Spider mites, aphids and other pests can cause considerable damage to flowers and food plants (that is fruits and vegetables). These creatures attack your garden in swarms, literally draining the life from your crops and often inviting disease in the process.
Many chemical pesticides can prove unsafe for the environment or may make crops unsafe for consumption, however.
Thankfully, there are many homemade, organic options for you to turn to in your “war” on pests.
We selected these 7 for your garden:
Method 1: Using neem oil
1. Combine ½ ounce (15 milliliters) of neem oil with half a teaspoon (2 1/2 milliliters) of mild soap. Many believe neem oil, which comes from a bitter tree leaf, to be one of the most effective natural pesticides in existence.
2. Mix the neem and soap into 2 quarts (2 liters) of warm water. Stir slowly, but thoroughly.
3. Pour the pesticide into a spray bottle. Use it immediately, dousing the entire plant and focusing on spots where you can clearly see pests or signs of pests.
Method 2: Using cooking oil
1. Select a mild liquid dish-washing soap. Avoid anti-bacterial, scented and other specialized soaps, since these may damage your plants.
2. Mix 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) of your selected soap with 1 cup (250 milliliters) cooking oil in a small bowl. Use either canola or vegetable oil.
3. Combine 2 and ½ teaspoons (12 milliliters) of this oil mixture into 1 cup (250 milliliters) of water. Mix thoroughly.
4. Pour this new mixture into a large squirt bottle. Give the mixture another shake inside the bottle to combine it more thoroughly.
5. Test the mix by spraying it onto a small portion of your plant. This step allows you to make sure that the mix will not cause more harm than good. If the section of the plant you test the spray on wilts or changes color, try using a different soap for this pesticide (or another type of pesticide for that matter).
6. Spray the mixture anywhere you have encountered problems. If you tested your solution and it did not cause any harm to your plant, spray it around your entire plant, including the undersides of leaves. Focus on areas where pests lay their eggs, since an oil spray is designed to target eggs and immature bugs.
Method 3: Using soap
1. Opt for a mild liquid dish-washing soap. The milder your soap is, the less likely it is to have a harmful effect on your plants. Stay away from anti-bacterial, scented and other specialized soaps.
2. Mix a few teaspoons (10 to 15 milliliters) of your selected soap into 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of water. Combine the soap and water using your hands or a large spoon.
3. Pour the solution into a large squirt bottle. You may not be able to fit all of the solution into a bottle, but you should use the largest bottle you can find to make use of as much of the solution as possible.
4. Spray the entire plant. Cover the top and undersides of leaves, focusing on the areas that seem the most overcome. This spray works by paralyzing insects, that is making them unable to eat.
5. Continue to spray your plants every two to three days for the next 2 weeks. Since this pesticide is fairly diluted, continued application is the only way to ensure that the infestation eventually ends.
Method 4: Using tobacco
1. Mix 1 cup (250 milliliters) of tobacco into 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of water. Tobacco is useful in targeting caterpillars, aphids and worms, but it is not safe to use it on peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, or any member of the solanaceous plant family.
2. Sit the mixture out in the sun or in another warm location. Allow it to rest for 24 hours.
3. Check the color of the mixture. Ideally, the pesticide will look similar to the hue of a light tea. If it is too dark, dilute it with water. If it is too light to see, allow it to sit an additional few hours.
4. Add 3 tablespoons (45 milliliters) of mild liquid dish soap to the solution. Mix thoroughly.
5. Pour the mixture into a large squirt bottle. Shake the solution inside the bottle once more to combine it further.
6. Spray the infested plants. Focus on areas that show the most damage, but also cover spots that still seem in good condition.
Method 5: Using oranges
1. Peel an orange. If you do not have a fresh orange, use 1.5 teaspoons (7.4 milliliters) of dried citrus peels or ½ ounce (15 milliliters) of orange oil. Citrus is especially helpful in targeting soft-bodied bugs, including slugs, aphids, fungus gnats and mealy bugs. When sprayed directly onto the pests, this pesticide also works against ants and roaches.
