Pesticides – Make Your Own Remedy!


After World War II, pesticides, specifically DDT, became available and both farmers and commercial greenhouses turned to it to control crop-destroying insects.

Unfortunately, its success resulted in substantial environmental and human damage. While DDT was forced off the market, it did not stop the chemical companies from developing a whole host of chemical pesticides, many of which now involve DNA modification. Neither did it stop them from championing the premise that their products were essential to keep these crop-destroying insects at bay.

Organic Pest Control

Since man began growing his own fruits, vegetables and ornamentals, natural ingredients have been used to keep pests under control. The fact of the matter is, you can make your own all-natural pesticides using simple ingredients and save money in the process.

While there are large selections of homemade remedies (not pesticides) to choose from, it’s important to select the right one for each plant species. The following recipes are designed to repel and discourage insects while sustaining a healthy environment for you, your plants and our planet.

Oil Mixture

The recipe for this is very quick and painless, and will specifically target pest eggs and immature bugs. You will want to spray the leaves and their undersides in an attempt to coat and cover the insects as they begin development.

You do need to be conscious of the liquid dish-washing soap that you use here (and other recipes) and pick one that you think is best. Things like scented, anti-bacterial and other specialized soaps may have an adverse effect on your plant so start off by testing your mixture on a small section of plant before engaging the entire plant.

  • 1 cup cooking oil ( i.e. canola or vegetable )
  • 1 tablespoon liquid dish-washing soap
  • Use 2 ½ teaspoons of this mixture in 1 cup of water

Mix all ingredients and pour into a large squirt bottle. Spray the oil mixture anywhere you have problem pests and ESPECIALLY where they lay their eggs!

Soap Mixture

This has the same basic idea of the Oil mixture but without the oil. You can also see that the mixture isn’t nearly as concentrated as the Oil mixture so you may want to increase the times you spray your plants to every 2-3 days for the next 2 weeks. The Soap mixture will cause the pests to become paralyzed and unable to eat forcing them to starve.
Spray the mixture on the leaves and undersides for most effective use.

  • A few teaspoons of liquid dish-washing soap
  • 1 gallon of water

Mix all ingredients and pour into a large squirt bottle. Spray the oil mixture anywhere you have problem pests.

Garlic/Pepper Mixture

This next mixture takes a little more time to prepare but will keep the bugs you have just gotten rid of, away for the season.

  • 1/2 cup hot peppers of your choice
  • 1/2 cup garlic cloves (onions will also do )
  • 2 cups water

Take all the ingredients and steep them in a container for 24 hours. Place the container in a sunny spot if possible. After 24 hours, strain the mixture into a spray bottle and spray your plants.

Tobacco or Nicotine Spray

We can’t forget that some types of bugs (known as beneficial insects) are actually good for our gardens so it is helpful to use pesticides that can target specific bugs. This tobacco mixture is great for caterpillars, aphids and most types of worms.

DO NOT use this mixture on peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, or any other member of the solanaceous family. Tobacco chemicals can kill these types of plants.

  • 1 cup of tobacco
  • gallon of water
  • 3 tablespoons of liquid dish soap

Similar to the Garlic/Pepper mixture, take the tobacco and mix it with the water and let them sit for 24 hours. After 24 hours check the color of the mixture; if it is very dark, dilute it with water; if the color is too light to see, let it sit a few more hours. Ideally the color will be similar to a light tea. When the color is right add the liquid dish soap and spray your plants.

Orange Peel Spray

This is another mixture that can target the bad bugs destroying your plants. It will work great against soft-bodied bugs suck as aphids, fungus gnats, mealy bugs and will also repel ants.

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • Peelings of on orange
  • A few drops castile soap

Take the boiling water and pour it over the orange peels and allow to sit for 24 hours. Take the mixture and strain it into a container and add the soap. Spray plants completely.

Tips for working with any home-made remedies:

  • Apply the pesticide on top of the leaves as well as underneath. Excess spraying can cause damage to plants.
  • Most recipes can be used effectively with just a weekly spray. Excessive spraying may affect the plant as well as kill the good insects you want to encourage in your garden (earthworms, bees, ladybugs, etc.). If you aren’t seeing results with a 7 day spray, you can bump it up to 5 days but watch the plant carefully to make sure it can handle it without being damaged.
  • Avoid spraying during hot sunny weather, spray later in the day to reduce the risk of plants burning.
  • If it looks like rain, delay spraying the plants until the weather is clear since any rain will wash away the new treatment. If it has recently rained, wait till the plants are dry before applying treatment to prevent the recipe being diluted with water.
  • When trying a new pesticide recipe on a plant, test a couple leaves before spraying the whole plant (spray then watch how the test leaves react after two or three days, if no signs of damage proceed with spraying the whole plant).

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