Garlic As Pest Control: Tips For Controlling Pests With Garlic

Cloves Of Garlic
garlic pests
(Image credit: chengyuzheng)

Seems you either love garlic or detest it. Insects seem to have the same reaction. 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 water at a 1:10 ratio (i.e. 1/4 cup concentrate per 2 ½ cups of water, or 60ml/600ml). Pour the mixture 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.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.