2. Place the peels into a glass container and pour 2 cups (500 milliliters) of boiling water over the peels. Allow the solution to sit in a warm spot around the clock (24 hours).
3. Add a few drops of castile soap. Peppermint-scented castile soap may prove especially effective. Mix the solution thoroughly to combine.
Method 6: Using chrysanthemums
1. Combine ½ cup (113 grams) of dried chrysanthemums with 4 cups (1 liter) of water. Chrysanthemums contain a chemical component called pyrethrum, which is capable of paralyzing many garden insects.
2. Boil the mixture for 20 minutes. Boiling the mixture releases the pyrethrum into the water.
3. Pour the solution through a strainer. Remove the dried flowers and save the infused water.
4. Pour the pesticide into a spray bottle and treat plants. Focus on the most damaged areas before moving onto less damaged areas. Cover the entire plant, including the undersides of leaves.
5. Store the solution up to 2 months. After that period, it may no longer be effective.
Method 7: Using hot vegetables
1. Combine ½ cup (113 grams) of hot peppers with ½ cup (113 grams) of garlic cloves or onions. You may also use both onions and garlic. All the vegetables should be chopped prior to their use.
2. Blend the vegetables together in an electric blender. A thick, chunky paste should form after the blending.
3. Add the vegetable paste to 2 cups (500 milliliters) of warm water. Thoroughly mix the ingredients together.
4. Pour the solution into a plastic or glass container and allow it to sit for 24 hours. If possible, keep it in a sunny location. If not, at least keep the mixture in a warm spot.
5. Strain the mixture. Pour the solution through a strainer, removing the vegetables and collecting the vegetable-infused water into another container. This water is your pesticide.
6. Pour your pesticide into a squirt bottle. Make sure that the spray bottle has first been thoroughly cleaned with warm water and disinfected with soap to rid it of any potential contaminants.
7. Spray your plants with the pesticide. Treat the infected plants every four to five days. After three or four treatments, the pests should scatter. If the area is thoroughly covered, this pesticide should keep bugs away for the rest of the season.
A tip: You can create a more potent pesticide by combining different organic pesticide solutions. For instance, neem oil can be added to a chrysanthemum spray.
Warning: Many pesticides, especially tobacco and soap-based sprays, can cause damage to certain plants. Test your pesticide on a small portion of a plant before wetting the entire thing. This way, you can see whether or not a certain pesticide is likely to cause more harm than good.
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Ever wonder what farmers did hundreds of years ago to fight off crop pests? Long before the invention of harmful chemical pesticides (yes, the kind that is linked to cancerous cellular activity), farmers and householders came up with multiple remedies for removing insect infestations from their garden plants.
The following list will offer some of our favorite, all-natural, inexpensive, organic methods for making bug-busting pesticides for your home garden. Make sure to buy certified organic ingredients or, obviously, your pesticide won’t be organic!
Ancient Indians highly revered neem oil as a powerful, all-natural plant for warding off pests. Neem juice is even one the most powerful natural pesticides on the planet, containing over 50 natural insecticides. You can use this extremely bitter tree leaf to make a natural pesticidal spray.
To make neem oil spray, add 1/2 ounce of high-quality organic neem oil and 1/2 teaspoon of a mild organic liquid soap (I use Dr. Bronners Peppermint) to two quarts of warm water. Stir slowly. Add to a spray bottle and use immediately.
2. Salt Spray
For treating plants infested with spider mites, mix 2 tablespoons of Himalayan crystal salt into 1 gallon of warm water and spray on infected areas.
3. Mineral Oil
Mix 10 to 30 ml of high-grade organic mineral oil with one liter of water. Stir and add to spray bottle. This organic pesticide works well for dehydrating insects and their eggs.
4. Citrus Oil & Cayenne Pepper
This combination works well on ants. Mix 10 drops of citrus essential oil with 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1 cup of warm water. Shake well and spray on the affected areas.
