3 Natural Recipes for Homemade Pesticide
Always use caution when making your own pesticides at home from readily available products, and read warning labels on substances that may come in contact with your skin, face, nose or eyes. Consult with your local master gardeners or a university extension service to find out what homemade pesticides work best for bugs in your area.
Dishwashing Soap and Vegetable Oil
Diluted household detergents help keep away pests because it does not take much for insects to turn away from plants sprayed with dishwashing soap or other cleaning chemicals. Mix 1 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent with 1 cup vegetable oil. Shake the mixture well, and then add to 1 quart of water to make a spray. Use this mixture every 10 days as a way to repel flies, spider mites, aphids and other insects. The water allows the mixture to be sprayed, while the vegetable oil sticks to plant leaves. Test spray on a small leaf to see if sensitive plants can tolerate this pesticide.
Citrus juices, such as lemon juice, grapefruit extract or concentrated orange extract, provide astringency that insects and spiders do not appreciate. Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons of biodegradable dishwashing soap and 1 quart of water. Add a few drops of lemon juice, and spray on household or outdoor plants as an alternative. This spray may provide up to two months of protection against common pests.
Crushed Pepper Spray or Hot Sauce
Peppers represent plant-based pesticides that create substances toxic to insects. These plants developed this natural defense for this very purpose. Carefully steep 3 tablespoons of dry, crushed pepper in 1/2 cup of hot, but not boiling, water for 30 minutes. Strain the pepper, and mix the remaining liquid with 1 teaspoon of dishwashing detergent, 1 cup vegetable oil and 1 quart of water. Do not spray this on windy days, and avoid contact with eyes. As an alternative to crushed peppers, use hot sauce instead.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a list of organic chemicals approved for use on plants as pesticides, fungicides and antibacterial substances. Gardeners and farmers may juice extracts from beets, carrots, black currants, elderberries and red cabbages as pesticides. Combine any of these substances along with household detergents, hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol, and dilute them in water for effective sprays.
Homemade pesticides may come from several sources, including minerals, plants and easily found, nontoxic household chemicals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends what substances are used for organic farming, including sulfur, lime, soaps and hydrogen peroxide. Find out what substances you can use in your own home to control insects and other pests that may eat your plants.