"Do it yourself" pest control / Homemade pesticides, fungicides, and fetilizers for the organic gardener.

Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums come in all colors of the rainbow.
Chrysanthemums come in all colors of the rainbow.

"Do it yourself" pest control

Following are a few recipes for Do-it yourself- pest control for the home organic gardener. Yes, you can make natural pesticide, insecticide, insect repellant, organic pesticide,  and fungicide from recipes used by generations of organic gardeners. While it is possible to repel everything from insects to rabbits, deer, and to kill mold, fungus or mildew,  all with natural or organic pesticide alternatives to chemical pesticides, it is important keep in mind that organic chemical used for these purposes doesn’t always mean non toxic.  Be smart - if a product is designed to kill a pest, it might be harmful to good insect such as honeybees, and to children and pets.  Be Safe -Be Smart.


Some of the best treatments are often prevention.

  • Plant Garlic, onions, and chrysanthemums around your garden and between plats to keep many insects away.  


  • Pyrethins are one of the most common pesticides in use for both the home and commercial gardener.  These are also the main chemicals used in flee powders.  These chemical are derived from chrysanthemums. Although the government has set use standards that are supposed to ensure the safe use of these chemicals, why not use the really fresh flowering plants instead?


  • Onion and Mint are great to plant around areas where pets will be as they are natural flea repellents as well. Garlic (and all members of the onion family to varying degrees) are just repulsive to many pests. Honestly, they do have a strong smell, especially when you trim them back. As for the mint, the strong the smell the better… this will vary according to the variety and growing conditions. The upside is that they are very effective and you can enjoy them in the kitchen as well.


  • Rotate crops. Don’t plant the same thing in the same plot season after season - mix it up a bit.  Not only is crop rotation needed for good soil health, it helps to keep pests down.  Not all pests like everything. By rotation, the gardener can prevent soil dwellers from getting to comfortable  with certain variety of plant.
  • Keep showering you plants. All plants would prefer a soft gently rain of a huge flood. The showering water cleanses the plants of insects, and environmental pollutants.
  • Remember plants need to breathe… keep them clean if you can. However, if your area is very humid, or prone to mildew use caution. You do not want to prevent one pest and encourage another.

Onion, Mint, and Garlic Plants

Onions come in a variety of shades for white to deep purple/
Onions come in a variety of shades for white to deep purple/
The are dozens of varieties of mint. The ones with strong aromas work best for pest control. But be careful, mint can be vary invasive and will easily get out of control if unchecked.
The are dozens of varieties of mint. The ones with strong aromas work best for pest control. But be careful, mint can be vary invasive and will easily get out of control if unchecked.
Variety known as Society Garlic
Variety known as Society Garlic

Garlic: your garden's best friend

Garlic can be used as a natural pesticide and insect repellant.

  • Plant garlic with tomatoes, to keep away red spider mites.
  • Plant garlic around fruit trees, to repel borers.
  • Spray garlic pesticide on broad leaf plants to repel rabbits.
  • Spray ponds with garlic-based oil to kill mosquitoes.


Garlic Spray #1
Here is the recipe for a garlic spray that fights slugs too. Slugs must not like eating Italian. To make this smelly spray, use the following list of ingredients:
1 garlic bulb
1 quart of water
1 medium onion
1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon liquid dish soap
Crush the garlic, mincing it fine. Add finely chopped onion to the mixture, while adding the rest of the ingredients except the soap. Wait an hour before adding the soap to the mixture. The spicy ingredients must sort of stew or steep, almost like tea. After an hour, add the soap and your non-toxic spray is ready to use! This can be stored in the fridge for a week.


Garlic Spray #2
Soak 3 to 4 ounces of chopped garlic bulbs in 2 tablespoons of mineral oil for one day. Dissolve 1 tsp of fish emulsion in a pint of water and add it to your solution. Stir. Strain liquid and store in a glass container - not metal! Dilute 1 part solution to every 20 parts of water. Acts as a repellent and feed plants. Do not use in direct hot sun. Kills aphids, mosquitoes, and onion flies.
 
If it is just too much for nose to handle the fish emulsion and garlic together, eliminate the fish emulsion.

Comfrey -The Miracle Plant

Other incecticide and fungicide sprays:

Tomato leaf spray

Add four or five pints of water and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to tomato leaves crushed in your vegetable juicer. Strain it. Keep the unused spray refrigerated. Good fro all kinds of plants, vegetable and roses.


Milk spray - a fungicide
Spraying diluted milk on cucumbers and other squash family plants kills powdery mildew.


Tobacco Spray
This mixture is great for combating many different types of bugs, but especially caterpillars, aphids, and many types of those nasty worms.
What you need:
1 cup of tobacco
1 gallon of water
Put the tobacco into the container of water. Allow the mixture to set for approximately 24 hours. After it has stood for a day, check the color. It should be the shade of weak tea. If it is too dark, just dilute it with water until it looks right.(My grandma used to make this from the chewing tobacco her relatives spit out - different time - different world I guess)

*Warning: Don't use this solution on peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, or any other member of the solanaceous family. Tobacco chemicals can kill these types of plants! ALSO BE AWARE THAT THIS SOLUTION IS EXTREMELY HARMFUL TO ADULTS, CHILDREN AND PETS. USE GLOVE WHEN USING THIS!