5. Soap, Orange Citrus Oil, & Water
To make this natural pesticide, simply mix 3 tablespoons of liquid organic Castile soap with 1 ounce of Orange oil to one gallon of water. Shake well. This is an especially effective treatment against slugs and can be sprayed directly on ants and roaches.
6. Eucalyptus Oil
A great natural pesticide for flies, bees, and wasps. Simply sprinkle a few drops of eucalyptus oil where the insects are found. They will all be gone before you know it.
7. Onion & Garlic Spray
Mince 1 organic clove of garlic and 1 medium-sized organic onion. Add to 1 quart of water. Wait an hour and then add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 1 tablespoon of liquid Castile soap to the mix. This organic spray will hold its potency for one week if stored in the refrigerator.
8. Chrysanthemum Flower Tea
These flowers hold a powerful plant chemical component called pyrethrum. This substance invades the nervous system of insects, rendering them immobile. You can make your own spray by boiling 100 grams of dried flowers into 1 liter of water. Boil dried flowers in water for twenty minutes. Strain, cool, and pour into a spray bottle. It can be stored for up to two months. You can also add some organic neem oil to enhance the effectiveness.
9. Tobacco Spray
Just as tobacco is hazardous to humans, tobacco spray was once a commonly used pesticide for killing pests, caterpillars, and aphids. Mix 1 cup of organic tobacco (preferably a brand that is organic and all-natural) into 1 gallon of water. Allow the mixture to set overnight. After 24 hours, the mix should have a light brown color. If it is very dark, add more water. This mix can be used on most plants, except those in the solanaceous family (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc.)
10. Chile Pepper & Diatomaceous Earth
Grind 2 handfuls of dry chiles into a fine powder and mix with one cup of diatomaceous earth. Add to 2 liters of water and let sit overnight. Shake well before applying.
If you know some easy recipes for making your own organic pesticides, we would love to hear them. If you are concerned about your exposure to chemicals in your home or the environment, consider performing a cleanse. While many cleanses will help, I recommend our Chemical and Heavy Metal Cleanse Program™. This 30-day program will detoxify your body from harmful heavy metals and toxic chemicals using zeolite-based liquid extract (Heavy Metal & Chemical Cleanse) and Dr. Group’s Organic Detox Foot Pads™.
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Organic garden pest control is on the minds of many gardeners these days. Natural home pesticides are not only easy to make, they are cheaper and safer than many products you can buy on store shelves. Let’s take a look at some natural insect repellents you can make for the garden.
How to Make Natural Pesticide
The best way to make natural pesticide is to use natural products that you have laying around your house. Garden pests are repelled or killed by a surprising number of safe and natural products. Here are a few natural insect repellent recipes:
Organic Garden Pest Control Recipe #1
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL.) dish soap (Note: do not use a dish soap that contains bleach)
- 2 tablespoons (29.5 mL.) mineral or vegetable oil
- 2 cups (480 mL.) water
Peel the garlic cloves and puree the cloves along with the oil and water. Allow to sit over night and then strain the mixture. Add the soap and mix toughly. Pour into a spray bottle and use on pest infected plants.
Organic Garden Pest Control Recipe #2
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL.) vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons (29.5 mL.) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL.) dish soap or Murphy Oil (Note: do not use a dish soap that contains bleach)
- 2 quarts (1 L.) of water
Combine ingredients and pour into a spray bottle. Use this organic bug spray on your affected plants.
Organic Garden Pest Control Recipe #3
- 1/2 cup (120 mL.) chopped hot peppers (the hotter the better)
- 2 cups (480 mL.) water
- 2 tablespoons (29.5 mL.) dish soap (Note: do not use a dish soap that contains bleach)
Puree peppers and water. Let sit overnight. Strain carefully (this will burn your skin) and mix in dish soap. Pour into a spray bottle and spray this organic bug spray on your buggy plants.
Natural home pesticides are exactly like chemical pesticides in one very important way. Organic bug spray for plants will kill any bug it comes in contact with, whether a pest bug or a beneficial bug. It is always best before mixing up any natural insect repellent recipes to think hard how much damage pests are really doing to your garden.
