Home Improvement

20 Natural & Homemade Insecticides, How To Use Them

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If gardening is a pastime that you are particularly fond of, or if you have just begun growing your own garden, there are many things you must consider when working on it. We always care for our plants and vegetables, give them plenty of water and fertilizer to make sure the harvest is bountiful.

But sometimes we may stumble upon problems such as insects eating away at our precious greens. This is where insecticide comes in handy. Nowadays we have a vast variety to choose from, and with the rapid development of chemistry, new plant-friendly insecticides are being made that do the job with no harm to the plant itself. 

Even though this is the best way to ensure that the plants will not be eaten, the main concern is that most insecticides are toxic not only to bugs but to people as well. People consume fruits and vegetables sprayed with insecticide, or inhale the insecticide while spraying the plants, so harmful chemicals enter our bodies one way or another.

Out of all pesticides, insecticide is the most harmful to humans, their use is to be strictly regulated. The level of toxicity depends on the chemicals and dose. Symptoms may vary from breathing difficulties to severe impacts on the nervous system. Many people can also suffer from allergic reactions caused by these chemicals.

Some older, cheap pesticides are low quality and can contaminate soil and water for many years, making a devastating impact on our ecosystem. 

But how do we protect both ourselves and our gardens? 

The perfect solution is to make your own organic insect repellent! With a few easy steps and ingredients that can be found in any household, you can make a non-toxic spray to keep the bugs away. With every homemade spray, it is important to test it out before using it on all the plants to make sure it’s safe. 

1. Oil Spray

Oil spray is by far the easiest and fastest to make. It is made out of vegetable oil and mixed with liquid soap. This spray kills harmful insects such as ticks and trips that suck on the juices of plants.

To prepare, mix 1 cup of vegetable oil and mix it with soap, then cover the mix and shake well. 

To use add 1 tablespoon of the concoction to 1 liter of water, pour into a spray bottle, and spray the plant directly.  

2. Neem oil

Neem oil is the oil that is extracted from the neem tree seeds (Azadirachta Indica). It acts as a powerful natural insecticide that gets rid of both grown insects and larvae. Neem oil can also serve as a fungicide to ensure the plant’s full protection. It’s 100% safe for soil, water and animals. 

To prepare, take 1 tablespoon of neem oil and mix with one teaspoon of liquid soap. Stir thoroughly and spray directly onto the plant

3. Chili pepper

Chili peppers are a great repellent for all kinds of pests. It can be made either with fresh peppers or ground dried chilies.

To prepare, take 1 liter of water, add 1 tablespoon of chili powder, and a couple of drops of liquid soap. Only spray the leaves. 

To prepare the spray out of fresh chili peppers, put half a cup of peppers in a blender, then boil with 1 liter of water.  

When working with chili peppers, keep in mind that they can cause irritation. Make sure to be cautious, wear gloves and keep the spray away from your nose and eyes.

4. Garlic

Garlic spray is very similar to chili pepper spray and can be used as a substitute. 

To prepare, take a full head of garlic and put it in a blender. Blend the garlic until you have a smooth paste. Let it rest for 24 hours for better effect, then mix with 3 liters of water. 

To use, spray the concoction onto the leaves of the plant.

5. Tomato leaves

Tomato leaves are rich in alkaloids, which are a great natural repellent for pests like aphids. These insects can not only be dangerous for small gardens but they are also known to destroy whole fields of crops. 

To prepare tomato spray, take a couple of handfuls of tomato leaves and put them in a blender. Blend leaves until you get 2 cups. Add the 2 cups of tomato leaves to half a liter of water and let it rest for 1 night.

To use, spray directly onto the plant. Be cautious, as this spray may be toxic to animals and household pets.

6. Ginger

Ginger tea is a less common, but nevertheless effective method of pest control. Not only is ginger healthy for the immune system, it’s also great for plants. 

To make a ginger spray, boil a couple of ginger tea bags in a pot of water.

To use, let the boiled tea cool down, then spray the whole plant directly. 

7. Peppermint

Peppermint oil is a wonderful natural repellent for  all sorts of insects: flies, ants, 

You can buy a small bottle of peppermint essential oil in your local pharmacy. It works great with indoor gardens and keeps the summer house bug-free and smelling fresh

To make peppermint spray you will only need a single drop of essential oil per liter of water. Do not use more than 1 drop of oil if you are going to spray the plant directly, as this may harm the plant.

To use, shake it thoroughly and spray the plant and surrounding area.

8. Orange 

Next time you eat an orange, don’t throw away the peels. The orange spray works well with slugs, aphids, and mealybugs.

