You look forward to it all year long: backyard barbecue season. But the bugs really put a damper on things — especially in Central Ohio where heat, humidity, and rain attract the worst pests in Columbus.   

    Mosquitos, stinkbugs, ticks, crickets, and other creepy-crawly things love to call Columbus home. And they love to make themselves at home in your backyard. Along with proper lawn care, there are some ways to curtail the worst pests in Columbus. Learn how to get rid of them and control infestations.  


    These bloodsuckers are part of every backyard. Bats and some birds are natural predators, but some people are more freaked out by the idea of a bat house. Insect repellants with DEET or Picaridin are effective in warding off the little buggers. Citronella candles are also helpful, although not as long-lasting.  

    Along with vegetation, mosquitoes like moisture. They breed in stagnant water such as puddles, storm pipes, and rain buckets. Dump out standing water from buckets, old tires, and outdoor containers.  Mosquito-repelling plants include marigolds, lavender, lemon eucalyptus, peppermint, chrysanthemums, and citronella.

    Japanese Beetles

    You’ll find these critters in most Columbus backyards, snacking on flowers and leaves of ornamental trees and shrubs. These bright metallic green insects appear in late June through September, and they’re tough to get rid of. If it’s a small infestation, you may be able to remove them by hand or use a pheromone trap. A word of warning: Those “bag a bug” methods tend to attract more insects than they catch. A neem or pyrethrin insecticide is often more effective.

    Neem oil is an organic pesticide that controls a host of backyard bugs, including aphids, cabbage loopers, leafhoppers, scale, sawflies, chinch bugs, and spider mites.  


    These are the worst backyard pests in Columbus if you’re sensitive to droning noise. You’ll hear them singing their trilling, ringing songs in Central Oho backyards from June until September. They feed off leaves, roots, and trees where the soil is moist but not too wet. Cicadas are often mistaken for locusts. Chemical treatments are usually not effective or necessary. If you really want to get rid of cicadas, spray a garden hose into trees and shrubs to knock the insects out of them. Protect plants with sticky tape or netting to prevent cicadas from feeding or laying eggs.

    More Backyard Bugs

    Columbus and Central Ohio have its share of backyard pests and the list is rather daunting.

    Plant pests

    Soapy water helps to remove small numbers of aphids, mealybugs, and thrips. For higher populations, insecticidal soap or pesticides are more suitable. You can make an eco-friendly bug spray with soap, oil, and water.


    Difficult to control with ordinary pesticides but insecticidal soap works on some of the immature larvae.

    Cutworms, Caterpillars

    Caterpillar, Crawling, Branches, Nature, Bug, Creature

    Registered pesticides are best for these insects, with the granules applied directly to the soil. 


    Aphids have a lot of natural backyard predators (lady beetles and lacewings, etc.). You can also control them with insecticidal soaps, neem oil, and strong jets of water.   

    There is no magic cure to get rid of all backyard insects. The Ohio State University Extension calls it integrated pest management — a process to minimize damage. Pesticides, whether they’re organic or chemical, can sometimes kill the beneficial insects. These are the bugs that eat the worst backyard pests in Columbus. 

    You can squash the bug problem by choosing disease-controlled and insect-resistant plants and trees. Keep in mind, native plants have built up resistance to the bugs over the years. Keep your grass mowed and weed-free, so the pests have no place to hide or nest. 

    Need more information about lawn care in Columbus and Central Ohio? Check out our Columbus Lawn Care page.