You may be doing more damage to your plants by killing the bugs than the bugs were doing to your plants.
BEFORE USING ANY HOMEMADE MIX: It should be noted that anytime you use a home mix, you should always test it out on a small portion of the plant first to make sure that it will not harm the plant. Also, avoid using any bleach-based soaps or detergents on plants since this can be harmful to them. In addition, it is important that a home mixture never be applied to any plant on a hot or bright sunny day, as this will quickly lead to burning of the plant and its ultimate demise.
Garlic makes an excellent economical, non-toxic pesticide for the garden . It has natural fungicidal and pesticidal properties that work effectively to control pests. For maximum efficacy in pest control, avoid using any chemical fertilizers. Fertilizers diminish the capacity of vital ingredients in garlic to fight pests. Aphids, ants, termites, white flies, beetles, borers, caterpillars, slugs, and army worms are some of the pests that can be suitably controlled using garlic.
TIP: Our expert gardening advisor, Susan Patterson adds, “Healthy soil will draw beneficial insects and work in combination with garlic to repel the bad insects. Keep your soil healthy by using plenty of organic matter, allowing adequate drainage and keeping the garden weed free.”
Obtain five medium-sized garlic bulbs. Extract the cloves and remove the outer skin. Use a garlic press to crush to very small bits. Alternatively, crush using a mortar and pestle. Mix with 1/2-liter of water. Allow the mixture to soak for at least six hours. Add in some dish washing soap. It is best to use a potash-based soap, as one that is too caustic will harm the plants. Use a fine cloth to strain the mixture. Place in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. When ready to use, dilute the mixture in 4 liters of water. It is best to use it immediately after preparation. When stored for a long time, it loses its potency.
For easy application, place the desired amount in a spray bottle. Spray the plant parts once a week to give protection against insects. If rains are present, you need to spray twice a week. Of course, garlic has an extremely strong taste. Once sprayed, the taste will remain on the plant for about a month. It is a good idea not to spray too close to harvesting time, as it may interfere with food flavors.
Also, garlic is a broad-spectrum pesticide, so be careful to spray only the plant parts that are infested. This will help minimize destruction of beneficial insects.
You can effectively control nematodes using garlic tea as a soil drench. It will be absorbed by the plant roots and repel Japanese beetles, codling moths, carrot flies and root maggots. It also kills slugs and snails. It is very effective in keeping away deer and rabbits from flowers in the garden. Although effective, the drench is also likely to destroy beneficial, as well as harmful insects and soil bacteria.
Inter-Cropping With Garlic
This involves growing two or more crops simultaneously on the same site. The benefit of using garlic in mixed cropping is that it effectively repels harmful pests while retaining beneficial ones. If you grow tomatoes, plant some garlic to prevent red spider mites from attacking your crop. Plant garlic around your apple or peach trees to repel fruit borers. Plant garlic if you have cabbages to reduce infestations by the diamond back moth. If planted near roses, it repels aphids which frequently attack the plant.
Garlic does not seem to have a beneficial effect when planted with legumes, peas, and potatoes. Avoid planting next to these crops.
TIP: Susan recommends, “Plant garlic in the fall for best results.”
All-natural is always the best option, especially when it comes to fruit and vegetable gardens. This guide for using garlic as a pesticide will help you do just that!
Whether they result in ants in the kitchen, mosquitoes in the backyard or aphids in the garden, pest infestations irritate every homeowner. Before you reach for that can of bug spray, consider that pesticide toxicity is a real danger that causes serious health problems. Long-term exposure significantly increases the risk of developing liver and nerve damage, cancerous tumors and reproductive disorders. One of the most dangerous delivery systems is high-pressure fogging, because you inhale toxic chemicals that are then readily absorbed into your bloodstream. (See References 5, pages 4-5) Organic pest control is an ideal alternative to the poisonous concoctions in commercial pesticides, because natural products are biodegradable and safe to use around children, pets and plants.
