Do It Yourself Pest Control: Make Your Yard Pest-Free

Outdoor living space with eucalyptus patio furniture

Your yard, garden, and patio are areas of pride, joy, and relaxation. However, they can be ruined by unwanted guests. Bugs and pests live outdoors so they kind of come with the territory, but you don’t have to let them take over your little oasis. Pest control for the outdoors is often necessary so you can enjoy your own yard. But it doesn’t have to be an expense that requires a professional. With the right tools and methods, do it yourself pest control is a great option, and you can take your backyard back from bugs and pests.

Make Pests Move Out of Your Yard

Deer in a yard.

Can you ever truly banish pests from your yard? Probably not, but you can make it less appealing and less inhabitable to them. The first thing to do in fighting a pest invasion in your backyard is to truly understand what you are dealing with. Improvements can help you figure out what pests you have and how to get rid of them.


What is Eating Your Lawn/Garden?

Waking up to a critter feasting on your garden or holes dug throughout your yard is a real bummer. Your first instinct might be to grab the closest pesticide and kill any and everything that comes into contact with the plants. However, that is often not necessary or the best option. Many bugs are actually beneficial to your yard and garden, and you don’t want to kill off the wrong insects. Figure out what pest is causing the mess, and then use do it yourself pest control methods that only eradicate the offending pest.

The leaves of plants are a telltale sign. Jagged edges that indicate the plant was ripped rather than chewed through means deer have been paying you a visit. If you notice leaves completely gone and stems bitten off cleanly at a 45-degree angle, then rabbits are your guilty party. Bugs can cause a wide range of damage, including holes in leaves, discolored leaves, rolled or folded leaves, chewed edges on leaves, white or slimy trails on leaves, and more.

The surface of your lawn is another indicator. If clover is growing, you will likely attract rabbits and insects. If you happen to notice pulled up lawn or scoured sections of lawn in the morning, you could have grubs. Skunks and raccoons will dig them out overnight leaving a turned up lawn for you to find in the morning. Moles leave mounds of dirt and voles leave trails through the yard. Discolored or dead patches of grass indicate a pest beneath the surface, which could indicate mole crickets, chinch bugs, cutworms or armyworms. To find out what is living below the surface, conduct a soapy water test. Pour a bucket of soapy water (lemon scents work best) onto the dead patch. Observe closely to see what insects/pests pop up to avoid suffocation from the soap.


Banish Bugs From Your Yard

Bug on a leaf.

Store-bought insect repellents and insecticides work great to combat bugs in your yard and garden. Be sure to read the labels thoroughly and follow the instructions exactly. Treat your whole yard as often as necessary. Thoroughly cover the entire yard and do so in one session. If you don’t, bugs will just migrate back and forth.However, often, insecticides can be toxic to other animals, pets, humans, and even the plants themselves, so choose wisely. Also, they can wipe out all bugs, and some insects are highly beneficial to your lawn and you want them to stay around.

Coffee grounds are a great natural method of outdoor pest control. They kill ants, and most bugs don’t like the strong odor. Sprinkle used grounds into your garden, around your flower beds or throughout your yard. Pay extra attention to areas from which you think bugs are emerging.

Use row covers or plant protection in your garden if you are experiencing bug problems. They offer great protection against pests and frost. They work to warm the soil, allowing air, light, and water to penetrate but keep insects out.

Maintaining a healthy lawn is the best defense against any bug infestation. Aerate, dethatch, fertilize, mow and water regularly to keep the soil healthy and to monitor any change in your lawn.

Put up a bat house. Bats eat bugs. So if you can attract them to your yard, they will help control the bug population. It’s nature’s best solution. Plus, bats are nocturnal so they won’t bother you too much!

Hang a bug zapper or light citronella candles. They are tried-and-true do it yourself pest control methods.

Create a bug barrier with cedar mulch. Most insects dislike the scent of cedar and will not cross your lawn. They will choose your neighbor’s lawn without the cedar mulch instead!


Get Rid of Rascally Rabbits and Other Pesky Varmints

Garden shed near trees and bushes.

Bugs aren’t the only pests that can ruin a lush, green lawn. Rabbits, deer, moles, voles, skunks, raccoons and other varmint are often to blame for yard damage. Again, there is really no surefire way to ensure animals never get in your yard, but you can deter them by making your yard unappealing. Use a few of these do it yourself pest control methods to deal with wild animals.

Keep your yard tidy. Ensure garbage can lids fit tightly, or store them in a shed or garage. If you have a bird feeder, clean up the ground below it. Seeds and other easily accessible food will attract animals. If you have fruit trees, pick up anything that falls to the ground. Thoroughly clean your grill and the ground around it for traces of food or grease. Any food scent left behind will attract unwanted guests.

Don’t offer good places to live. Raccoons, skunks, squirrels and feral cats all like cozy places to live. Sheds, open garages, under decks and trees are great homes for these animals. Close up any openings to sheds, garages, attics and block off under your deck to prevent cohabitants in your yard.

Banish bugs. If you follow the do it yourself pest control advice above about insects, then you should be less likely to have animals in your yard because insects are a popular food source. For instance, keep your lawn free of grubs and skunks won’t bother with your yard.

Put up barriers to keep animals out. Fencing will at least deter animals and make them think twice before entering your yard. However, they will find a way in if the incentive is large enough.

Use unappealing scents to keep animals at bay. Ammonia works great, especially if you find a nest. Place soaked rags around it to drive the animals out. It will also keep them from coming back. Hot pepper sauce and vinegar also works great for deterring animals. Skunks dislike the smell of mothballs and citrus fruits as well. Sprinkle blood meal around the yard and especially the garden to keep rabbits away. Castor oil poured onto the lawn is effective for moles and voles.

For more tips on preventing garden pests, check out this blog, How To Prevent Common Garden Pests. Or if you have a problem with moles, read How to Get Rid of Moles Using Home Remedies.


Do It Yourself Pest Control: Can You Protect Your Yard?

When it comes to bugs and critters in your yard and garden, there is no end-all, be-all solution to getting rid of them. After all, the great outdoors are their home. But with the above mentioned do it yourself pest control methods for the outdoors, you can protect your yard and garden against damage caused by the pests. So you can enjoy your yard in all of Mother Nature’s glory.


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Posted in DIY Projects, Home Gardening, Outdoor Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted by: Amandah Blackwell

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