Gardens are some people’s favorite getaway, while some use it as a means to grow food or flowers. Regardless of the reason behind having a garden, they all deal with the same problem: insects. Alabamians have a huge garden insect problem because of its warm, damp climate and abundant vegetation.

Fortunately, there are a wide variety of ways that gardeners can mitigate pesky pests. From natural and organic solutions to chemical sprays, gardeners can choose which way is best for them and their situation. Follow some of these tips to help control any pest problem in the garden. Prevention is often the best solution, so you’ll see some preventative tips too.

Tip #1: Outsmart them
An array of visual cues and scents can confuse insects. Instead of planting rows of the same crop or flower, mix it up and plant one type of plant next to another. For example, plant onions next to tomatoes, peas alongside broccoli, etc. Do the same with different flowers.

Tip #2: Trap them
A variety of bugs love camping out in damp, shaded places. Slugs, grubs, ladybugs, and earwigs all have this trait, so use it to your benefit. Lure these uglies in with trap nests, and then survey the catch early in the morning. Finally, dump them into some soapy water and dispose of them. Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities provide a free, online guide for pest management that includes some trap ideas at

Tip #3: Clean up
Garden debris is a big attraction to pests and can lead to a continuous cycle of infestation. Cleaning up debris is the easiest and cheapest method for controlling a pest problem. Make sure to promptly cleanup any leftover flowers, bad crops and fallen fruit at the end of a cycle.

Tip #4: Repel them
There are many natural, organic formulas for sprays that one can find with a quick Google search. Most involve familiar ingredients like garlic, pepper, and oil extract. A couple great things about these recipes: they work from the largest to the smallest pest, they’re natural, and they are cheap.

Tip #5: Use coffee
Interestingly, coffee grounds are great for your garden in many ways. The nitrogen seeps into the soil, and they increase the acidity for acidic plants. Most importantly, pests – both large and small – hate coffee grounds. Slugs, deer, rabbits and cats especially hate the smell of coffee grounds. So, finish your cup of morning Joe but don’t toss that filter.

Tip #6: Spray them
Of course, even the best kept garden will get pests. In some situations, it becomes necessary to hose these bugs down with some insecticide or pesticide. There are reputable companies which make effective, relatively inexpensive products that can be very helpful for some situations.
Bottom line: when unsure which route to go, contact a reputable pest control business in your area that can provide expert guidance. A quick Yelp or Google search can assist by providing user reviews of the company. Schedule a professional to come over and provide a recommendation on how to proceed.