How To Keep Insects and Animals From Eating Your Plants

Insects and animals are frequent garden visitors, albeit uninvited and unwanted. They have voracious appetites and will audaciously feast on your precious plants if given a chance. Luckily, you can keep them away from your garden by employing a few effective and safe strategies. 

To keep insects and animals from eating your plants, you can use organic or commercially available pesticides or provide physical protection to your crops, including beer traps. You can also use deterrents, such as predator urine, aluminum foil, and motion detectors.

In this article, I’ll walk you through a few different tactics you can use to keep all sorts of pests – big and small – from invading your garden and eating your plants. I’ll also be offering some tips on which insecticides are most effective and safe, how to provide physical protection for your plants, and other creative ideas to keep pests at bay, including using aluminum foil. Let’s get the ball rolling!

1. Use Organic Pesticides on Your Plants

Pesticides are substances used to repel, control, or kill insects, animals, and plants considered pests. Included under this broad category are:

  • Insecticides: Used for controlling, repelling, and killing various kinds of insects.
  • Herbicides: Used for destroying unwanted plants and weeds
  • Fungicides: Used to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew on plants. 
  • Disinfectants: Used for preventing the spread of plant diseases and bacteria. 
  • Compounds: Used to control the population of pests like mice. 

Correct application of pesticides on your plants is essential. Too much may prove harmful, while too little may not provide the level of protection your plants need. Pesticides, especially those containing chemicals, can expose your plants to many side effects and open up a new set of complications for your garden.

Here are some other reasons why pesticides should be applied carefully:

  • Beneficial insects, birds, and other animals might be harmed by improper and excessive use of pesticides. 
  • Excessive use of pesticides near bodies of water may contaminate the water supply. 
  • Crops, vegetables, and fruits might contain pesticide residue upon harvest. 
  • Excessive and frequent use of pesticides may help targeted pests develop immunity.

In this article, we will be talking about insecticides and fungicides. These are the pest control agents that gardeners have been turning to for help throughout the years in ensuring that their plants and gardens are protected from ravenous pests.

Insects and animals can devour plants, vegetables, and fruits within hours, especially when they attack in groups. A good pesticide will be a handy weapon in keeping pest populations down. 

These are the reasons why it is essential to keep insects and animals away from your plants:

  • Pests feed on plants. They can rob your plants of essential nutrients and the ability to properly photosynthesize by feeding on leaves, stems, and roots.
  • Pests could be carriers of diseases. They can carry diseases from one plant and pass these on to your plants when they feed or lay their eggs.
  • Pests injure plants. Insects and animals bore through or chew on plants’ leaves and stems, creating entry points for these diseases. 

A lot of gardeners these days are taking the natural and safer route when it comes to pest control. Surprisingly, there’s no shortage of natural ingredients that are readily available, inexpensive, and proven reliable in dealing with common garden pests. Organic pesticides are safer for plants and the environment and are proven very effective. 

Here are some of the most reliable natural pesticides to consider using for your garden:

Vinegar Spray 

Who would’ve thought common household items could double as effective plant insecticides? Gone are the days when gardeners relied on chemicals to keep pesky critters from eating their plants. These days, organic methods are highly favored because of their effectiveness and, most importantly, safety. 

Vinegar spray is one of the most common insecticides for plants. It is easy to make and simple to use. Plus, it is safe enough to use regularly on plants yet potent enough to eliminate garden pests. Moreover, vinegar spray does not leave residue or lingering odors in fruits and vegetables.

To make vinegar spray, all you have to do is mix 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water inside a spray bottle. Mix well, then spray on your plants’ leaves, stems, and soil. Vinegar works best when sprayed directly on pests since it can kill them on contact. 

Vinegar spray works best on these pests:

  • Spider mites
  • Mealybugs
  • Scales 
  • Aphids
  • Thrips 
  • Caterpillars
  • Pill bugs
  • Slugs

Garlic Spray 

Garlic is unquestionably a kitchen staple, but did you know that it should be a staple in your garden shed, too? Garlic is a potent pest repellent. It can repel various types of unwanted garden visitors, especially those that wreak havoc on plants. 