To make this spray you will need peels from a couple of oranges and some dishwashing liquid. Pour boiling water onto the orange peels and let them rest for 24 hours. Strain the water and add 2-3 drops of dishwashing liquid, then shake. 

To use, spray directly onto the plant

9. Chrysanthemum flower

Chrysanthemum flower spray is very effective because it contains a particularly strong chemical called pyrethrum, which in some cases can work better than the average insecticide. The only downside of this spray is that it is not selective, and therefore it may kill all types of insects, even the ones that are vital to the ecosystem, like bees, for instance. If you decide on using chrysanthemum spray, make sure that the plants you are spraying are not pollinated by bees.

To prepare, take about 10 grams of dried chrysanthemum flowers and boil them in 1 liter of water for 20 minutes. 

To use, let the water cool down, strain it, and spray the plant and surrounding soil directly.

10. Ash

Don’t throw away ash after burning a bonfire, as it will be very useful in the garden. Take some ash and throw it onto the garden bed, just so it covers the plants with a thin layer. This helps get rid of fleas and aphids. This is also beneficial for the plants because when you water them, the plants will absorb the nutrients from the ash with the water. 

11. Boiling water

This method is used for newly planted trees and bushes. In early spring before the first buds appear on the branches, pour boiling water on the trees.

The water must be boiled to 80°С, if the temperature is higher, it may cause burns. This keeps aphids and mites from eating away at the tree seedlings.

12. Tobacco

If you are a smoker, then this method will be a great choice. You will need 20 grams of tobacco (either for rolling or extracted from cigarettes) and some rubbing alcohol. 

To prepare, put the tobacco leaves into a container with a lid. Pour just enough rubbing alcohol to cover the tobacco, then close the container, put it in a dark room with no direct sunlight, and leave it there for 24 hours. After that, strain the tobacco water and mix it with 1 liter of water. Spray the plants 2-3 times a week for a better effect.

13. “Catching belt”

This method doesn’t kill insects but instead traps them without letting them crawl onto plants. The “belt” is basically a long strip of fabric (an old fluffy rug or nylon tights will do), or even polyester padding.

Put the materials in between rows or around plants into the soil so that the material creates a barrier between the plants and insects. This will act as a trap and is also a great way to recycle old clothing. 

14. Cornflour

The cornflour method is a lot similar to ash, it even has the same texture. If you do not have any ash, you can always substitute it with a bag of cornflour.

Apply the same way as ash. For a better result powder, the plants early in the morning while the leaves are still wet with dew. 

15. Celandine 

Celandine is a wildflower that you can find in a forest. You can use both dried and fresh flowers to make this spray.

To make it, boil flowers and leaves on low heat for 20 minutes. To use add another half liter of water and spray directly. 

16. Vinegar

Vinegar is a staple in every household. Though it does not kill the insects, it does do the job when it comes to keeping them from eating the plant leaves. The vinegar’s bitter taste and the smell drive pests away from the plants without causing any harm.

To prepare, take 100 milliliters of vinegar and mix with 5 liters of water. Spray directly onto the leaves of the plant.

17. Salt and soda

These two components are something you definitely have in your kitchen. Depending on the type of parasite, salt and soda are usually sprinkled into the soil to protect the plants and roots from flies and other pests.

The dose depends on the size of the plant, so trees and bushes will need more than a flower. 

18. Nettle 

Nettle grows everywhere in the wild, it can be found in every forest or field. Although it is considered to be unpleasant due to its painful sting, nettle may be helpful when dealing with pests such as ticks and aphids. It can also be used to prevent mold on crops. 

To prepare, chop the plant, including the root, until you have a total of 1 kilogram. Soak overnight in a bucket and strain the water. 

To use, dilute the mix with water in proportions 1:20, then spray the plants and soil. Nettle spray is also a great biostimulant. 

19. Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a useful raw material for making aphid insecticides. If you have rhubarb growing in your garden, take the stems (you will need 1 kilogram) and boil for 20 minutes.

Then let it cool down and leave it to infuse for 24 hours. Strain the rhubarb water and apply it directly to the plant

20. Mustard 

The effects of the mustard spray are similar to those of vinegar. This works well with protecting plant bulbs and decontaminating seeds. To prepare, take 2 teaspoons of mustard powder and mix with a couple of tablespoons of hot water. As a result, you will get a soft substance for seed decontamination. Put a thin piece of fabric onto the mustard and then lay out the seeds on top of the fabric. 

For preparing a spray, take a bucket of hot water and put 100 grams of mustard or mustard powder into the water, then stir thoroughly. Let the concoction rest for 1-2 nights and mix with one more bucket of water. Mustard helps get rid of insects such as weevils and moths.

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