Natural Pest Control Traps You Can Use for Your Garden

 In Garden Tips

In your quest to keep unwanted pests out of your garden, you’ve probably researched your fair share of options. You can purchase a chemical pesticide, but as an eco-friendly gardener, you’re probably staying away from toxic compounds. In fact, natural pest control is the way to go.

After having a landscape architect like myself build a beautiful backyard oasis, the last thing you want is unwanted pests and critters. 

That’s where the use of natural traps comes in handy. They’re effective at capturing those pesky bugs and critters without harming your garden, and they’re easy to install. 

This post highlight ten natural traps you can add to your natural pest control arsenal. 

Sustainable Gardening Practices for Insect Control

Construction workers know that you can’t use a hammer for every job because not every job requires nails. The same is said about pest control. With over 900,000 known insect species globally, you can bet that not all of them act the same. 

Luckily, there are traps for all sorts of troublesome insects, including methods of creating your cayenne pepper repellent spray to get insects away. This is just one trick that can keep away the following:

  • Ants
  • Bees/Wasps
  • Roaches
  • Aphids
  • Mosquitoes

Once you identify the pests attacking your garden, you can quickly seek the appropriate trap to catch the critter you want gone. 

Insect-Specific Barriers & Repellants

Barriers differ from traps a bit. Rather than “killing” off pests, their purpose is to prevent them from entering your garden in the first place. 

Barriers may take various forms, including liquid repellants, tape, or even things like steel wool to plug holes. 

In the case of repellents, you must look for two things: 

  1. A natural solution that doesn’t contaminate your soil 
  2. A solution proven to kill or repel the insects that are infesting your garden. For the latter, you find out a repellent’s target species by reading the label.

Diatomaceous Earth in Landscape Architecture

Diatomaceous earth for knoxville gardening

Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring type of sedimentary rock and typically assumes a fine white powder form. It contains fossilized remains of diatoms (hence its name) and protists – a collection of usually single-celled organisms. 

It is a swiss army knife in powder form – it has various uses ranging from medicinal to mechanical applications and pest control. You can use diatomaceous earth for virtually all types of insects due to their exoskeletons’ effects (the hard shell they possess). 

The only caveat with this potent powder is that you should not inhale it. Although it’s not toxic in itself, it contains a high concentration of silicates, which, when inhaled, can lead to scarring of the lungs and silicosis. So, as you’re no doubt familiar with masks by now, were one if using this or better yet, a respirator.


Although the name is fancy, the compounds are pretty simple: biopesticides are essentially bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa in pest control form – microbial pesticides. These organisms target insects and kill them off without harming humans, wildlife, pets, or the environment. 

There are other types of biopesticides such as bio-derived chemicals (essential oils), plant-incorporated protectants (which are controversial) and RNAi pesticides. 

For insect control, however, stick to the microbial pesticides. They’re natural, safe and cost-effective. 

Botanical Insecticides

Apart from biopesticides, nature has provided us with another source of environmentally-friendly pest killers – botanical insecticides. This is just a fancy name for toxins extracted directly from plants. These compounds break down faster than synthetic compounds and cause significantly less damage to the environment. They include the likes of neem oil and linalool, among others, and effectively kill a vast range of troublesome insects. 

As a disclaimer, it’s important to remember that botanical insecticides are not entirely harmless. Ingestion of these compounds can cause serious side effects, so it’s essential to keep them away from pets and children.

Glue/Sticky Traps for Pest Problems

insect glue trap in Knoxville

If you’re dealing with less “disgusting” critters that are generally easier to deal with, then you can resort to your good old-fashioned sticky traps. 

For example, you can easily catch flies and mites with sticky traps since they’re tiny and unable to escape the glue that coats these devices. 

These coatings are often aromatic, making them more irresistible to unsuspecting insects. The benefit of sticky traps is that they’re inexpensive and easy to place.

However, keep in mind that these traps may also attract beneficial insects. So do some research and, as with all insecticides and traps, read the label.

UV Lamps/Lighting 

I love good outdoor lighting. You can set up lighting to create ambiance and comfort in your outdoor space. 

However, light traps (ILTs) have been around for over a century, and for a good reason – they work! Insects are suckers for light and will fly towards a lamp – something you’ve likely seen before on a warm summer night.

Positioning of an ILT is paramount. You shouldn’t place a UV light where you sit, such as near a patio or porch, because you will get swarmed by insects who are attracted to the light. Instead, you should position the light away from you so the insects can be drawn to it without invading your space. 

Sometimes, these flying critters can be attracted to standing water, such as in a rain barrel or a part of your rain garden. UV lamps can be one way to zap these pests away.

DIY Traps

When it comes to traps, there are some rules: 

  1. Make sure your trap is safe
  2. Make sure it works.

With that said, there are plenty of inventive DIY natural pest control methods we’ve seen out there, and you can find them all over the web to create a spray bottle to keep these pests away from your native plants. Some good places to look are Pinterest and YouTube

Of course, if you see another DIY trap that looks safe, effective, and practical, don’t hesitate to use it either. 

Ecological Landscape Design in Knoxville

The beauty of using traps and barriers as natural pest control agents is that they require little setup and maintenance. Using a trap is usually as simple as taking out the box and placing it in a strategic location so that you can kill or repel unwanted critters. That gives you the freedom to sit back and relax in your garden without the irritation of unwanted six-legged visitors.

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