Here are some of the garden pests that garlic spray can repel:

  • Deer
  • Chipmunks
  • Squirrels
  • Rabbits
  • Caterpillars
  • Grasshoppers
  • Snails
  • Slugs
  • Pill bugs
  • Scale insects
  • Thrips
  • Aphids
  • Mealybugs
  • Spider Mites

Here is how to make a potent garlic spray reliable in keeping insects and animals from eating your plants:

  1. Peel 1 whole head of garlic.
  2. Throw the cloves into a food processor containing 235 ml (7.94 oz) of water. 
  3. Puree for about a minute or until the mixture has an even consistency. 
  4. Add 30 ml (1.01 oz) of liquid dishwashing soap.
  5. Pour in 700 ml (23.66 oz) of water. 
  6. Blend again for about half a minute. 
  7. Transfer the mixture into a resealable jar. 
  8. Cover the jar and leave the mixture overnight to allow the garlic to further infuse into the mixture. 
  9. Strain the mixture into a spray bottle, making sure that no solid components fall into the bottle. 
  10. Spray all over your plants, ensuring that the garlic-infused mixture coats the stems and leaves evenly. 

It is best to apply garlic spray in the early afternoons or evenings so that the potent mixture will not be exposed to direct sunlight. Otherwise, it may cause burns on your plants’ leaves. Apply garlic spray weekly as a deterrent.

If you’re in the middle of a pest infestation, garlic spray is safe to use every 3-4 days. Take a mental note to reapply after every rainfall and watering since the garlic mixture can easily be washed away.

Insecticidal Soap Spray

Insecticidal soap works by disintegrating the waxy protective covering of most insects, thus making them vulnerable to dehydration. Some soaps also have properties that may affect an insect’s nervous system, causing loss of movement and sensory functions and eventually leading to death. 

Here is how to make an insecticidal soap spray:

  1. Pour 1 gallon (4.54 L) of water into a resealable jar.
  2. Add 30 ml (1.01 oz) of Castile soap. 
  3. Mix until the soap is well distributed. 
  4. Pour the amount you need into a spray bottle.

Spray this insecticidal soap solution all over your plants, especially on the undersides of leaves, weekly. If there’s an ongoing infestation, it is safe to spray this solution every 2-3 days for 2 weeks or until you no longer see pests on your plants. It is best to use insecticidal soap spray in the early morning when the sun isn’t intense yet so that the solution doesn’t dry up quickly in the heat. 

Neem Oil

Neem oil is reliable in controlling pests in the garden because it can exterminate insects by disrupting their ability to feed and even keep them from laying eggs. This handy pest control ally can keep pesky insects away from your garden but can be harmless to beneficial insects like ladybugs and butterflies. Neem oil has also been found capable of controlling fungal diseases, mildew, and rust.

Here is a simple way to make neem oil solution:

  1. Pour a gallon (4.54 L) of water into a resealable jar. 
  2. Add ⅓ cup of pure organic neem oil. 
  3. Add 1/16th of a teaspoon of Castile soap. This will help in combining the 2 liquids.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Pour the amount you need into a spray bottle. 
  6. Spray all over your plants. Remember to give the bottle a good shake before spraying. 

To avoid leaf burn, spray neem oil solution in the early evening or late afternoon. Apply weekly whenever you see pests around your plants. For maintenance, neem oil can be applied in lesser frequencies, preferably every 2 weeks or so, to keep pests at bay.

Cayenne Pepper Spray

Cayenne pepper spray is proven reliable in deterring different insects and animals from plants. Aphids, mealy bugs, and thrips practically die as soon as they get into contact with cayenne pepper. Larger animals like rabbits, deer, and squirrels scamper away at the slightest whiff of cayenne pepper’s spicy aroma. 

Blame it on capsaicin, a potent substance found in peppers that essentially gives them that classic burning sensation we enjoy (or abhor) when consuming peppers.

Insects and animals will get their turn reveling in that burning sensation if they insist on eating plants sprayed with cayenne pepper spray. Spritzing cayenne pepper solution all over your plants is safe and won’t harm even the daintiest leaves. 

