Many gardeners want to control garden pests, but in a way that’s not going to harm the environment or beneficial insects. Here are some environmentally friendly pest control tips to minimise impact on beneficials in the garden and product recommendations that are safe to use in the garden.

There are now many organic options for pest control, which include biological controls and less toxic pesticides (less toxic to us, but not necessarily less toxic to friendly insects).

When using any pesticide, even organic or friendly formulations, always read the label to see which insect pests it controls, how much and frequently it should applied, and precautions to follow. Some products are not registered for edibles. Also check and observe the withholding period – this is the time between applying an insecticide and harvesting.

Generally, don’t use any pesticides when beneficial insects including bees tend to be active, when it is hot or in very windy or wet weather. Also, note that insecticides don’t control disease problems. It is important to identify whether the problem you are treating is an insect pest (such as a caterpillar) or a disease (such as rust). Most diseases are controlled with fungicides.


Three important tips for environmentally friendly pest control

  • A healthy garden is less vulnerable to pest and disease attack. Planting in the appropriate conditions and providing adequate food and water at regular intervals will help to:
    • Minimise stress on plants;
    • Reduce the occurrence of pest attack; and
    • Reduce the need for any need for pesticides and sprays.
  • Physical barriers or hand removal of the pest are generally the safest and quickest ways to control pests. Some pesticides require the pest to consume some of the product you’ve applied. When using these products, damage may continue while the pesticide is doing its work.
  • Apply chemicals in a targeted manner, using only what you need and avoiding overspray.


Some friendly pest control options


A great option for eliminating chewing/sucking pests and safe for pets, birds, lizards, bees and other beneficial bugs. Click to shop. 


Treats sap-sucking pests. Products that are ‘hippo enhanced’ attract more bees and beneficial insects to your garden. Click to shop.

Eco-lure fruit fly traps

Hang these traps close to fruiting plants to attract, trap and kill male Queensland fruit flies without harming beneficial insects. They do not kill female fruit flies but act as an indicator of fruit fly activity. To control female fruit flies before egg laying and protect fruit, use splash baits and lures that contain Spinosad. Click to shop.

Nature's Way Fruit Fly Control

This organic product attracts and kills female fruit fly before they can sting fruit and lay eggs, while also controlling male fruit fly. Splash the baits on to a stake or fence close to the tree, or on the tree trunk or parts of the foliage, but not on the fruit. The baits are made up of a protein lure that contains Spinosad, a pesticide based on a naturally occurring bacteria that kills fruit fly. They are highly effective but need to be regularly refreshed and protected from rain or watering. They don’t damage beneficial insects. Click to shop.

Eradicate ECO Snail & Slug Bait

This product uses an iron EDTA to kill snails and slugs. It is highly effective while posing minimal risk to pets, native birds, fauna, lizards and earthworms. Click to shop.

Nature’s Way Caterpillar Killer Dipel

This and other products containing Dipel are a low-toxic, organic solution for leaf-eating caterpillars. The product is based on bacteria that affect caterpillars that turn into moths or butterflies. It doesn’t control other insect pests. It is safe for beneficial insects, birds, fish, mammals and pets. Click to shop.