Peppermint Garden Bugs





Introduction: Peppermint Garden Bugs

About: I try to push myself each day to be more resourceful, innovative, & creative. I am constantly inspired by some of the brilliant minds here on Instructables, & I hope that I can inspire others as well. I thin...

Chase away those pesky bugs with bigger bugs! These environmentally friendly bugs double as lawn/garden decor & pest control all in one. They are not only constructed from recycled materials but also use natural aromatherapy insect repellant rather than dangerous chemical insecticides.  With these little critters  you can throw out that electric bug zapper & those toxic pollutants. They are simple, effective, and eco-clean!

2 1.5 liter plastic soda bottles with the caps
3 long U stakes (you could also recycle some old croquet loops)
Black duct tape or Gorilla tape (or whatever color goes with your specific insect)
Paint (it's more eco-friendly to hand paint rather then spray paint, but it's what I had)
A drill
*Filler supplies (see FILLING OPTIONS)
OPTIONAL: Large craft eyes & hot glue 

1. Take one bottle & remove the label, then paint it the main color of the insect. (creating the bugs body)
2. Take the second bottle and cut it into quarters length wise. 
3. Take 2 of the quarters and overlap them, then tape them together (creating a pair of wings)
4 Tape the wings onto the body with your black tape. 
5. Tear of a length of tape and arrange all 3 stakes on it in a row.
6. Then stick that length of tape to the belly of the bug & stand the legs up straight.
7. Working with thinner bands of tape add the bugs stripes in between each set of legs. (This also secures the legs more)
8. Now you can stand your bug upright, add some eyes, and drill a vent hole in the bottle cap. (It's ready to be filled)

Note: You can use these same techniques to construct virtually any bug you wish. You can also use any variety or shape of bottle that fits your design. 


You can fill your bug with a variety of natural bug repellants, such as sticks of cinnamon, cloves, chunks of garlic, or even spearmint gum. I like to use peppermint & spearmint because they cover the most variety of insects & can even potentially deter some rodents. Filling your bug with cotton balls soaked in pure peppermint oil will give you the most potent and thus most effective repellent. Here is a list of repellents that will work to target specific pests with oils: 

• Ants — Peppermint and Spearmint
• Aphids — Cedarwood, Hyssop, Peppermint, Spearmint
• Beetles — Peppermint and Thyme
• Caterpillars — Spearmint and Peppermint
• Chiggers — Lavender, Lemongrass, Sage, Thyme
• Cutworm — Thyme, Sage
• Fleas — Peppermint, Lemongrass, Spearmint, Lavender
• Flies — Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage
• Gnats — Patchouli, Spearmint
• Lice — Cedarwood, Peppermint, Spearmint
• Mosquitoes — Lavender, Lemongrass
• Moths — Cedarwood, Hyssop, Lavender, Peppermint, Spearmint
• Plant Lice — Peppermint, Spearmint
• Slugs — Cedarwood, Hyssop, Pine
• Snails — Cedarwood, Pine, Patchouli
• Spiders — Peppermint, Spearmint
• Ticks — Lavender, Lemongrass, Sage, Thyme
• Weevils — Cedarwood, Patchouli, Sandalwood

Oils can be spendy & sometimes difficult to find so for all you other penny pinchers out there, here is what I do:

1. Buy a bottle or bag of an oil infused bath salt (or epson salt). The more potent smelling the better. 
2. Mix the salt with water at a 1:1 ratio. (1 Tbs per cotton ball usually)
3. Swirl it around until the salt begins to dissolve.
4. Throw in your cotton balls 1 at a time until all the liquid is absorbed.
5. Stuff the soaked cotton balls into the bug & screw on the cap. (You want about 8-10 cotton balls per bug)
6. If there is any remaining undissolved salt, you can sprinkle it on the ground around the garden to deter slugs as well. 
7. Then stake your bug where you like it best with the vented end tipped slightly towards the ground. 
8. About once a week check your cotton balls if they appear to be dry you can rehydrate them with the same solution. (you don't have to remove them, just add the solution straight into the bug)

The bugs keep the scent right where you need it most, and they keep the repellent sheltered, and safely contained.

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    I know this has been posted for awhile so hopefully will still get an answer. Do you put holes in the bottle or just keep the bottles closed tight and the scent seeps through the bottle ?

    1 reply

    I see how that is confusing, because I didn't really type out the steps very well. I did most of the explaining on each picture instead. One picture shows the CAP to the bottle with a HOLE drilled in it. That allows the scent to VENT out of the bottle and that is the end that will be pointed near to the ground as well. I hope that clarifies it better. Sorry for the confusion!

    Looks awesome! Wish I had known this a few years back when I had both a veggie garden and several flower beds.

    Looks awesome! Wish I had known this a few years back when I had both a veggie garden and several flower beds.

    epsom salts are used in the garden. it's not salt in the usual term. look it up. i use epsom in my garden all the time. i have HUGE yields.

    1 reply

    That's what I was thinking too, because I used bath salts (epsom salts) and it worked great! I didn't see any salt burn or ill effects from it. Thank you for clarifying that! Happy Gardening!

    Thanks everyone for your support! Last year I had a TON of aphids on my roses. Thanks to these peppermint bugs I've seen about a 90% reduction this year! HOORAY!

    3 replies

    P.S. I'm going to try sprinkling some of the bath salts around my strawberries this year to keep the ants & slugs away too.

    I love your bugs! The essential oil bug repellent inside is a great idea! However most plants not native to coastal climates will react badly to having salts sprinkled around them. It can cause salt burn. Which will show itself as crispy leaves or crispy leaf ends that turn brown.

    That's good to know! I guess I'll just stick with the bug containers then. Thanks! :)

    those are great !

    I love that it is a cute decoration and useful!

    I have been wondering what to do about the little aphid like bugs in my grass, I'm really not sure what they are, tiny and green. Every step sends off thousands of these little bugs. I'm hooked. Will be making some of these today! Thank you!

    1 reply

    I'm not sure what kind of bug they are either but you can definitely give it a try. The more potent the scent the better. Let me know how it goes! :)

    This is great to know. My roses have aphids. Might have to try spraying them down with peppermint-water.

    1 reply

    Yes, you can spray them with peppermint water. Also if you add a little bit of dish soap to it, then it will coat & stick to the plant better. I do about 1 Tbs peppermint oil, 1Tbs dish soap per 1 gallon of water. :)