Here is how to make cayenne pepper spray:

  1. Chop 4-5 pieces of medium-sized cayenne peppers. 
  2. Place the finely-chopped peppers in a resealable glass container.
  3. Add 1 ½ cups of hot water.
  4. Add ½ cup of white vinegar. 
  5. Give the mixture a good swirl.
  6. Seal the container and let it sit for 4 days. 
  7. Strain the mixture into a spray bottle to eliminate the solid particles. 
  8. Add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. 
  9. Add 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. 
  10. Shake the spray bottle until all the elements are mixed well. 

Spritz cayenne pepper spray all over your plants and even on the soil. Pay extra attention to the undersides of leaves because lots of tiny insects love hiding there. Use cayenne pepper spray once a week to keep various insects and animals from feasting on your plants. 

2. Invest in Commercially Available Pesticides

Insects can feast on plants with such energy and gusto, sometimes leaving gardens almost completely decimated and crops utterly unusable. They also keep gardeners on their toes because they are surprisingly difficult to spot. By the time their presence is detected, they probably have already caused considerable damage. 

Here are a few ways in which commercially available pesticides can help keep insects from invading your plants:

Granular Insecticides 

Granular insecticides are your best bet if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of making and storing your own liquid insecticides. This is also a great option for areas where it frequently rains since granular insecticides aren’t washed away by water. Essentially, granular insecticides are liquid insecticides in a solid form that offer long-lasting effects in dealing with pests. 

All you have to do with this type of insecticide is to spread it uniformly across the target areas in your garden. This method is best done prior to planting anything in the soil. Apply granular insecticides at least 6 weeks before planting. Ensure the treatment is fully absorbed into the top 6 inches (15 cm) of the soil. 

Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) comes in a powder form that is made up of about 80-90% silica (yes, those little beads we find in bags that absorb excess moisture in a given space). DE works as an insecticide by dehydrating insects, essentially killing them gradually. This powdery substance is scattered on the ground to eliminate pests. DE is not harmful to plants because, despite its dehydrating effects, it allows water to seep into the soil and through the plants’ roots. 

Now that you know a bit more about these commercially available solutions, let’s take a look at the invaders they’re supposed to fight off. Insects can be divided into 3 categories

Chewing Insects

Chewing insects are probably the most obviously destructive pests. They chomp on leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits. They cause such significant and extensive damage that some plants are almost entirely defoliated, especially if the pest problem isn’t addressed swiftly. 

Most of these insects also lay their eggs on their host plants. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the plants, too. A total pest infestation may leave a plant helpless and defenseless against these ravenous insects. 

Chewing insects include:


These pesky crawlers come in various colors, from green to brown, gray, and sometimes even pink. There is much debate about the proper way of dealing with them because they grow up to be butterflies, one of the most beneficial insects in nature. 


These light green insects with long hind legs are known for being able to obliterate a garden, especially when they attack in swarms. They eat the leaves and stems of plants. They leave irregular holes in leaves and can quickly hop from one plant to the next.


There are many types of beetles, and some of them can devastate your garden by eating your plants and infecting them with diseases. Flea beetles, for instance, are carriers of bacteria and viruses that can quickly make a plant wilt and die. Japanese beetles can swiftly decimate plants, leaving them with just the skeletons on their leaves. 

However, some beetles are beneficial for gardens. Gardeners exert extra effort in keeping these beetles safe and sometimes even breed them to help get rid of pests. For instance, ladybugs feast on common pests like aphids, thrips, and scale insects. Soldier beetles eat the eggs and larvae of other insects. 

Slugs and Snails 

Snails and slugs eat practically anything from leaves, flowers, fruits, and even decaying material on the soil. They leave large irregular holes on leaves and slimy trails on stems. Snails and slugs are most active at night and spend most of the day hiding in shadowy corners from the glaring heat of the sun. 

If you would like to explore the damages that slugs do to plants, check out my article: What Damage Do Slugs Do to Plants?

Fruit Worms

There are many types of fruit worms. You might see some that are brown, green, or red, while some have spots and stripes. They bore into fruits and gnaw on the juicy flesh, causing significant and irreparable damage. Half-eaten fruits always rot and become completely unusable.

Harlequin Bugs

Harlequin bugs may look pretty sitting among the leaves in your garden with their reddish-orange spots on their shiny black shells. However, these attractive-looking bugs can ruin your garden and your crops within just hours. Harlequin bugs can feast on entire heads of lettuce or a bunch of cauliflowers in just one sitting. 

