The Vegetable That'll Become Your Secret To Controlling Pests At Home

The kitchen is one of the last places you want to find pests, yet many insects are attracted to the food and water that is often readily available for them where food prep takes place. Onions are one common kitchen staple that can naturally control pests, both in and outside the home.

Onions are thought to repel bugs because they produce sulfur compounds that emit a strong, unpleasant odor that they find unbearable, per Bug House Pest Control. This odor triggers an avoidance response, causing insects such as ants, mosquitoes, and spiders to steer clear of onions and the surrounding areas as a form of self-protection. In general, sulfur can interfere with an insect's energy production, as per the National Pesticide Information Center. Then, when they ingest it or even get it on their body, it can impact their internal processes and lead to their death. Besides insects, it is believed that rodents also don't enjoy the smell of sulfur. Like humans, rats and mice can find the aroma of onions too much for their eyes and experience irritation. If rats eat onions, they can become anemic.

Using onions around the house

Onions can help create a barrier around your home and prevent potential pests from entering or setting up a colony nearby. You can lay onion slices around your kitchen, though they have to be changed regularly to keep their effectiveness.

To avoid attracting mosquitos in your home, one easy way to keep them and other flying bugs away is to use a whole onion to hang up much the same way you might hang fly paper. Cut an onion in half and then insert a threaded needle through it from the outside to the inside. Make sure to tie a knot so the thread doesn't fall out. Then, hang it on the porch or in a window to send the sulfur scent through the air. To be even more effective, throw in a garlic bulb or two, as this is another natural repellent that also gives off a pungent sulfuric smell. Either thread the garlic and onion together on the same string or use different strings. Additionally, if you find yourself in a pinch without mosquito repellent, you can rub onion slices directly on your skin in order to deter them.

Using onions in the garden to repel pests

Onions are also an effective way to repel garden pests. You can start by planting onions as companion plants. Interplanting onions with other vegetables can help to deter pests from attacking those plants. For example, planting onions near roses, carrots, or tomatoes can help protect those plants from destructive aphids, as well as flea beetles and carrot flies.

You can also create an onion spray by chopping up an onion and soaking it in water for a few hours. Then, strain the mixture and pour it into a spray bottle. Apply the spray to plants as needed to repel pests.

Onion peels can also be used as a pest repellent. Simply scatter onion peels around the base of your plants to discourage pests from approaching. This not only helps keep pests away, but onions help enrich the soil. Onions are also a food scrap that can be used to fertilize the garden by helping release potassium, iron, magnesium, and calcium into the soil.