To apply, simply dust the ground around your plants, or even sprinkle it on the foliage, where it will help control snails and slugs as well as other crawling insects. Due to its dried nature, in order to be an effective natural pesticide, diatomaceous earth needs to be reapplied after every rain. Garlic is well-known for its pungent aroma, which is delectable to some and yet repellent to others, and it is this strong scent that comes into play when used as a natural insecticide. Actually, it's not really clear if garlic spray and chile spray below are actually insecticides or are more likely insect repellents, but either way, these common kitchen ingredients can be used to knock down, or even knock out, insect infestations in the garden.
To make a basic garlic spray, take 2 whole bulbs not just 2 cloves and puree them in a blender or food processor with a small amount of water. To use this homemade insecticide, use 1 cup of mixture with 1 quart of water and spray liberally on infested plants. Similar to garlic spray, chile pepper spray is a great homemade natural insect repellent that can be used for a variety of different pests. Chile spray can be made from either fresh hot peppers or chile pepper powder.
To make a basic chile spray from pepper powder, mix 1 tablespoon of chile powder with 1 quart of water and several drops of mild liquid soap. This mixture can be used full-strength on the leaves of affected plants. Let sit until cooled, then strain out the chile material, add several drops of liquid soap to it and spray as desired. Hot chile peppers can be very potent on humans as well, so be sure to wear gloves when handling them, and keep any sprays made from them away from eyes, nose, and mouth.
There's nothing like having a home garden to make you begin to Another, far less time-intensive method of knocking back insect . Star Wars weed control 12 groups of companion plants to make your vegetable garden. Vegetable garden pest control begins with basic good gardening common sense, such as choosing varieties that are resistant to pests in your region, preparing.
From the folks at Rodale's Organic Life comes this all-in-one DIY natural insecticide, which is said to be a combination of many different recipes submitted by readers. To make it, puree 1 bulb of garlic and 1 small onion, add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder and let steep for an hour. Strain the mixture and add 1 tablespoon of liquid soap and mix well. To apply this homemade insecticide, spray it full-strength onto both the upper surface of the leaves, as well as the undersides, and store the remainder in the refrigerator for up to a week if desired.
I have to admit that this one is new to me, but I've seen enough mentions of it now to warrant its inclusion here as a natural pesticide. Tomato plants are part of the nightshade family, and as such, contain alkaloids such as the aptly named "tomatine," which can effectively control aphids and other insects. To make tomato leaf spray for a natural insecticide, chop 2 cups of fresh tomato leaves which can be taken from the bottom part of the plant into 1 quart of water, and let steep overnight. Strain out the plant material and spray onto plant foliage.
Although there are many more natural pesticides available, such as Bt a soil microbe toxic to certain insects , milky spore also a microbe , nicotine extracted as a tea from bulk tobacco , pyrethrum derived from a variety of daisy , and iron phosphate a natural mineral toxic to slugs and snails , the above natural and homemade insecticide recipes should give you a good starting point for creating your own version. Every organic gardener seems to have their own particular blend and ratio of ingredients, so by paying close attention to the effects of a specific recipe, it's possible to modify it to best suit your own insect battles.
Just remember, killing off all of the insects in your garden is not the desired result here, as any healthy ecosystem requires an abundance of beneficial insects, microbes, and fungi, both in the soil and on the plants themselves, so introducing other predatory insects ladybugs, praying mantis, etc. Can't get enough TreeHugger? Sign up now and have it sent straight to your inbox. Daily and Weekly newsletters available. Email Address Email is required. Save your garden without killing the Earth. Related Content on Treehugger. Kill the weeds without killing the Earth. Think no-dig gardening is nonsense?
Why you shouldn't buy ladybugs for natural pest control in your garden. How to grow green beans, even with a brown thumb. But if it is damaging your plants, simply pick it off. Also consider that doing nothing at all--letting nature take its course--is often the best approach.
Always use simple, noninvasive remedies first. Sometimes pest problems are not adequately managed by natural, cultural or mechanical control methods. Insecticides are often the only control option that remains.
The prime factors in determining pesticide safety are:. Remember, in a vegetable garden it is virtually impossible to spray just the one thing you want to spray. Other crops perhaps ready to pick are always nearby, so you want to stay away from insecticides that don't break down quickly. Choose an insecticide that is as specific to the pest at hand as possible and then use as little as possible.
If only one spray will do the job, use only one spray.
For the long-term health of your garden, the less spray you use, the better. Remember, too, that just because an insecticide has a botanical origin or is considered acceptable to organic gardeners, it still contains a toxin and is not automatically safe for humans. Gardeners today have at their disposal a handful of effective and safe pesticides. When you have to spray to save your crop, here are the insecticides to consider using, with their characteristics, positive and negative. The bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis Bt was identified in by the biologist E.
Berliner, who found it infecting pupae of the Mediterranean flour moth and other insect larvae living in grain warehouses in the German town of Thuringia.