Sucking Insects

Sucking insects are drawn to a plant’s juiciest, most succulent parts. You will usually find them near leaf shoots, at the junctions where the leaves and the stems meet, underneath leaves, along stems, and in flowers and fruits. They suck sap from plants, devoiding them of much-needed energy and nutrients to thrive and survive. 

The sap is a fluid responsible for transporting vital nutrients and water throughout the different parts of a plant. This is also how the roots distribute water throughout the plant, especially to the leaves. Without an adequate amount of sap in its system, a plant may start to wilt and eventually die. 

Make it a habit to check your plants’ stems and leaves – particularly the undersides – for signs of an insect infestation. Check the soil, too, by regularly tilling it. Adult insects are pretty easy to spot, but keep an eye out for eggs and larvae. Then, act fast before the problem escalates.

Here are some of the tell-tale signs that sucking insects may be feasting on your plants:

  • Yellowing leaves
  • Wilted leaves
  • Leaves dropping
  • Stunted growth
  • Aborted flowers
  • Deformed fruits
  • Catfacing injury (distorted shapes in fruits, typically with sunken areas and discoloration, resembling the face of a small cat)

Sucking insects include:


Aphids are pear-shaped, soft-bodied insects that some people refer to as plant lice. There are many types of aphids; you can tell them apart by their color. Some are black, gray, or green, while some may be red or yellow. Some types of aphids lay eggs, while some give birth to live young. They feed in hordes by sucking on a plant’s juices.


If you notice that your plants seem covered in white, cottony material, especially around the areas where the stems meet the leaves, you might be dealing with a mealybug infestation. 

These tiny insects may look cute and fluffy, but they can cause a plant to die within just a few days. They suck nutrients from plants, leaving them weak and vulnerable to wilting and even to viruses and bacteria. 


Thrips are tiny, slender insects that are usually yellowish-brown or pale yellow. They feed by puncturing the plant, scraping the surface, and then sucking the sap. They leave white blotches in their wake, which will eventually turn dark and spread all over the plant’s leaves and stems. 

Scale Insects

Scale insects are among the trickiest pests to get rid of, thanks to the protective shells that cover their bodies. They suck on nutritious sap, devoiding plants of the minerals and nutrients they need to thrive. Like many other pests, scale insects attack in hordes, so getting rid of them at the soonest possible time is essential in saving your plants. 

Stink Bugs

Stink bugs earned their name because they emit a strong, unpleasant odor when squished. You can quickly tell them apart from other bugs because they have a triangular-shaped shield on their backs. Their wings are thick and stiff. Stink bugs prefer sucking on buds, seeds, and small blossoms. 

Squash Bugs

Squash bugs are dark gray or brownish-gray bugs. They typically lay their bronze-colored eggs in clusters on the undersides of leaves.

When they suck out a plant’s sap, the leaves will quickly turn black and begin to crisp before they eventually die and fall off the plant. Plant stems will become enlarged and will eventually wilt and die. Squash bugs earned their name because they prefer squash. 


Whiteflies gained their name due to the fact that they have a white, waxy, powdery substance covering their bodies. Young whiteflies – called nymphs – are light green in color, oval-shaped, and flat. They excrete sticky honeydew when they feed.

This covers the plant’s leaves and stems, eventually leading to the formation of black sooty mold. This hinders photosynthesis and eventually leads to plant death. 

Spider Mites

Spider mites are tiny, almost microscopic insects that form webs on leaves under which they lay their eggs and feed.

They are characterized by 2 dark spots on their bodies, and they can be green, red, or yellow, depending on their classification. Spider mites pierce the leaf and then suck out the juices. Leaves react by slowly losing their colors, fading from green to yellow before wilting and finally falling off the plant.  

Soil Insects

Soil insects are typically found beneath the soil, feeding on a plant’s roots and tubers. They are generally found in uncultivated soil where grass and weeds have previously thrived. Soil insects can also be found in untreated ground used for potted plants or home gardens. 

