4 eco-friendly ways to keep pests out of your yard

Nature-approved tips range from DIY repellent sprays to fans that blow blood-seeking mosquitoes off course.

Not in our garden

Deer and rabbits can make quick work of plants such as hostas and petunias. Physical barriers like fences are best to keep the browsers out of your garden. But most are also deterred by pest-repellent sprays based on animal blood or raw eggs, for which DIY recipes can be found online.

Seedling protection

Aphids generally won’t harm healthy, mature plants, and they’re food for beneficial insects—but they can weaken young plants. Knock off aphids with your fingers or water, or spray them with insecticidal soap.

Marigolds, yes or no?

Many gardeners swear by planting the brightly colored flowers as protective companions for tomato vines. Though the scientific backing for this idea is scant, one study found that French marigolds do help cut down on whiteflies. And marigolds certainly attract pollinators—so temper your expectations, but plant away.

Debugging the patio

Many mosquito repellents are based on natural ingredients; oil of lemon eucalyptus is one that’s effective, research suggests. Or try a cool way to deter bloodsuckers: Blow them off course with a fan. In a Consumer Reports test, a fan cut mosquito landings on those nearby by 45 to 65 percent. Airflow buffets the insects, which aren’t strong fliers, and scatters the exhaled CO2 that lures mosquitoes to their victims.

For more stories about how to help the planet, go to natgeo.com/planet.

This story appears in the June 2022 issue of National Geographic magazine.

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