Is Garlic A Good Pesticide? Does It Really Work?

organic pesticide

So many people over the time have asked me: Garlic against bugs? Does it really work? My answer is always: Absolutely!

Garlic (Allium Sativum) is a species of the onion genus. It is the perfect natural repellent. With its fungicidal and pesticidal properties, garlic is a gardener’s powerful tool for keeping pests off plants. This is due to numerous organic sulfur compounds that are toxic to pests and have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Garlic is known especially as a condiment. It has numerous properties both in the scientific and therapeutic fields and is used a lot in the field of gardening. It has very ancient origins and today is cultivated almost everywhere on the planet. What makes garlic unique is its characteristic smell.

In this article, I will tell you all you need to know about this special plant.

What bugs does garlic repel?

Garlic works best specifically against these bugs:

  • Aphids
  • Ants
  • Stink bugs
  • Cabbage bugs
  • Termites
  • White flies
  • Caterpillars
  • Slugs
  • Borers

Garlic has proven itself to be very efficient as a deterrent for other pests such as moles and voles. I will explain on the subject further on.

How to make your homemade garlic spray: (Known also as “Garlic Water”)

In my previous post, I wrote an article about pesticide plants, and garlic was among them. You can read it here, if you want to know more about other efficient botanicals.
Here is how you can make your homemade garlic spray:

  • 1 clove of fresh garlic
  • 1 medium size onion
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid Castile soap.
  • Add 1 quart of water.

Warm water in a pot until it begins to steam. Add the garlic, the onion, and hot peppers and maintain at a low temperature for 20 minutes. Remove from the stove and let it sit for a couple of hours. Remove the garlic, the onion, and the peppers and strain the mixture into a spray bottle, adding the dish soap. You can keep it in the refrigerator for a week. When stored for a longer time, it loses its efficacy. Spray the plant parts once a week to give protection against pests. In case of rain, you need to spray twice a week. The dish soap dissolves soft-bodied pests such as aphids and whiteflies. For best results, use this as a prevention and spray it on the plants before the arrival of pests.

CAUTION: Not all plants react to garlic spray in the same way, therefore it’s important to check beforehand if spraying the plant could damage it. Try testing the spray on a small part of the plant. If there are no signs of leaf damage after a day, then it is safe to use it. If the leaf becomes yellow or damaged, try to dilute the mixture with water and redo the test.

When using garlic as a botanical (botanical pesticide) you need to do it with caution since it has a wide spectrum of efficacy and could kill the good and the bad bugs indiscriminately. Spray plants early in the morning or in the evening, after the hottest part of the day, have passed, since the sunlight may burn the treated leaves. If you spray close to harvest time your vegetables will taste garlicky. Don’t forget to wear gloves and try not to touch your face when handling this solution. Keep out of reach of children!

How to make your Garlic deterrent for Moles and Voles:

Moles are solitary creatures that can cause significant damage to your garden and crops. They are constantly looking for roots to nibble on. In this regard, they dig tunnels under our dear vegetables leaving us only a small pile of soil, as a sad testimony of their presence. We can combat mole, voles, and gophers by using garlic in three natural, non-toxic ways:

1. Once you spot their tunnels place some whole or crushed garlic directly inside. Their sensitive nose will smell the strong odor of garlic and this will force them to abandon the area.
2. To prevent the arrival of moles, voles and gophers plant garlic as companion plants. You should be able to protect your garden if you surround your favorite plants with garlic plants.
3. You can prepare some “garlic water” and pour the solution directly on the soil, around your garden plants. Re-apply to the soil once every two weeks as the heavy garlic smell dissipates quickly. The plant roots will absorb the solution fairly quickly and this will repel pests such as Japanese beetles, carrot flies, and root maggots. Moles will do anything to avoid digging where the soil has been treated with garlic water. In addition to that, don’t forget to keep your soil healthy by using plenty of organic matter, allowing adequate drainage. Clean your garden from weeds. Garlic water can be used on vegetables or on flowering plants.

Can I use Garlic Essential Oil as a pesticide?

Not everyone feels comfortable handling fresh garlic, and perhaps you find it more convenient to purchase it. The alternative to fresh garlic is Garlic Essential Oil.
You are probably asking yourself if this oil is as a powerful pesticide as the fresh one? Garlic Essential Oil is the product of a heating process during hydro-distillation, which brings the element of Allicin to decompose. Due to the lack of Allicin in its chemical composition, garlic essential oil has been neglected by scientists for a long time. However recent studies revealed a very wide spectrum of beneficial properties such as antibacterial, antioxidant and anti fungal. Studies show that Garlic Oil (especially if mixed with Diatomaceous Earth )is very powerful against these bugs:

  • Cockroaches (and their eggs)
  • Japanese termite
  • Red Flour Beetles

How can we use garlic as another way of pest control?

Another way of using garlic for pest control is to intercrop with it, which means planting garlic among other crops. The following are the plants which benefit the most from this method of mixed cropping:

  • Tomatoes (it prevents red spider mites)
  • Apple tree and peach trees (it repels fruit borers)
  • Cabbages (it prevents infestations by the diamond back moth)
  • Roses, (it repels aphids)

Do not plant garlic close to peas, potatoes, and legumes since it doesn’t seem to have a beneficial effect close to these crops.

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Anat Goldberg

Hi! My name is Anat and I have lived all my life in the countryside. I grew on a farm in Northern Italy and from an early age, I took care of the animals on the farm and the family garden. Over the years I have developed a growing passion for organic cultivation and pest control.

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