Soil insects include:


Cutworms are actually the larvae of certain types of moths. They prefer the leaves and roots of young plants. They can practically cut off a plant from the soil by feasting on its roots from underground. Cutworms usually attack in the evenings, especially on humid, cloudy nights.

Cutworms come in various colors – some are gray or black, while others can be various shades of pink or green. They could be striped, or spotted, while some come in 1 solid color. Cutworms are usually curled up in spirals when they are at rest. 


Wireworms are hard-shelled insects, usually brown or grayish-black in color, with both ends of their elongated bodies tapered. They feed on seeds, roots, and other underground parts of the plant. They usually leave trails of small holes as they feed from plant to plant.

Fire Ants

Fire ants are usually larger than most ants and are reddish-brown in color. Their abdomens are generally darker than the rest of their bodies. When a whole colony decides to attack your garden, they will meticulously and strategically cut off bits and pieces from your plants, bring these back to their mounds, and keep coming back for more. 

Fire ants are also hazardous to your home and any structure built within your garden. They can destroy foundations, sheds, and trellises because of the extensive mounds they build underground. They are also dangerous for humans. Fire ants sting when provoked or threatened, leaving ugly red welts on human skin. Those who are highly sensitive to their bites may need medical attention. 

White Grubs

White grubs are brown beetles with abdomens that seem darker than the rest of their bodies. The dark parts are actually soil particles they have ingested and can be seen through their abdomen wall. They severely damage plants’ root systems, causing them to be utterly incapable of thriving. 

3. Provide Physical Protection for Your Plants

There are many types of pests that invade gardens. Animals such as deer and squirrels are among those that gardeners detest because they feed on plants and crops. They also have a habit of coming back for more, especially if your garden is unprotected. 

Here are some other animals that are usually considered pests in most gardens:

  • Chipmunks
  • Rabbits
  • Mice
  • Groundhogs
  • Skunks
  • Raccoons

Here are some ways of providing physical protection for your plants, particularly from larger predators:

Build a Polypropylene Barrier Fence

This tactic is not foolproof, but it is a great way to deter larger animals, such as deer, from eating your plants. Make sure your fence is at least 8 feet (2.4 m) high to make it pretty challenging for them to jump over. This works best for smaller gardens or if you have specific areas that you would like to protect since it can be pretty expensive to fence a huge yard.

Here are the materials needed to build your polypropylene barrier fence:

  • Steel fence posts
  • Polypropylene barrier fence
  • Sledgehammer
  • Zip ties
  • Landscape staples

Here is how to build a polypropylene barrier fence for your garden:

  1. Clear the area. Get rid of fallen branches, weeds, plants, or any debris lying near the areas you intend to build your fence on. Additionally, ensure the ground is flat because dips in the terrain will allow persistent animals to crawl under. 
  2. Mark the locations for the fence posts. Start at one corner where you intend the fence to be and work your way around the perimeter by marking the positions with stakes, flags, or rocks. It would be best to keep the spacing evenly at about 12 inches (30 cm) apart.
  3. Install the steel fence posts. Secure the fence posts into the ground at each marked location. Steel posts are hardy, and they can be driven straight into the ground with the help of a sledgehammer. 
  4. Attach the polypropylene barrier fence to the posts. Begin by gradually unrolling the mesh fence and attaching it to a corner post using about 6-8 zip ties per post. Ensure that the cut edges of the fence are at the bottom and that the fence goes on the outside of each post. 
  5. Make your way around all the posts. Ensure that the fence is snug – never tight – since you need it to absorb some pressure in case animals become too aggressive to get into your garden. 
  6. Secure your polypropylene barrier fence to the ground with landscape staples. Place the staples every 5 feet (1.5 m) or so to ensure that the fence is sturdy. This also prevents animals from crawling under the fence to get into your garden.

Practice Companion Planting 

Companion planting is an excellent way to keep your plants (which we will refer to as “target plants”) from being eaten by insects and animals. By grouping them with other types of plants, you may be able to draw attention away from them, hide them from these ravenous pests, or repel pests altogether. Companion planting is a safer pest control alternative, especially if you’d rather not use any form of pesticide on your fruits and vegetables. 

