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14 Nice Things to Do to Keep Pests Away

Be prepared to stop pests early this spring—before they become a problem. Check out these 14 nice ways to deter pests in and around your home.

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cage over vegetable plantPeter Turner Photography/shutterstock

Wire Cloches

A cloche is a bell-shape covering that you can put over a plant you want to protect. Wire versions are common, affordable and easy to find. Simply place them over growing plants, and animals will have a hard time reaching those delicate leaves. It’s an excellent solution if you have one or two particularly vulnerable plants in your garden or planters that require protection. If you have some chicken wire laying around, you can make your own rough tube cloches, but they won’t be nearly as aesthetically pleasing or easy to salvage afterward, so there is a trade off to making them yourself.

The problem comes when you have many plants in the same area that need to be protected. If your plants are in a row, then using one long, low loop of chicken wire to cover them all is an elegant solution. If not, you may need to investigate other options.

Photo: Courtesy of Peter Turner Photography/Shutterstock

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citronella plant and oilrawf8/shutterstock

Scent Repellents

Scent repellents are a very common humane pest control option for outdoor problems, especially if you don’t want to install any physical barriers. But scent repellents are not always effective. When contemplating these DIY mixtures, pick those that keep your garden smelling nice (such as citronella) and won’t damage the leaves of your plants while experimenting.

Remember, there may be some hungry animals that simply won’t care what you spray on your plants. Store-bought pellets and predator urine may also prove effective, but it’s more of a trial-and-error process.

Photo: Courtesy of rawf8/Shutterstock

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fenced in vegetable garden Artazum/shutterstock

A Full Fence

If you have a large section reserved for your vegetable garden, a special flower bed or another area set aside, consider building a protective, permanent fence (including a gate) around the whole perimeter. A fence can prove an effective solution for larger animals like deer and raccoons. However, hungry deer will try to jump a low fence, so it needs to be at least 5 ft. high for adequate protection. And be sure to read the fencing label as to the size of animals it deters.

Photo: Courtesy of  Artazum/Shutterstock

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bird seed for pest controlAlexander Mogilevets/shutterstock

Alternative Food Sources

For the kinder homeowners, there’s another humane pest control option that could save your garden: Provide other food sources. If you set up bird feeders (which nearly every animal in your yard will be drawn to) at the opposite end of your home, you could attract animals to that side and make sure that’s where they head in search of food, leaving your plants alone. This works best with smaller animals and requires a constant supply of food, but it isn’t always dependable. Wild animals have an instinct to forage and explore, which means they will often end up in your garden anyway.

Photo: Courtesy of Alexander Mogilevets/Shutterstock

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squirrel on garden fenceMatt Browne/Shutterstock


You may already have experience using baffles, the cone- or cylinder-shape objects that attach to posts or poles to keep squirrels from climbing up to bird feeders or into fenced gardens. If you have planters on or near posts or poles, baffles are a great option for deterring squirrels and preserving your plants.

Check out a squirrel-proof bird feeder that’s easy to fill and a great addition to your backyard.

Photo: Courtesy of Matt Browne/Shutterstock

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green ferns for pest controlDory F/shutterstock

Planting for Pests

Some people choose to plant species that animals just don’t like. Many herbs like mint and lavender taste bad to some animals. Same with cistus, echium and other furry-leaved species. Ferns, irises, daffodils and lilies famously enjoy immunity from the appetites of many larger creatures as well. Take care and do plenty of research with this method, though, as some plants may be safe from one animal but not others.

Find out other preventative measures you can take from letting bugs get into your house.

Photo: Courtesy of Dory F/Shutterstock
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Coffee GroundsNor Gal/Shutterstock

Coffee Grounds

Those coffee grounds are good for more than just a cup of coffee. Try using your leftover coffee grounds in spots around the outside of your home where you think pests are coming in. Many critters can't stand the smell of the grounds and will steer clear. You can also use coffee grounds to critter-proof your garden.
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BananaRein Jongelie/Shutterstock


Are aphids taking over your garden? Just place a banana peel under the soil near the stems of your plants. This will not only deter the bugs, but it will add some nutrients to the soil. Try these tips for getting rid of garden weeds.
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Apple Cider Vinegarfocal point/Shutterstock

Apple Cider Vinegar

If those pesky fruit flies are invading your kitchen, grab a small bowl and pour in a little apple cider vinegar. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and punch a couple pencil-lead-sized holes in the plastic. The fruit flies will be attracted to the vinegar and they can get in but not out. Vinegar can also be used to make a natural cleaner.
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CornmealMoving Moment/Shutterstock


Seeing ants? Place small piles of cornmeal down wherever you see ants. Ants like to eat the cornmeal and they will take it back to their colony but they can't digest it. It may take a few days to work, but if you have pets, it's a non-toxic solution. Learn 17 pet care and safety tips.
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White Vinegarfocal point/Shutterstock

White Vinegar

Ants leave a trail which makes it easier for other ants from the colony to find their way to food. To wash away the trail, use a solution made from 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2 cups water and 10 drops of peppermint or eucalyptus oil. Some oils can also be used to clean furniture and fight odors.
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Essential OilsLiliGraphie/Shutterstock

Essential Oils

Make your own dust mite repellent spray with essential oils. Mix eucalyptus, lavender, clove or peppermint oil with water in a spray bottle. Use it to mist furniture and linens and allow the spray to air dry. Follow these tips to clean your rugs and rid them of dust mites.
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Sweet basil not only works great in recipes, but it also wards off flies, making it one of the best patio plants. Just plant a pot of sweet basil and place in a sunny spot next to a frequently used door. There are many edible plants you can grow in pots and containers if you have a small space.
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OnionNUM LPPHOTO/Shutterstock


It may be an old wives' tale, but it works. To keep spiders away, slice up some onions and toss them in a bowl of water. Place the bowl where spiders enter your home and they'll stay away. Prevent other pests from getting in your home this fall with these tips.