It wasn't until the s, however, that entomologists learned how to make it into a powerful and very pest-specific insecticide. Advantages of Bt include safety--it is essentially nontoxic to humans, other mammals and birds.
The label specifies no waiting period between application and harvest. It is also highly selective so is easily incorporated with existing natural controls. A limitation of Bt is its slow action. After pests consume it, their feeding slows down.
But their death won't occur for two to five days. Bt is also perishable. Most formulations are less effective after a few years of storage. Bt exists naturally in most soils. Different strains of Bt occur that produce protein crystals toxic to certain insects. The strain for most caterpillars is B. Commercially prepared Bt spray or powder has no effect on adult butterflies or moths. Remember, however, that not all caterpillars are pests. Strains of Bt have been developed for a few other pests. Some leaf-feeding beetles including Colorado potato beetles are susceptible to B.
Because Bt is a near-perfect insecticide, there is danger of overuse. Any overused insecticide will gradually become less effective as insects evolve defenses to it. Some insect pests, such as the diamondback moth and Indian meal moth, were once susceptible and are now at least partially immune to Bt.
Bt is in the news because plant scientists have learned how to insert its genes into corn plants making the entire plant toxic to corn earworm. While Bt is favored and accepted by all organic gardeners, genetically engineering Bt toxins into other plants is not. Diatomaceous Earth DE This is a powder-like dust made of the silicate skeletons of tiny marine creatures called diatoms. Millions of years ago as they died, their skeletons gradually accumulated into deep layers that are mined today from deposits where oceans or large lakes once covered the land. DE acts like ground glass, cutting into the waxy coat of insects and causing them to dry out and die.
It is not toxic if eaten, but is irritating if inhaled. DE is available in two different forms. One form is used primarily in swimming pool filters. It is not an effective insecticide and is dangerous to inhale it can cause a lung disease called silicosis. In your garden, use only the natural grade of DE. Still, it is wise to wear goggles and a dust mask during application.
Dust DE onto leaves and stems to control pests such as aphids, Colorado potato beetle, immature forms of squash bug, Mexican bean beetle or whitefly.
Or spread it as a barrier to slugs and snails. It works best in dry situations. It is not selective and kills spiders and beneficials as well as pests. Dusts are among the oldest types of insecticides, but the newest kinds are very carefully designed for maximum efficiency. Only one type is currently available to home gardeners, Surround At Home.
It's made of an engineered kaolin clay. Applied with a pressurized sprayer, it coats plant leaves making them less familiar and less comfortable to pests. Since these are not insecticides, there is no danger of a pest developing resistance. And the kaolin, a common ingredient in medicines, is non toxic. Horticultural Oils These are most often highly refined extracts of crude oil.
Some vegetable oils, such as cottonseed and soybean oil, are also sometimes used. They are increasingly recommended for vegetable garden pest control because they present few risks to either gardeners or desirable species and integrate well with natural biological controls.
Also, oils dissipate quickly through evaporation, leaving little residue. Oils kill insects by plugging the pores through which they breathe. Spray oils in vegetable gardens to kill aphids, leafhoppers, spider mites and whiteflies. A few drops of oil in the ear tips of corn controls corn earworm.
Insecticidal Soaps These are specific fatty acids that have been found by experiment to be toxic to pests, primarily soft-bodied insects such as aphids, mealybugs, spider mites and whiteflies. Surprisingly, adult Japanese beetles are also susceptible. Most nontarget insects are unaffected, and toxicity to animals is nonexistent. Soap insecticides act fast and leave no residue. You can use them on vegetables up to the moment of harvest.
Advantages of soaps to home gardeners include safety to both the applicator and nontarget insects. They a selective, so are easily incorporated with other, natural biological controls. Some plants, such as peas, are readily burned by soaps, and their effectiveness is greatly reduced if mixed with hard water.
Don't use liquid dishwashing detergents or hand soaps. Though many will kill insects, they might hurt the plants, too. Some fatty acids are toxic to plants, the reason a soap-based weed killer is now available. Dish soap manufacturers change the oils used in their formulations regularly, based on cost and availability, so the brand that worked fine for your neighbor last year might severely stunt your Brussels sprouts this year. Neem This is an extract derived from the crushed seeds of the tropical neem tree Azadirachta indica.
Though intensely studied for many years now, it is still a new botanical insecticide. The primary active ingredient is the compound azadirachtin, although the oils and other ingredients also have some insecticidal effect. According to EPA regulations, neem is exempt from food crop tolerances because it is considered nontoxic.
Neem works both as an insecticide and as an antifeedant. It kills insects in the juvenile stage by thwarting their development, and is most effective against aphids, thrips and whiteflies. There is no quick knockdown with neem, but a week or so after application, you'll notice a steady decline in the number of pests. It is not effective against adult insects though it may interfere with egg production , and has little impact on beneficial insects.
As an antifeedant, neem is effective against Japanese beetles. Apply neem before the beetles appear and reapply after rainfall. Once beetle numbers build up on the plant, neem no longer discourages them. Neem sprays degrade very quickly in water.