10 Pesky Invaders Repelled by Garlic’s Scent

Written by Volia Schubiger
Published: July 31, 2023
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Keeping your plants and garden safe from pests is the ultimate goal for any gardener. After all, there’s truly nothing more disheartening than seeing your plants and flowers get eaten apart by an infestation. We spend so much time in our gardens growing our leafy greens, flowers, and vegetables that seeing them picked off by invaders can make it all feel futile. However, there are definitely ways to protect your garden without having to ruin your yield. Although typically associated with warding off mythical creatures such as vampires, garlic is actually a known pest repellent. So are you curious to find out which pesky invaders are repelled by garlic’s scent?

Below, we’ve put together a list of garden and home pests that usually can’t stand the smell of garlic. Additionally, we’ve included how to use safely and effectively use garlic to keep unwanted pests out of your garden and out of your home as well.

1. Aphids

Unfortunately, aphids love roses almost as much as we do.

These incredibly small green insects can completely destroy your garden as they weaken plants by sucking the juice out of them.

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Aphids are incredibly tiny green insects that can wreak havoc in your home garden. These tiny insects happen to find their way into almost every green space. They also come in a variety of colors, so even if they’re not green, that doesn’t mean they’re not present. Aphids can be brown, white, gray, yellow, and even pink. So why exactly are these tiny insects problematic? Well, they sustain themselves by suckling on the juice of plants. This eventually leaves the plants looking limp and stunting their growth. Garlic has been noted to help repel them when it is planted near lettuce, peas, or rose bushes.

2. Ants

ants carrying a leaf

Although certain ants can be helpful to gardens, other ones, such as leafcutter ants, can completely destroy your lawn and garden.


Did you know that while certain types of ants can be incredibly helpful to your garden, others can completely destroy it? Black ants, for example, actually promote soil aeration and pollination. On the other hand, ants such as carpenter ants or leafcutter ants can immediately destroy trees, plants, etc. Leafcutters, for example, will eat away at the leaves of the plants and prevent them from growing. Ants are known to dislike the smell of garlic as the sulfur compounds irritate them and can even disorient them. This is why many people use garlic as a way to deter ants. Additionally, if you’ve been dealing with an ant infestation in your home, then you may want to try the garlic trick indoors.

3. Beetles

Japanese beetle on wet leaf

Similar to ants, beetles are another insect that can either be incredibly beneficial or highly detrimental to your garden, depending on the species.

©iStock.com/Justin Tahai

Another insect that is quite repelled by the smell of garlic is the beetle. As we mentioned above, garlic contains sulfur compounds such as allicin. These compounds are why it smells so strongly and also why so many pests can’t stand to be around it. One of the biggest pests in home gardens is the Japanese beetle. These beetles are known to eat grass and various ornamental plants. The flea beetle is another outdoor pest that is found throughout North America. It is known to scarf down on many vegetable crops, including cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, potatoes, and more!

4. Grasshoppers

grasshopper on concrete

It is easy to spot when you’re dealing with grasshoppers in your garden as they will often leave holes in leaves.

©iStock.com/Mainely Photos

There are many awful pests that you can have in your garden, and grasshoppers are one of them. Even though they’re not dangerous, they can wreak havoc in your yard. These small herbivores are known to eat a variety of leaves. However, they’re not above munching on stems, flowers, and even seeds as well! Over time, their numbers can grow rampant if you don’t tackle them at the first signs of an infestation. Garlic has been shown to discourage them from munching on your plants.

5. Caterpillars

Macro of browntail moth caterpillar on green leaves

Although caterpillars grow into gorgeous butterflies, they often cause destruction in their caterpillar phase as they munch on many plants.

©Zikrieys Ahmad/Shutterstock.com

One of the most beautiful insects is the butterfly. Whenever you run into a butterfly, you’re immediately taken aback by its beauty. However, every butterfly begins life as a caterpillar. Although caterpillars aren’t harmful to humans, they can eat away at your garden pretty quickly. If your yard becomes infested with caterpillars, then many of your flowers, vegetables, plants, and even herbs are at risk of being damaged. Luckily, caterpillars also have an incredibly strong sense of smell which is why many people use garlic to keep them away. Incorporating garlic in your garden can help keep them from eating away at your plants.

6. Mites


As tiny arachnids in the tick family, mites are capable of biting and causing irritation to the skin.

