Do Coffee Grounds Attract Pests?

If you are somebody who feels like you are in the constant battle with pests in your outdoor living areas, it is natural to consider every type of deterrent out there — even the ones that seem outlandish.


While many budding gardeners may be concerned that coffee grounds can attract pests, the reality is quite to the contrary. In fact, when implemented correctly, coffee grounds can be an effective way to repel certain pests such as wasps, snails, and mosquitoes. With years of experience in pest control in Vancouver, Atlas Pest Control can help explain why this is the case.

As our question: “Do coffee grounds attract pests?” — no! The opposite is true. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), coffee grounds are an efficient way to keep pests out of your garden. Not only is this option more environmentally-friendly than the average pest repellant on the market, but it is also easier to source and even easier on the wallet.

How Do Coffee Grounds Work to Repel Pests?

As a human, you understand that, whether you like it or not, the smell of coffee is very strong. For insects with heightened sniffers, this is especially true. Like some humans, insects are not usually big fans of the smell, which causes them to stay clear of its source, as insects do not want to settle somewhere that it smells unpleasant.

Which Kinds of Coffee Grounds Should I Use?

The type of grounds you can use will really depend on the kind of coffee you enjoy! Whatever you do, don’t go out and buy coffee just for the sake of having grounds for your garden. Whether you enjoy a light roast or a dark roast, or anything in between, all types of coffee are passable for the garden.


One thing to note: it is essential that you use coffee grounds and not whole beans!

Do I have to Burn the Coffee Grounds?

If you go into a rabbit hole of researching coffee grounds online, you may see many suggestions calling for you to burn the coffee grounds. While this has not necessarily been scientifically proven, some gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts insist that the smoke works to repel insects as smoke can be a signal of damage to them, which can cause them to stay away from the surrounding areas.


If you do decide to burn your coffee grounds, start by ensuring that your grounds are dry. Then, burn the grounds as you would incense, on a bowl or on a flat piece of aluminum foil.

What Kind of Pests Will be Repelled By Coffee Grounds?

The following insects have been reported to be disgusted by the scent of coffee grounds:

  • Slugs
  • Bees
  • Wasps
  • Fleas
  • Ants
  • Snails

What are the Other Benefits of Using Coffee Grounds in Your Garden?

Coffee grounds have other positive effects on your garden aside from keeping pests away, such as:

  • Coffee grounds can help your plants and flourish, which in turn can help with pest control
  • Coffee grounds are especially helpful for plants that thrive in acidic soil, such as rhododendrons, azaleas, and evergreens
  • Coffee grounds can act as mulch which will discourage the growth of weeds

Things to Consider

  • Just like most things in life, the old adage “too much of a good thing” can also apply to coffee grounds in your garden. As coffee grounds are very acidic, it’s important that you practise restraint when adding them to your soil, ensuring that they never make up more than 15 to 20% of your soil’s total volume.
  • If you do not indulge in a cuppa at home, don’t be afraid to reach out to your local coffee shop! Many establishments will be happy to share their coffee grains with you for free, as it is a mutually beneficial practise that also helps them cut down on the amount of waste that is sent to the landfill.


If you are looking for advice on pest removal in Vancouver, Atlas Pest Control can help you find the solutions you need. Whether you are dealing with a problem that can be efficiently treated by coffee grounds or something much larger, we can find a way to help get your garden under control.