Community Education on Environment and Development

Homemade Organic Pesticides

Many people wonder, ”If I don’t use commercial pesticides, how will I control those nasty bugs?” Well, the answer lies in your own kitchen cupboards. This information sheet will give you a variety of recipes for non-toxic solutions guaranteed to remove unwanted pests.

Always test your plants first, spraying only one or two leaves. Wait 24-48 hours to ensure there is no damage to your plants. To avoid plant “burn,” use these recipes in the early morning or in the cool of evening.

Although these recipes are organic, some of the ingredients (hot peppers) can be irritating to your skin, eyes and nose. Remember to protect your skin and face when spraying or using these solutions.

All Purpose Bug Spray

1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
1 quart liquid soap

Mix directly into a spray container. Do not spray in direct sunlight as leaf damage may occur. Spray, then let sit for 20 minutes. Spray plant down with clear water to reduce foliage damage. Spray every 3 days for 2 weeks.

Alcohol sprays work on aphids, mealy bugs, scale insects, thrips and whiteflies. Alcohol sprays can also be used on houseplants and tropical foliage plants.

Orange Peel Spray

1 orange peel
2 cups of boiling water
1 tsp of liquid soap

Pour boiling water over the orange peelings. Let steep for about 24 hours. Remove the peels and strain the mixture into a glass jar. Mix in a few drops of castile soap and spray.

Orange spray can be used as a treatment for soft bodied pests such as aphids, fungus gnats, mealy bugs and as an ant repellant.

Garlic Spray

3 whole cayenne peppers
1 large onion
1 whole bulb of garlic
1/4 cup of water

In a blender combine the cayenne peppers, onion and garlic with a little water. Cover this mixture with a gallon of water, let stand 24 hours and then strain. Use the liquid as a spray for roses, azaleas, and vegetables to kill an infestation of bugs. Bury the pulp among the plants where insects occur.

Horseradish Spray

3 quarts of water
2 cups of cayenne peppers
1” piece of chopped horseradish root

Bring water to a boil add cayenne peppers and horseradish root. Let mixture steep for 1 hour, cool, strain and spray.

Horseradish spray is excellent for removing aphids, beetles, caterpillars, whiteflies and soft-bodied insects.

Oil Spray

1 tbs of liquid dishwashing soap
1 cup of vegetable oil

Combine dishwashing soap and vegetable oil. Mix 2 teaspoons of the soap and oil blend with one cup of water. Apply to affected plants.

Oil spray can help controls ants, aphids, earwigs, June bugs, leafhoppers, squash bugs and whiteflies.

Tobacco Spray

1 cup of tobacco
1 gallon of water

Place loose tobacco into a container of water. Allow the mixture to set for 24 hours. After 24 hours, the mixture should look like a weak cup of tea and you should be able to see the bottom of the container through the liquid. If the mixture is too dark, dilute it with water until you get the desired results.

Tobacco spray is especially useful for controlling caterpillars, aphids, and worms.

WARNING: Don't use this solution on peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, or any other member of the solanaceous family. Chemicals used in manufacturing tobacco can kill these types of plants!

Tomato or Potato Leaf Spray

2 cups of chopped tomato leaves
2 pints of water
1/4 tsp of liquid soap

Soak tomato leaves in water overnight. Strain this mixture then add another pint of water and liquid soap. Spray foliage and soil as needed. This spray will help to repel asparagus beetles and flea beetles. It will also kill earworms and maggots and acts as an antifeedent for other insects.

Spearmint-Hot Pepper-Horseradish Spray

1/2 cup of red peppers (hot) water
1/2 cup of fresh spearmint
1/2 cup horseradish (root and leaves)
2 tbs of liquid detergent
1/2 cup green onion tops

Mix the spearmint leaves, horseradish, onion tops and peppers together with enough water to cover everything. Strain the solution. Add a half-gallon of water along with the detergent. To use mix 1/2 gallon of this solution with 1/2 gallon of water. You can then spray almost any plant safely. Store this mixture for a few days in a cool environment.

Weed Killer

1 lb salt
1 gallon boiling water

Mix salt and water together, use hot by pouring over weeds.

Yarrow Tea

1 cup of yarrow plant pieces
16 ounces of water
1 gallon of water
2 cups of strongly brewed coffee
1/4 tsp of liquid soap

Yarrow has insecticidal properties and is also an excellent natural fertilizer. Soak yarrow plant pieces in water for 24 hours or more. Brew it in the sun like tea. Strain and mix with water. Add coffee and soap and mix well.

Yarrow tea is effective on aphids and other soft bodied pests.

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