Fill a 16 oz. spray bottle with water and add 3 tbsp. peppermint-scented liquid castile soap. Shake to mix well, and then spray directly on crawling bugs, such as ants, pincher bugs and spiders. (See References 2, page 168)
Blend 1 1/2 tsp. citrus peels, 1/2 cup bay leaves and 1/2 cup peppermint leaves in a blender or food processor until they are finely chopped. Add 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1 1/2 tsp. diatomaceous earth, 1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1 1/2 tsp. pyrethrum powder and 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Grind the mixture in the food processor or with a mortar and pestle until you have dust, and then store the powder in a glass jar with a lid. This all-purpose pesticide works on ants, fleas and flies; sprinkle it along baseboards and behind counters. (See References 1, page 245)
Shred 1 lb. neem leaves in a blender, pour in enough water to cover the leaves and let them soak overnight. Strain the liquid through a piece of natural muslin into a 5-quart container, and discard the pulp. Add 3 to 4 quarts water, then drop in 1 tsp. unscented liquid castile soap. Seal the container, and store it in a dark place. Pour some of the solution into a spray bottle, and spray both sides of the leaves of the affected plants to kill aphids and other mites. When working with neem products, use the prepared mixture within three to four days and re-treat plants after seven days. (See References 3, page 478)
Combine 1 cup borax, 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar and 1 cup cornmeal in a bowl, and mix until thoroughly blended. Sprinkle this mixture in drawers, under sinks, behind the refrigerator, along baseboards and in cabinets to eliminate roaches. (See References 4, page 57)
Put 1 pint of basil leaves in a glass jar, and cover them with water. Secure the lid, and let the jar sit overnight. Strain the mixture through a piece of muslin, discard the leaves and pour the infusion into a spray bottle. Spray to repel fruit flies and mosquitoes. (See References 1, pages 251-252)
Organic pesticides help to preserve the safety and integrity of your plants, without having to resort to dangerous chemicals. Learn how to make organic pesticide at home and keep the beauty of your plants and the well-being of your garden intact.
What is an organic pesticide
Organic pesticide is one of the mandatory elements that every gardener must have in order to grow and care for a garden . It is a specific compound that is free of harmful chemicals and protects the growth of plants from all types of insects that live on the land or in its flowers and vegetables, including worms, mites and other parasites. There are several types of organic pesticides that are for sale in nurseries and in specialized garden stores, however, you can also make an organic pesticide without leaving your home.
What materials are needed to make an organic pesticide
To successfully make an organic pesticide at home, it is necessary to gather the following materials:
- An empty and clean bottle
- A spray bottle with spray nozzle
- A blender
- A funnel
- A clean cloth
- A 4-liter pot, pot or jar
- Two small onions
- A jalapeno pepper
- A clove of garlic
- A piece of cleaning soap
How to make an organic pesticide in practice
The preparation of an organic pesticide in your home is an easy task and can be done by anyone. To do this correctly, it is necessary to follow the following 6 steps:
1. Heat and prepare the water
To start making an organic pesticide, you need to add approximately 4 liters of water to be heated. Afterwards, when the water is very hot, you should pour it into a pot, pot or a specific jar.
2. Cut the vegetables
After gathering all the vegetables necessary for making an organic pesticide, it is necessary to cut them into small pieces. They do not need to be geometrically cut, as they will not be served at any meal. That way, you should chop the two onions, half the garlic and ¾ of the jalapeño pepper. These ingredients are essential for making an organic pesticide, since they kill harmful insects that can invade a garden .
3. Mix all the vegetables and put them in water
Once you have cut all the vegetables, you should mix them in a blender until you have a liquid without lumps. Then, pour the pasty preparation into the pan of hot water and let it stand for approximately 20 minutes. This “soup” will be the basis of an organic pesticide and, at this stage, the tastes and odors will be very strong. Many gardeners add ¼ of a cup of vinegar to vegetables, as they consider vinegar to be the ideal ingredient to make the soil surface of plants more acidic, preventing pests from laying eggs.