Here are some ways in which your plants can benefit from companion planting:

Plant Trap Plants

You can use other plants to draw attention away from your target plants. Trap plants generally attract more insects and animals to keep your target plants healthy and safe from being devoured. Once the pests are concentrated on the trap plants, you may then go ahead and exterminate or deal with them through any of your preferred pest control methods. 

Here are some examples of how to use trap plants:

Protecting Cauliflowers

You can plant marigolds, Chinese cabbages, and sunflowers around your cauliflowers to protect them from pests. Insects love these trap plants and will be attracted to them before even noticing the existence of your cauliflowers. Additionally, squirrels hate the scent of marigolds. Having them around your target plants will drive these furry pests away.

Protecting Roses

Planting geraniums among or around your rose bushes is a great way to keep pests, particularly Japanese beetles, away. Insects are generally more drawn to geraniums rather than roses. Geraniums are also toxic, so they can serve as effective pest control allies apart from being reliable trap plants. 

Protecting Vegetables

Planting chervils near your vegetable crops will help keep pests, particularly slugs, from eating your target plants. Chervils are related to parsleys, giving off a mild scent that attracts insects and animals. They will feast on the chervils before noticing your vegetable crops, giving you enough time to deal with them appropriately.

Plant Camouflage Plants

You can also use other plants to camouflage or visually block your target plants from pesky insects and animals. Camouflage plants hide target plants from pests, effectively keeping them safe and thriving. Camouflage is best for smaller plants since they are easier to mask and render almost inconspicuous to the prying eyes and heightened senses of insects and animals. 

Note that some camouflage plants only provide physical barriers to keep target plants safe. Some of them do not necessarily repel pests or have any pesticidal properties. For better results, it would be best to pair plant camouflaging with more aggressive pest control methods, such as insecticidal sprays. 

Here are some examples of how to use camouflage plants:

Protecting Lettuce

Keep your lettuce from being ravaged by pests with the help of dill. The upright growth pattern and bushiness of dill will effectively hide lettuce from rabbits, deer, and chipmunks. What’s good about dill is that it’s also an effective bug-repellent. Pests such as aphids, spider mites, and squash bugs hate the smell of dill. 

Protecting Blueberry Bushes

You can camouflage your blueberry bushes with sunflower plants. Sunflower plants can grow over 12 feet (3.6 m) high with flowers that can grow more than 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter. Planting these around your blueberry bushes will effectively shield them, especially from the sharp gaze of deer. 

Having sunflowers in your garden is also a great way to attract birds since they love feeding on sunflower seeds. Birds are excellent pest predators. You can count on them to keep certain pest populations down, such as caterpillars, slugs, and worms. Having them always flitting around in your garden will keep pests at bay.   

Protecting Vegetables

You can plant Bougainvillea around your vegetable patch to keep pesky animals and critters away. Bougainvillea can climb as high as 40 feet (12 m). Give them trellises to climb on and position them around your vegetables to create a barrier that keeps your crops safe, especially during harvest season. 

The Bougainvillea’s strong, spiky vines will be an effective deterrent against squirrels, deer, slugs, and other pests that typically ravage vegetable gardens. Their whimsical, vibrant blooms will also provide your garden with pops of color. 

Plant Repellent Plants

Plants that repel insects and animals are usually those that have pungent odors. These drive pests away simply because the scent is disagreeable or overwhelming. Planting repellent plants near your target plants is a natural and effective way of keeping destructive insects and animals at bay. 

Here are some examples of how to use repellent plants:

Protecting Broccoli

Planting spring onions around your broccoli repels insects. Caterpillars, snails, and pill bugs detest the strong smell. Chipmunks, rabbits, and deer find the scent overwhelming. These voracious pests won’t even consider going near your broccoli if a barrier of spring onions protects them. 

Protecting Tomatoes

Herbs such as basil, rosemary, and mint planted around your tomatoes will create a barrier that will keep pests away. Thrips, hornworms, and aphids, in particular, are repelled by the intense aromas and will leave your tomatoes alone. The essential oils extracted from these herbs can also be used as effective pest repellents. 

Protecting Cruciferous Vegetables

Petunias are surprisingly reliable in keeping your cruciferous vegetables safe from pests. They repel insects such as tomato hornworms, aphids, leafhoppers, and squash bugs, known for their capabilities of destroying crops within just a few hours, thanks to their voracious appetites. Petunias can also double as attractive border plants since they produce colorful, fragrant flowers.

