20 Natural Pest Killers You Already Have at Home

Need to defend your survival garden from pests, but don’t want to use harsh chemicals?

You’re in luck!

This guide reveals 20 natural pest killers you can make with everyday household ingredients.

Key Takeaways

  • Discover powerful pest deterrents in your kitchen and garden
  • Learn how to whip up homemade organic pesticides that actually work
  • Deploy natural remedies to safeguard your vital survival crops without poisoning the environment

By the end of this article on natural pest killers for your survival garden, you’ll have a full arsenal of effective, all-natural pest control methods to keep those hungry bugs at bay.

Kitchen Spices and Herbs

Many common cooking spices and herbs possess natural compounds that repel or kill garden pests. These versatile ingredients can be used to make potent pest sprays, powders, and traps.

Garlic, Onions, Chili Peppers

These pungent alliums and peppers contain sulfur compounds and capsaicin that deter insects through their strong odors and irritating effects. Try these methods:

  • Garlic Spray: Blend garlic cloves with water and a few drops of liquid soap. Strain and spray on plants.
  • Chili Powder Dust: Dust chili powder onto plant leaves and soil to repel pests.
  • Onion Trap: Bury a few onion halves around plants – insects will be attracted to the scent but won’t stick around.
IngredientPrimary Pests Repelled
GarlicAphids, Japanese beetles, carrot flies
OnionsAphids, slugs, rabbits
Chili PeppersAnts, cutworms, rodents

Peppermint, Rosemary, Basil

The potent essential oils in these herbs act as natural insecticides and repellents. Use them in sprays, sachets, or as companion plants.

  • Peppermint Spray: Steep peppermint leaves in water and spray on plants to deter ants, spiders, mice, and moths.
  • Rosemary Sachets: Hang muslin bags filled with dried rosemary around the garden to repel cabbage moths and beetles.
  • Basil Companion Plants: Interplant basil with tomatoes and peppers to control flies, thrips, and mosquitoes.
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Bay Leaves and Cinnamon

These warm, earthy spices contain compounds like eugenol and cineole that are toxic to many insects.

  • Bay Leaf Powder: Grind dried bay leaves into a fine powder and dust onto plants to fight aphids, thrips, and mites.
  • Cinnamon Barrier: Encircle plants with a ring of cinnamon to repel ants, slugs, and other crawling pests.

Pantry Staples

You don’t need fancy ingredients – many basic pantry items can be transformed into surprisingly effective natural pesticides. Check out these gardening hacks using household goods:


The acetic acid in vinegar can burn insect pests while leaving plants unharmed. Use it in these ways:

  • Vinegar Spray: Mix equal parts vinegar and water, plus a few drops of dish soap. Spray directly on pests.
  • Vinegar Traps: Set out shallow dishes of vinegar to attract and drown fruit flies.
  • Ant Barrier: Pour vinegar around anthills and insect entry points to disrupt scent trails.

Baking Soda

This mild abrasive has desiccating properties that can dehydrate and kill soft-bodied pests.

  • Baking Soda Spray: Mix 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp oil with 1 qt water. Spray to fight fungi, mites, and aphids.
  • Baking Soda Barrier: Sprinkle baking soda around plants to deter slugs, snails, and ants.

Oils – Neem, Vegetable, Essential

Certain oils smother pests or contain naturally occurring pesticidal compounds.

  • Neem Oil Spray: Mix neem oil and soap in water to make an all-purpose bug repellent spray.
  • Vegetable Oil Traps: Coat yellow dishes with vegetable oil to trap whiteflies and aphids.
  • Tea Tree Oil Insecticide: Add a few drops of tea tree oil to soapy water for a potent bug killer.
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Oil TypePrimary Uses
NeemGeneral pest repellent and anti-fungal
VegetableTrap and smother soft-bodied pests
Tea TreeKills mites, thrips, and other insects

Garden Ingredients

Some of the most powerful pest defenses can be found growing right in your backyard. Harness the built-in protective powers of these plants:

Tomato Leaves

Tomato leaves and stems contain alkaloid compounds that are toxic to aspiring pests.

  • Tomato Leaf Spray: Soak tomato trimmings in water, then strain and spray onto infested plants.
  • Tomato Leaf Mulch: Spread chopped tomato leaves around plants as a natural pest barrier.


These bright annuals release a natural insecticide called pyrethrum that deters many common garden bugs.

  • Marigold Spray: Steep marigold flowers in water and use as a foliar spray against nematodes, mosquitoes, and more.
  • Marigold Companion Plants: Interplant marigolds with vegetable crops to repel aphids, whiteflies, and rabbits.

Stinging Nettle and Rhubarb

Both plants produce compounds that inhibit fungal diseases and insect infestations when brewed into teas.

  • Nettle Tea Fungicide: Steep nettle leaves in water and spray on plants prone to blight, mildew, and rust.
  • Rhubarb Leaf Insecticide: Boil rhubarb leaves, strain, and spray onto plants to eliminate aphids and lace bugs.

Bug-Repelling Brews

Whip up these all-natural pest sprays and keep them on hand to tackle infestations at the first sign of trouble. For seed starting tips, check out this guide.

Garlic Pepper Tea

This double-whammy brew combines the pest-fighting powers of garlic and pepper.

  • Ingredients: 1 bulb garlic, 1 tbsp pepper, 1 qt water
  • Directions: Simmer ingredients for 30 mins, strain, and spray plants thoroughly.
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Chili Pepper Spray

The capsaicin in hot peppers makes a highly effective, long-lasting bug deterrent spray.

  • Ingredients: 1 cup chopped hot peppers, 1 tbsp soap, 1 gallon water
  • Directions: Steep peppers in water for 24 hrs, strain, add soap, and spray.

Neem Oil Soap Spray

Neem oil disrupts insect growth cycles, while soap helps it stick to plant surfaces.

  • Ingredients: 2 tbsp neem oil, 1 tsp liquid soap, 1 gallon water
  • Directions: Mix ingredients thoroughly and spray plants top and bottom.

Application and Safety Tips

  • Apply natural remedies in the evening when bees are less active.
  • Reapply after rain or new growth flushes.
  • Perform spot tests first to check for plant sensitivity.
  • Wear gloves and eye protection when mixing sprays.
  • Store unused portions in airtight containers.

When to Use Which Method

Different pests respond better to certain types of remedies. Use this guide:

  • Soft-Bodied Pests (Aphids, Mites, etc): Oil sprays, baking soda
  • Burrowing/Crawling Insects: Powder dusts, oil/vinegar barriers
  • Flying Pests: Herb sachets, traps
  • Fungal Diseases: Herb and plant-based sprays/teas
  • General Prevention: Companion planting, plants that repel pests


A well-stocked survival garden is vital, but so is protecting it from pests naturally. With this guide, you now wield an array of 20 potent yet environmentally-friendly pest killers using ingredients you already have at home.

From spicy chili sprays to odor-based deterrents and smothering oils, these homemade remedies allow you to safeguard your crops without harsh chemicals. Deploy them strategically based on the types of pests threatening your plants.

Always remember – this seasoned survivor made it through 20 tough years by respecting nature’s balance. Integrate these organic pest control methods into your management, and you’ll be harvesting bountiful, untainted yields for decades to come. Now get out there and show those bugs who’s boss!

More Gardening Resources

For more prepping and survival gardening tips, check out these helpful guides:

Stay prepared by growing your own food using natural, sustainable methods!

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