©Tomasz Klejdysz/Shutterstock.com

Mites are a pest that you definitely don’t want to be around. They are small arachnids that are closely related to ticks and spiders. There are many different types of mites, and each of them devours different things. Some of them are parasitic in nature, and they will feed on animals, including humans. Other mites will feast on plants, and still, there are others that eat insects and other arthropods. Mites are capable of spreading diseases, so it is definitely imperative to keep them away as much as possible. Many have noted that garlic does well to repel mites from wanting to get in contact with you. This helps create a barrier between yourself and the mites.

7. Mosquitoes

Macro shot of Northern house mosquito (Culex pipiens) sitting on human skin

An interesting fact about mosquitoes is that it is only female mosquitoes that bite people and animals to draw blood.


Mosquitoes are definitely one of the more annoying pests that humans have to deal with on a regular basis. This is especially true if you live in a tropical climate where the mosquitoes never become inactive. These insects are known to bite humans and animals. They are also capable of spreading diseases such as Zika fever, yellow fever, malaria, and dengue. Even when they don’t spread disease, these insects leave behind incredibly itchy bite marks that can drive a person crazy! As such an annoying pest, it helps to know ways to avoid having them come into contact with you. Since mosquitoes can detect odor much better than humans, if they pick up on garlic, they will stay away.

8. Flies


Flies have a reputation for being a pest all around the globe as they can carry and transmit diseases and parasites.


All across the globe, flies are universally viewed as a nuisance and pest. While not all flies transmit illnesses and parasites, even non-biting flies can be obnoxious houseguests. Their constant buzzing around can grow tiresome quickly! Luckily, garlic is one of the best repellents against these buzzing nightmares. Their strong scent throws off flies and keeps them from hanging around. This is definitely helpful, as flies tend to be a problem both inside and outside of the house.

9. Mice

Northern Grasshopper Mouse (Onychomys Leucogaster)

In the United States, house mice are considered one of the biggest pests. They are often a costly pest to get rid of as well.

©Liz Weber/Shutterstock.com

Is there anything worse than coming home and finding mice in your cabinets? Or perhaps you’ve found some mice in your backyard? Either way, they’re often not a guest that we’re happy to find living amongst us. One of the biggest problems with mice is that they are vectors for disease. They carry and transmit a lot of different bacteria and viruses. Additionally, they can eat your food inside the house and even munch on your outdoor vegetables. They’ve even been known to eat houseplants! Garlic has been noted to be a great repellent for mice as their noses are often too highly sensitive to be able to stand the smell.

10. Moles


Since their tunnels can damage lawns and prevent plants from growing; as a result, moles are often classified as pests.


Moles are another pest that many homeowners aren’t always pleased to find living in their yards. One of the biggest issues with moles is that they can damage your lawn and keep plants and vegetables from growing well. Additionally, if you have a vegetable garden, although they won’t be interested in eating your leafy greens, they do want to eat the insects that are attracted to the greens. This is why many gardeners plant garlic bulbs around their vegetables and ornamentals in order to keep these pesky invaders away — both the insects and the moles. 

How to Use Garlic as Pest Control

Garlic Cloves and Bulb in vintage wooden bowl.

There are many different ways that you can use garlic as a natural pest repellent, including using a garlic spray or garlic essential oils.

©Marian Weyo/Shutterstock.com

Garlic is an all-natural repellent that you can use to keep away annoying pests. Since garlic is so versatile, there are many different ways that you can choose to make use of it. If you have a backyard garden, then you may want to think about planting garlic around your vegetables and ornamentals. Additionally, you can also make a garlic spray that you spritz directly onto the leaves of your plants in your garden. This will help deter pests from eating or hanging around the area. You can also use garlic spray or garlic oil inside your home to keep out mice, flies, and mosquitoes. Simply place a few drops of garlic oil in corners where you know the pests hang out to keep them from wanting to stay. 

Since essential oils have high concentrations of the plant compound, a little will go a long way — so there’s no need to overdo it.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Zikrieys Ahmad/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Volia Schubiger is a freelance copywriter and content editor with a passion and expertise in content creation, branding, and marketing. She has a background in Broadcast Journalism & Political Science from CUNY Brooklyn College. When she's not writing she loves traveling, perusing used book stores, and hanging out with her other half.

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