Protecting Fruits

Planting garlic around your fruit-bearing plants will keep deer from dining on your produce. The uniquely pungent aroma of garlic stops deer in their tracks. To maximize garlic plants’ repellent abilities, regularly cut off the tops to release even more of a strong odor.

4. Place Fabric with Predator Urine Around Your Garden

Predator urine can be bought online or from your local gardening shops. Wolf urine, in particular, is effective in keeping animals like deer, chipmunks, and squirrels away because it makes them think that a predator is lurking somewhere nearby. Wolf urine will help keep your plants safe from ravenous pests.

Time is of the essence when controlling pests in your garden. These voracious eaters, whether tiny insects or larger animals, have hearty appetites, and their sheer number could quickly become overwhelming. The key is to regularly check your plants for the slightest hints of the presence of such pests. 

The key to protecting your plants from larger animals is prevention. They can be aggressive and cunning once they’ve identified a food source. Discourage them early on from invading your garden by employing tactics to scare them away or conditioning them into thinking that no delicious meals are waiting for them in your yard.

Once you’ve located the pests’ favorite location or tracked their route, place pieces of fabric or cotton balls soaked in predator urine strategically in your garden. The odor will send wary animals like rodents and rabbits scurrying away from your property.

5. Use Shiny Materials Like Aluminum Foil 

Aluminum foil is a handy garden tool that you can use to drive various plant enemies away. Its reflective surface can fool animals into perceiving a nearby presence, effectively scaring them away. It can also deter light-sensitive insects from feasting on your plants. 

Here are some tips on how to use aluminum foil in your garden:

Add Aluminum Strips to Mulch

This is a safe, chemical-free way to get rid of pests. Cut aluminum foil into strips and mix them with your regular mulch. The strips reflect light and discourage light-sensitive pests, such as slugs and snails, from even approaching. 

Make Shiny Foil Decor

Deck your plants and trees with aluminum foil to ward off potential predators. Wrap your plants’ stems and trees’ trunks with aluminum foil so that deer and rabbits think they’ve come face-to-face with another animal.

They’ll soon be scurrying away, never to return. Hang some aluminum foil streamers from your trees to keep birds from feasting on your fruits. The light reflected from the foil and the rustling sounds from the wind will keep them away.

6. Make a Beer Trap for Slugs and Snails

Slugs and snails are among the most destructive pests in the garden. They feast on leaves and can practically defoliate a small plant within hours. They are attracted to the smell of yeast in beer, and you can use this to keep them away from your garden for good.

Here is how to make a beer trap for slugs and snails:

  1. Fill a shallow bowl or container with beer. There should only be less than an inch (2.5 cm) of space between the liquid and the rim of the container.
  2. Bury the container in the soil. The rim should be at the same level as the ground. 
  3. Wait for snails and slugs to get a whiff of the beer. They will want to take a sip and will immediately drown. 

Gather the snails and slugs regularly, so they do not accumulate in the container. Having too many floating in the beer might warn others of danger. Replace the beer every few days or when the smell starts to dissipate. 

I’ve written an extensive guide about how to keep snails away from plants. Don’t miss it: How To Keep Snails Away From Plants (16 Methods)

7. Install Motion Detectors

Motion detectors are great for warding off nervous animals like deer and rodents. The slightest movement will trigger lights or water sprinklers to turn on. Plant predators will be spooked and will immediately run back to safety. Pretty soon, after numerous attempts, they will consider your garden an unsafe territory and will no longer want to prowl. 


Luckily, there’s no shortage of fool-proof ways to keep insects and animals from eating your plants. Figure out which methods work for your garden, depending on the types of plants you have and the kinds of pests that usually invade your yard. 

It’s always best to be unpredictable since plant predators, particularly larger animals, can be pretty smart and aggressive. Play around with different techniques to keep your plants safe, thriving, and happy.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the founder of and its lead content writer. He created the website in 2022 as a resource for horticulture lovers and beginners alike, compiling all the gardening tips he discovered over the years. Alex has a passion for caring for plants, turning backyards into feel-good places, and sharing his knowledge with the rest of the world.

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