4. Filter the vegetables
As soon as the odors and flavors of the vegetables are mixed in the water, the preparation needs to be filtered into a jug. At this point, you can use a funnel and a clean piece of cloth to prevent the passage of the vegetables and to filter them. You can also use another type of filters, such as the coffee filter, but the cloth offers the best results. Please note that the preparation that accumulates in the filter cloth can be extracted into a jug and the rest can be thrown away or placed in a compost pile to make organic fertilizer .
5. Add cleaning soap
Add a piece of cleaning soap to the preparation that has been filtered. The soap will make the plants have an unpleasant taste and odor for insects and this is an asset in terms of their protection. However, you should buy a soap made with petroleum, perfumed, with dyes and biodegradable to be more environmentally friendly. By following all these steps, you will be able to make a very effective organic pesticide to combat all types of pests and insects that endanger the beauty of your plants.
6. Apply the organic pesticide
Use a funnel to fill the spray bottle with organic pesticide and cover it with the respective spray tip. The remaining liquid should be stored in a cool place for a maximum period of two weeks. If it is necessary to use it again, just shake it well. After filling the spray bottle with organic pesticide, apply it on the plants of your garden. You must spray the organic pesticide on the entire plant, including the soil, the trunk and the leaves, so that it is as effective as possible. Note that the organic pesticide must be applied for 3 or 4 sessions and these must be separated from each other for a period of 4 or 5 days. This is undoubtedly one of the best treatments to eradicate all types of pests and insects that hinder the growth of plants in your garden.
The number of people who experience some kind of discomfort when using cleaning products, chemicals or paints is growing today. For this reason, when it comes to taking care of our garden, it is interesting to know some more organic options to the use of conventional insecticides for those people who suffer from discomfort or simply want to take care of their garden in a completely natural way.
It is possible to make organic insecticides with some daily use products that we have at home, so in the following article we will tell you how to make natural insecticides for plants.
What are natural insecticides
These insecticides are a good option to keep our garden healthy and free of the most common pests, without using conventional insecticides, which expose both our family members and all the fruits that come out of our garden or garden to chemicals. Among these natural insecticides, there are some homemade insecticides that are effective, inexpensive and easy to make. They are insecticides made with products for daily use in the home such as garlic, milk or chili.
Homemade Garlic-Based Insecticides
These insecticides have been shown to be effective against aphids and ants . It is applied to plants in the form of a spray. The ingredients that are needed are just a head of garlic, a saucepan, water and a diffuser (for application). The steps to follow to make homemade garlic insecticide are:
- Let several cloves of garlic rest in the saucepan in a liter of water for a full day.
- Cook them over low heat for 15 minutes and let it cool afterwards.
- Put it in the diffuser, mix it and apply it on the plants.
Homemade insecticides with milk
These homemade insecticides are useful against mites and as a fungicidal method , because lactic acid is useful to combat fungi (among other things, due to its pH) and as a beneficial effect, mineral salts enrich the soil. To make a homemade insecticide with milk you will have to do the following:
- Mix ½ cup of buttermilk with 12-13 liters of water.
- Mix with 3 ½ cups of wheat flour.
- Put it in the diffuser and apply it to the plants as a spray.
Homemade insecticides with chili peppers
Insecticides that use spices (such as pepper or chili peppers) as the main ingredient can fight a wide range of pests. The steps for preparing a homemade chili pepper insecticide are:
- Place 6-10 chilies with two cups of water in a blender at high speed for 2 minutes.
- Rest the mixture overnight.
- Filter and add another glass of water.
- Put it in the diffuser and apply it to the plants.
Homemade insecticides with tobacco
The insecticides prepared with tobacco are useful in the fight against insects, since the nicotine in the leaves is toxic to many insects, which will not even come close to these plants. The steps for its preparation are:
- Make a mash with 3-4 cigarettes and half a liter of water.
- Let the mixture rest in a container for two days.
- Filter the mixture by passing it through a fine strainer.
- Place in the diffuser and apply.
