Country Living

DIY Pesticide Alternatives

You’ve worked hard to build your garden. Countless hours have gone into planning, planting and nurturing it. So it’s frustrating to check on your vegetables and flowers only to find some unwanted pests eating away at your hard work. It can be tempting to head to the store and grab the first pesticide you see, but most pesticides contain harmful toxins.

Try a more holistic approach before you reach for intense and often dangerous pesticides. Natural pesticides have been used by farmers for hundreds of years, most of which can probably be made with items that you already have on hand. Fortunately, they don’t come with any hazard warnings.

Garlic and Onion Spray

The best part of this natural pesticide is that you probably already have these two items in your pantry or kitchen. Almost all pests dislike the potent flavors of garlic and onion. Here’s how you make it. Mince one clove of garlic and one medium-sized onion and add them to one quart of water. Let them sit for an hour, then add one teaspoon of cayenne pepper and one tablespoon of liquid soap, and you’re good to go. Store it in the refrigerator, and the mixture will stay good for up to a week.

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil has become a popular ingredient in natural products these days, but did you know it’s a natural deterrent for bees, wasps and pesky flies? All you have to do is add a few drops to the area where the insects are most prevalent, and they will begin to dissipate. When purchasing your oil, make sure it’s only eucalyptus oil. If it comes mixed with anything, such as spearmint, it might not be as effective.

Tobacco Spray

Everyone knows that tobacco is not healthy. Turns out, it’s also poisonous to pests. In fact, tobacco spray was once a common pesticide for caterpillars, aphids and other unwanted insects. To create your own spray, mix one cup of organic tobacco (which can be purchased at your local farm supply store or farmer’s market) into one gallon of water. After 24 hours the mixture should have a light brown color. If the color is darker, you may need to add more water. Use the spray on plants except those in the solanaceous family (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, potatoes, etc). Nicotine is naturally present in these plants and using any additional nicotine may harm them.

Salt Spray

If you’re having problems with spider mites or cabbage worms, a simple salt concoction is the perfect natural fix. Mix one gallon of warm water with two tablespoons of crystal salt. Once your mix is complete, pour it into a spray bottle, and spray generously along the roots of the affected plants. Then, get back to enjoying your plants and gardening.

Orange Citrus Soap Spray

Having a problem with ants, cockroaches and slugs? This spray will help. All it takes is mixing three tablespoons of Castille soap and one ounce of orange essential oil to one gallon of water. Shake well and start spraying!

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