So summer finally arrives, and the weather makes your garden super-inviting for lazy outdoor meals and parties. But a few little things are waiting to spoil your enjoyment…

It’s those minibeasts, garden pests, and nasty horseflies! Do buzzing house flies threaten your summer barbeques? Is your idyllic grow-your-own plot under siege by pesky insects?

Even the invisible ones could ruin that day by destroying your crops, leaves, and flowers with their incessant appetites. Some pests can bite, lead to infection, and, worse still, spread germs and disease when they land on your food or carry parasites.

So there. We love nature, but in fairness, there’s a case for keeping those pests at bay in your Irish garden this summer!


But First, The Irish Ecosystem Matters

One should add natural, homegrown solutions to keep one’s garden a haven for oneself and one’s prized plants, not a haven for unwanted visitors.

We recommend using natural obstructions and remedies as much as possible when in doubt. Opt for species-specific chemical treatments that don’t kill off every other living creature in your garden, as a healthy biodiverse garden will give you better soil and pest control in the long run.

The problem can occur when there is an imbalance or when disease-carrying species start to invade.


Let’s Identify Common Garden Pests in Ireland

These are the most common pests and flies in any Irish garden.

  • Aphids: These tiny sap-suckers weaken your plants, causing stunted growth and distorted leaves. They also excrete honeydew, leading to sooty mould and attracting other pests.
  • Slugs and Snails Leave slime trails and munch on leaves, ornamental flowers, and crops, especially during wet conditions. They can potentially kill off new shoots and young plants before they establish themselves. Damage is often seen as irregular holes in leaves and can be extensive.
  • Vine Weevils: Their larvae are legless grubs found in soil or potting compost. They grow up into adult weevils that nibble on leaves, causing notch-like damage. The larvae feed on plant roots, often killing the plants.
  • Whiteflies: Similar to aphids, they also suck sap.
  • Red Spider Mites are tiny red spiders, often clustered under leaves, visible as delicate webs. They suck plant juices causing the yellowing of leaves and reduced plant vigour.
  • Cabbage White Butterflies: These caterpillars are green and found on the undersides of leaves, typically on brassicas. They are voracious feeders on cabbages, kale, and related plants and can strip the foliage completely.
  • Leatherjackets (Crane Fly larvae): These greyish-brown, legless larvae live in the soil. They feed on the roots and stems of grasses and young plants, causing yellow patches in lawns and reduced growth in garden plants.
  • Houseflies, Fruit Flies, and Blue Bottle Flies: Houseflies, particularly Blue Bottle Flies, can be vectors for diseases affecting both plants and humans. They spread germs when they land on your food. They indicate the presence of accumulating rubbish or decomposing organic matter in your vicinity, so they should be an indicator of a hazard elsewhere.


Natural Irish Pest Prevention Techniques

There are great natural options that you should begin with as you plan your garden. These are also related to hygiene issues.

Garden Layout and Plant Choices:

Strategic planting can help deter pests by repelling or attracting beneficial insects that prey on pests. Try companion planting in your food plot for specific species that need protection.

  • Basil with Cabbage Family (Brassicas) Did you know Basil repels the white cabbage butterfly, flies, mosquitoes, and even whiteflies and other pests that commonly affect brassicas? You can protect broccoli, kale, and cabbage this way. Basil’s strong smell confuses pests, making it harder to find their target plants.
  • Nasturtiums with Squash and Cucumbers. Nasturtiums are a trap crop for aphids and can repel squash bugs and cucumber beetles.
  • Chives with Carrots: The pungent odour of chives has a specific ability to repel carrot flies. They mask the scent of carrots, deterring carrot flies from laying eggs near the roots.
  • Onions with Lettuce: Onions can help repel aphids and certain beetles from lettuce. Their pungent smell can also serve as a deterrent for pests that might otherwise target lettuce leaves.

Use pest-repellent plants to deter pests from approaching your prized crops.

  • Garlic can help deter aphids, which are common pests on roses. Why not try Wild garlic? And it might even be a great crop to harvest for making pesto. As it grows, the sulfur compounds that garlic releases can repel aphids and other pests, protecting the roses.
  • Marigolds repel various pests, including nematodes, aphids, and other insects that may target tomatoes. Did you know?! The strong scent of marigolds is believed to mask the smell of tomatoes, making them harder for pests to locate.
  • Lavender keeps away flies, moths, and even some rodents.
  • Mint: repels cabbage moths and ants and can also help in deterring aphids

Use plants that attract the right kind of insects – the Beneficial Beasties to enhance your prized crops.