Homemade insecticides with nettles
Nettles, in addition to causing painful stinging on the skin, also offer good results as a natural insecticide. In this case, the steps to follow to make an insecticide with nettles are:
- Pick up some nettles with thick gloves and place them in a bucket.
- Cover it with water.
- Let the mixture rest for a week.
- Place in the diffuser and apply.
Homemade insecticides with tomato plants
The insecticides made with the leaves of the tomato plant are very useful to fight against aphids, caterpillars and worms , because the leaves of this plant are very rich in alkaloids, which is why it is useful to fight against the pests of these insects. The steps to manufacture these insecticides are:
- Chop tomato leaves to make two cups, fill with water and rest the mixture overnight.
- Add two glasses of water and mix well.
- Put it in the diffuser and apply it.
Homemade insecticides with egg
The insecticides home made with eggshells are useful for combating snails and caterpillars. Another beneficial property is that due to its high concentration of calcium carbonate, nitrogen and other nutrients, they increase the fertility of our soils. The steps to follow in this case are:
Neem oil as a pesticide has steadily increased in usage and popularity over the past few years.
Neem oil is 100% natural and non-toxic to humans and pets, is inexpensive, and offers a long-term solution to pest problems.
Since the oil is completely environmentally-friendly and easily broken down, more and more people are turning to neem oil as a biopesticide for their home and garden.
Table of Contents
How Does Neem Oil Work?
Neem oil is extracted from the fruits and seeds of the neem, an evergreen tree endemic to the Indian subcontinent.
It works by interrupting the reproductive cycle of insects. Once ingested, it affects the hormonal system of the insect, causing it to forget to eat and stop moulting, mating and laying eggs.
This eventually sees the complete destruction of the insect population in the designated area as the older insects die off without producing offspring.
Neem oil is also powerfully aromatic and gives off an odour that insects do not like, protecting plants by making them unappealing.
What is Neem Oil Effective Against?
Neem oil is an effective repellent of a wide variety of common garden bugs, including caterpillars, nematodes, locusts, aphids, Japanese beetles and mites.
In the home, neem oil can be used to combat ant, cockroach, fly, termite, mosquito and bedbug infestations.
It has no known adverse affects on mammals, birds, bees, butterflies and ladybugs.
How Do I Make My Own Neem Oil Pesticide?
Neem oil is a cost-effective pesticide.
You can buy neem oil sprays in a garden centre, but if you’d like to make your own, it’s a very simple process.
This way, you can control the quality of the ingredients, the concentration levels and the cost – it is often far cheaper in the long run to make your own neem oil spray than buying a pre-made version in a store, like the one pictured below:
Photo by bnpositive via CC BY-SA 2.0
Store versions can also be less potent, with a lower concentration of the active ingredient, Azadirachtin.
To make your own neem oil pesticide spray, follow these steps:
1. Start with a base
Start with a base of good-quality neem oil or neem leaf extract.
Look for 100% pure oils, also called crude or raw neem oil.
It needs to be cold pressed as head destroys the Azadirachtin, and you might like to look for organic neem oil as well as this will ensure no contamination with petrochemicals or solvents has taken place during the purification process.
If you don’t have a local store that sells it, you can buy some on Amazon.
Since neem oil does not readily mix with water, you’ll need to use an emulsifier like a mild liquid soap.
To make one litre of general-purpose neem oil spray, mix 5 mL neem oil, 2 mL of liquid soap and 1 L of water.
Add the soap to the water first and then slowly stir in the neem oil.
4. Pour and Spray
Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and it is ready to use.
You’ll need to use the mix within 8 hours as beyond that the ingredients will start to break down.
Important Note: If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, consult your doctor before using neem oil as it can interfere with your hormonal system.
Learn more about Neem Benefits
Whether it’s being used for a natural pesticide, or a home remedy, the oil of the neem tree can be used in many aspects of our lives.
Neem oil serves multiple purposes that may otherwise be provided by dangerous chemicals.
In the infographic below, the life of Neem is illustrated, including the details of the Neem tree itself, whose name translates to “perfect, complete and imperishable”, as well as some of its best known uses.
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