You can use red pepper to make a spray repellent for applying to the leaves, and you can sprinkle red pepper around the base of the plant as well. This will repel many types of insects that like to damage garden plants.

Recipe For Red Pepper Spray

1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes (you can also use an ounce of hot sauce instead of the dried flakes)
4 cups water
2 drops mild dish soap

Put the water in a saucepan and add the pepper flakes. Bring the water to a boil and then turn down the heat and let simmer for ten minutes. Let cool and strain the mixture into a spray bottle. Add the drops of dish soap to the spray bottle, cap the bottle with the spray nozzle, and gently mix.

Note: Rainy weather or watering will wash off the solution, so you’ll need to reapply every 3-4 days.

8. Run or install fans

Covered patio with patio furniture and ceiling fans.

Fans are useful in an outdoor space for staying cool, and they can help keep bugs at bay. Consider installing ceiling fans on a covered porch or setting up standing fans on your deck or patio.

9. Use chemicals or call in professionals

Professional pest control technician using a chemical fogger.

Many people want to avoid using chemicals in their yards, but sometimes insect infestations leave few options. You can pick up lawn treatments at a hardware store or gardening center. These are typically attached to a hose and sprayed onto the lawn. You might also use a local lawn care company or exterminator for the job.
If you do choose chemicals, be sure to research any harmful effects and take safety precautions as needed. Keep children and pets in mind who are likely to come in contact with the treated area.
Bugs can be a downside to having fun outdoors, but there are steps you can take to control your insect population. Keep in mind that not every bug is a bad bug. Learn about 8 Beneficial Bugs for the Garden that help defend you and your landscape from insect pests.

Damsel fly sitting on a leaf.


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