  • Borage is known to deter some insects and attract pollinators like bees, which help increase plant yields.
  • Attract Ladybugs, lacewings, and hoverflies—natural predators of many garden pests—to create a welcoming habitat. Plant companion flowers like calendula, borage, and cosmos. You can source natural predators, such as ladybugs, for aphids online.

Physical Barriers and Traps:

Use natural homemade barriers to block access to your prized plants

  • Copper tapes for slugs
  • Homemade traps for flies.
  • Use mesh netting to protect vulnerable crops from cabbage white butterflies and their caterpillars. This will also work against birds.


DIY Remedies and Solutions for Pest Control

DIY Pest Control Sprays and Potions

Whip up these concoctions for a non-toxic defence. These ingredients deter pests with their robust and irritating scent and taste. 

Before applying it widely, test the spray on a small area of each type of plant. Wait 24-48 hours to see if there are any adverse reactions. Reapply these sprays after rain or watering.

For Aphids and Whiteflies:

  • Garlic Spray: This is a classic and effective option. Steep a few garlic cloves in water for a day, then strain and dilute the solution with water before spraying on your plants.
  • Soap Spray: Mix a tablespoon of dish soap (avoid harsh detergents) with a litre of water. This disrupts the soft bodies of aphids and whiteflies.

For General Pest Control and repellents:

Make sure your concentrations of essential oils are diluted properly, as they can be harmful to plants if they are too concentrated.

  • Neem Oil Spray is available in most plant or gardening stores—dilute neem oil with water according to the package instructions. Neem oil disrupts the moulting cycle of many insects.
  • Lemongrass Spray: Mix ten drops of lemongrass essential oil with a litre of water. Lemongrass oil has a strong scent that repels flies and mosquitoes.
  • Chilli sprays: Chop 10-12 chilli peppers; if you add them, chop one onion and a few cloves of garlic. Place the chopped chillies (and optional garlic and onion) in a blender. Add about two cups of water and blend until the mixture is smooth. Then strain it and Stir in a few drops of liquid soap to the strained liquid. This acts as a surfactant to help the spray adhere to the leaves.


Regular Maintenance Tips to Keep Pests at Bay

Excellent routine garden care that involves tidying garden hygiene and the outdoor area will be a deterrent.

  • Regularly power-wash corners and surfaces.
  • Cleaning your garden regularly by removing piles of plant waste, rotting food, rubbish and removing animal waste
  • Keeping compost sealed in an appropriate location.
  • Remove opportunities for removing standing water, such as unattended empty pots and tidying the area.


Ways to Avoid Housefly Havoc

Exclusion is Key

Seal cracks around windows and doors to prevent flies from entering your home. Nevertheless, this is a last resort and better for colder months—on a hot day; we would eschew this for other methods as it is more desirable to let in some fresh air during the hot summer months.

DIY Fly Trap

You can craft a simple Apple Cider Vinegar Trap using a plastic bottle. Fill a jar or container with a mixture of apple cider vinegar, a few drops of dish soap, and a splash of water. The vinegar attracts the flies but gets trapped in the soapy solution.


A Pest Control Shopping List

Remember, these are natural solutions and may not be as potent as commercial pesticides. Be prepared to reapply them regularly.

For handy resources, tools, and remedies to help you extra, check out our garden catalogue for handy pest control supplies.

  • We stock a range of Rat and Mouse pest control solutions for more significant Pest issues!
  • Sluggo Organic Slug & Snail Killer contains an active ingredient, an iron compound that occurs in nature. It doesn’t leave visible dead slugs and is highly resistant to rain due to innovative bait technology. The dead Slugs and snails do not produce mucus and decompose.
  • NipponAnt Bait Station (Twin) – This device kills ants and their nests without mess or trace – you can use it in and around the home
  • You’ll need a handy device for spraying your natural or diluted remedies efficiently. The Gardenworx Knapsack Sprayer 12L is a multi-use pressure sprayer with a fully adjustable nozzle, from a mist to a strong jet spray. With a 12L translucent tank, you will be able to complete medium jobs without having to refill often. It’s suitable for spraying pesticides, herbicides, water, fertilisers, and cleaning agents.
  • Bayer Potato Blight Fungicide 100Ml is a new garden product that protects against potato blight. Its unique strength lies in the combination of two potent active substances, which work both on the surface and deep inside the plant, giving long-lasting protection to leaves, stalks, and new growth. It treats up to 625 sqm.


What’s your Irish Garden Pest Remedy?

A Healthy garden ecosystem encourages natural predators to keep pests in check. So, grab your gardening gloves, embrace these DIY solutions, and enjoy a pest- and fly-free summer!

Do you have tips, questions, or success stories? Don’t hesitate to comment on our Facebook or Instagram pages.

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