You don’t have to purchase commercially produced organic bug sprays for your organic garden. Many can be made by you with a minimum of effort. Of course, you’ll have to buy the ingredients, but we can assure you that in the long run, it’ll be much cheaper than buying those other products.
5 Homemade Organic Bug Sprays
Garlic Pest Control Spray
Many cultures around the world have used garlic as a natural antibiotic and anti-fungal remedy. When garlic is combined with mineral oil and soap, it becomes a very effective pest control product.
However, when it is sprayed, it is not a selective insecticide. It can be used to control cabbageworm, leafhoppers, squash bugs, whitefly, but will also affect beneficial insects so be careful where and when you apply this product.
- 3 ounces finely chopped garlic
- 2 tsp mineral oil
- 1 pint water
- ¼ ounce liquid dish soap
Allow the garlic to soak in the mineral oil for 24 hours. Add water and liquid dish soap. Stir well and strain into a glass jar for storage. This is your concentrate.
To use: Combine 1-2 tablespoons of concentrate in 1 pint of water to make the spray. Do be careful not to make the
solution too strong. While garlic is safe for humans, when combined with oil & soap, the mixture can cause leaf injury on sensitive plants. Always test the lower leaves of plants first to make sure they aren’t affected.
The purpose of an oily spray is to suffocate over wintering pests, such as aphids and mites. Most commercial products are made of kerosene or other petroleum oil. A much less toxic and more sustainable approach is to use a renewable resource such as vegetable oil.
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp liquid soap
- 1 gallon water
Combine the soap and oil and stir to blend thoroughly. Add the water a bit at a time, stirring as you go (water and oil
don’t really emulsify; the soap helps the process). Pour the mixture into a clean garden spray container. Spray a coat of the mixture over the entire plant. Shake the container frequently as you are spraying.
This recipe makes 1 gallon.
Homemade Insecticidal Soap
Soap has been used for centuries as an all-purpose pesticide. It disrupts insects’ cell membranes, and kills pests by dehydration. The key is not to use too much soap, or you’ll also kill the vegetation near the pests. If you follow the proportions of soap to water in the Soap Spray recipe, below, the vegetation should be fine.
- 1 to 2 tablespoons liquid soap (not detergent)
- 1 quart water
Combine ingredients in a bucket, mix, then transfer to a spray bottle as needed.
All Purpose Pesticide Soap Spray
Strong smelling roots and spices such as
- rhubarb leaves,
- and other hot peppers,
are all known to repel insects.
- A handful of roots and spices
- Boiling water to cover the roots and spices
- Soap Spray (recipe, above)
Add the roots and spices to the bottom of a mason jar. Cover with the boiling water, screw on the top, and let set overnight. Strain, and add to the Soap Spray. Note that this will rot, so use it all up or freeze leftovers for another time.
Place into a spray bottle and apply to the plants to control pests.
Although it seems a bit macabre, consider using bug juice to fight pests. Some scientists believe that pheromones from blended insects send a warning to their living relatives.
While this has been tested, it isn’t a fool-proof method, but it’s something worth trying!
- 1/2 cup of pesky insects
Place the insects in an old blender with enough water to make a thick solution. Blend on high and strain out the pulp using cheesecloth or a fine sieve. Dilute at a rate of 1/4 cup bug juice to 1 cup of water, pour into a spray bottle, and apply to plants.