Using eggshells as organic pest control is inexpensive, and easy! In this post, not only will I show you how to use eggshells in your garden, I will also show you exactly how to prepare them – including tips for cleaning and drying them, grinding them into powder, and storing the powder for later use.
The flea beetles have been worse than ever in my garden this summer, and the Japanese beetles are no fun either.
On top of that, the slugs have been turning my hostas into Swiss cheese (Ahhh, the joys of gardening).
I need all the help I can get fighting these and other destructive bugs in the garden organically.
Using Eggshells As Organic Pest Control
There is a well known organic pesticide called diatomaceous earth, which is basically the fossilized remains of creatures that are ground into a fine powder.
This works as a pesticide because it gets under the shells of beetles and acts like bits of glass to cut them up and kill them. Snails and slugs will also die if they slink across it.
Well guess what, ground eggshells can work the same way. I eat a lot of eggs, so I have plenty of eggshells.
Which means I can have the benefits of diatomaceous earth for free – Oh, and I’m all about free pest control!
How To Make Eggshell Powder For Your Garden
There are lots of uses for eggshells in the garden. So, whether you want to try using eggshells as organic pest control, or you plan to use it in other ways, the steps for making organic eggshell powder are the same.
Below I will show you how to prepare eggshells for garden use, and give you details of each of the steps.
The steps include cleaning and drying eggshells, grinding them into powder, how to use your eggshells as organic pest control, and how to store leftover eggshells or eggshell powder for later use in the garden.
How To Clean Eggshells
I get asked about the steps I use for cleaning eggshells before crushing them all the time. But the truth is, I don’t really fuss too much about this.
If there is yolk or a lot of egg whites left in the shells, I will give them a quick rinse with water before drying them.
But if they’re already fairly clean, I don’t bother taking the time to clean them. I’ve never had a problem with my eggshell powder stinking.
So, my advice on this would be… if your eggshells are dirty, then definitely rinse them with water before drying and crushing them.
Methods Of Drying Eggshells
You’ll definitely need to allow the eggshells to dry out before crushing them, so don’t skip this step.
There are a few methods you could use for drying eggshells. Just as with cleaning the eggshells, my method for drying them isn’t fancy here either.
I simply lay them out on a paper towel and leave them sitting on the counter for a few days.
If I have a lot of eggshells to dry and I don’t want to clutter up my counters, then I toss them into a paper bag in the pantry where they dry out in a few days.
If you choose to toss them into a paper bag like I do, just make sure you don’t stack the eggshells.
Toss each one in there loosely, otherwise they won’t dry as fast, and they might even start to mold or stink (I’ve never had this problem with mine, but some people have).
I’ve also heard of people putting their eggshells into the oven on low and drying them that way. But I’ve never tried this method, so I can’t speak to it.
How To Grind Eggshells Into Powder
Once the eggshells are completely dry they will be very brittle and break easily so you know they’re ready to be ground into powder. To grind eggshells into a powder, you can use a mini food chopper or a coffee grinder.
You’ll probably need to crush the eggshells up a bit before grinding them so you can fit more into the grinder at once.
I simply crush mine up in the paper bag or the paper towel quick before putting them into the grinder.
In my experience, the best grinder for eggshells is a coffee grinder. The coffee grinder does a great job of grinding the eggshells into a powder.
When I used my mini food chopper, I found that the shell pieces were larger than the ones I crushed in the coffee grinder.
The food chopper still grinds the eggshells, but the result isn’t as fine of a powder as you get with the coffee grinder.
So, if all you have is a mini food chopper, then you can try using that. Otherwise, I recommend getting yourself an inexpensive coffee grinder to use as your eggshell grinder.
How To Use Eggshells In The Garden
After the eggshells are ground into powder, you can take them out to the garden and use them right away. To use eggshells as organic pest control, sprinkle the powder directly onto the pest insect.
Here I’m using it on the destructive Japanese beetles. They really don’t like it, and will start to squirm and move around. It won’t kill them right away, and sometimes they will fly away, but they’ll die in time.
Related Post: Grapevine Beetle Information & Organic Control Tips
Be careful though, eggshells will kill any type of garden beetle – even beneficial ones. It’s best to sprinkle the eggshell powder directly on the specific pests you are trying to control.
I do not recommend sprinkling it all over your garden, or you could end up killing the good garden bugs by accident.
To use crushed eggshells for slugs, ants, and flea beetle control, sprinkle the eggshell powder around the base of the plant. Eggshell powder sprinkled around plants will need to be reapplied after a heavy rain.
Just be careful if you’re wearing dark pants, and don’t wipe your hands on your pants as you are spreading the eggshell powder (oops!). It can be a messy job.
Better yet, avoid the mess of spreading eggshell or diatomaceous earth powder by using a pest mini duster – awesome!
How To Store Eggshells For Garden Use
As long as they stay dry, you can store eggshells or eggshell powder for later use in the garden. Simply store your unused eggshell powder in a dry location.
I keep mine on a shelf in my garage, it doesn’t matter if it freezes in the winter. You could also keep them in a pantry or even the fridge or freezer if you would rather.
There are many uses for eggshells in the garden. They’re great for the health of your garden, and they add calcium to the soil. Simply toss them into the compost bin, or add the powder directly to your garden beds.
Be sure to try using eggshells as organic pest control in your garden too, and see if it works for you! Don’t worry, if you don’t have access to eggshells, you can buy diatomaceous earth for pretty cheap too.
- Bug-Free Organic Gardening: Controlling Pest Insects without Chemicals
- The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control
- The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook
More Info About Garden Pest Control
- Natural Garden Pest Control Remedies And Recipes
- How To Use Japanese Beetle Traps
- All About Ladybugs & Why They’re Good For Your Garden
Have you tried using eggshells as organic pest control in your garden? Share your tips and experience in the comments below.
I have had good success with these ground shells. I have a mint plant in a large strawberry pot. The snails and slugs love it. Now, I sprinkle egg shell dust around the base of the pot and the pesky creature leave the mint alone and it is thriving. Thank you for this organic idea!
Amy Andrychowicz says
Awesome, glad to hear the crushed eggshells are working to keep those nasty pests away!
I rinse with running water and toss them in an open tin for several days then put them in an open plastic bag in my broom cupboard ( smallish bag) hanging on a hook
When the bag is full I crush them in the bag using a rolling pin ( fun & good exercise for my arms)as small as I can get them
I sprinkle them on my garden at the roots of the plants , sometimes it looks like snow
I enjoy the whole process
Amy Andrychowicz says
Awesome, thanks for sharing your tips for how you dry and crush your eggshells for your garden.
I use eggshells all over my garden. I keep in an empty carton in the frigererator. When I have enough I spend then out on a large pizza pan. Cool them and place in ziplock bag until time for spring garden prep. I usually have about three large ziploc bags by spring.
Amy Andrychowicz says
Awesome, thanks for sharing how you dry and save your eggshells for your garden.
Rox Ann says
I dry my egg shells in toaster oven, then put thru a ninja, smoothie maker. Store in mason jar til needed. No egg shells get thrown out at my house.
Carolyn in Texas says
The easiest method to dry eggs is by placing them on a paper plate and using the microwave on high for a couple of minutes. Saves money by not using the oven and also does not heat up the house on warm days. I then throw the dry egg shells into a Ziploc bag until I have enough to grind.
Wear a mask!!! I love that the coffee grinder makes such a fine powder, but when you take the lid off some powder may fly into the air. Do not breath this stuff!