Alcohol Spray:
This spray really is great for houseplants. This especially works on meal bugs.
1/2 cup of alcohol
2-3 tablespoons of dry laundry soap
1 quart of warm water
Mix all ingredients and spray immediately. You don't have to let this set, but you can't store it either. This solution must be made fresh for each use.

Salt Spray:
This solution is used for cabbage worms and spider mites.
2 tablespoons of salt
1 gallon of water
Just mix and spray!

Buttermilk and Flour Spray:
Garlic spray is great for getting rid of cutworms, wireworms, whiteflies, and slugs too.
What you need:
1 pint of water
1/4 cup of dish liquid
2 teaspoons of paraffin
6 tablespoons of chopped

Dead Bug Spray:
Another way to beat the bug problem is by taking some dead carcasses of the same insects and mixing them in water. Use one pint of water and 1/2 cup of slug carcasses. Although this is rather unpleasant, it works. Would you want to be picnicking in this situation? Most of us wouldn't. Here is how you make the insect carcass solution:
Blend the water and insects until mixed well and then put into a plastic container or glass jar. To use this, pout into a sprayer and squirt a few drops on the affected plants. You can freeze this mixture for storage.

*Beware: Do NOT use flies, ticks, fleas, or mosquitoes in this solution! These insects carry many communicable human diseases! (I PERSONALLY DON’T USE THIS ONE…BUT I HEAR IT IS GREAT Ugh…)


Spearmint-Hot Pepper-Horseradish Spray:
This works on many different kinds of bugs- too many to list!
1/2 cup of red peppers (hot)
water (read below)
1/2 cup of fresh spearmint
1/2 cup horseradish (root and leaves)
2 tablespoons of liquid detergent
1/2 cup green onion tops

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

**use gloves on this one, and do not get onto your nose, eyes or lips.

Insecticidal Soap Spray
We all no about salt on slugs and snails, but, another way to stop the slugs is with soapy water. That's right, you can just use your old, dirty dishwater! Collect some of the water in a pan and pour it into a watering can or even use a pitcher to pour it over the plants. This works really well on hostas and mums, but also can be used on other hardy plants. Many bugs do not like their lunch spoiled by a soapy aftertaste! For a stronger solution, mix 3 Tablespoons of liquid detergent into a gallon of water, I prefer Dawn, but any will do. Use this weekly.

Has value against flea beetles, aphids, mealy-bugs, spider mites, thrips, and whiteflies, sometimes caterpillars and leafhoppers. Combined with Rotenone, it is more effective. Insecticidal soap works only on direct contact; spray it right on the target. Combined with horticultural or botanical oils, insecticidal soap manages powdery mildew

For controlling insects in and near the house:

Boric Acid Powder

Kills ants, roaches, fleas, ticks, grasshoppers, termites and more! Just sprinkle a thin line near the junction of the floor and wall, especially under cabinets or alone door ways.  When this gets wet it is useless, so you might need to repeat often.  No smell or fumes and wont harm pets.


Easy Organic Fertilizers


Gray water
This is another great use for your gray water form doing dishes and laundry.  As long as it hasn’t been contaminated by any biohazards or bleach you can pour right on any plants. In fact, When I had a really large vegetable garden, we ran the drain hose form our washing machine right out to the veggie patch and watered this gray water from nearly every load. Use biodegradable detergents for best result.

Comfrey Fertilizer
Comfrey is often referred to as the 'miracle herb'. It is worth putting this herb in a corner of your garden for its myriad uses. It will grow in a wide variety of soil conditions and has a very deep root system. The deep root system allows it to bring minerals and nutrients up into its leaves that are unavailable to other plants. It is also the only plant that contains vitamin B12. Which makes it an excellent soil additive.


For use as  fertilizer: chop up the leaves and work into the soil or compost; or as a liquid  'tea'. To make the tea: Fill your container halfway with large comfrey leaves. Fill the container with water and leave it for at least 3 weeks while the leaves rot down.
Mix 50/50 with water and pour around the roots of your plants.



Beer Fertilizer
1 12 oz can of beer (not light /  the darker the better)
1/2 cup of ammonia
1 cup of epsom salt
2 cups of water

(Some recipes call for 1/2 cup of black strap molasses this adds sulfur and carbohydrates)
Mix it together well. Keep it in a plastic or glass container. Use one tablespoon of the solution per gallon of water and use it monthly. It's supposed to work on all types of houseplants. Succulents too.

Leftover coffee, tea, and soda:
Dilute 50/50 with water


Thank you!

Than k you for joining me in the series on Organic Gardening. I invite you to read through the other Hubs in this series and let me know what you think. As always, I welcome question, and comments. Happy gardening! To you Good Health........

30 comments

Judith Rizzo profile image

Judith Rizzo 16 months ago from Phoenix ~ The Valley of the Sun Author

Handy if the circus comes by ;-)


Gronk in Westlake LA 24 months ago

My sister lived in a rural area and the deer loved to eat her roses. When

She went to class at the University, she asked her prof what he could think of. He told her there was a circus in town and she should get from them some lion manure (and they would be happy to oblige). She put this around her roses and has not seen a deer since. Just saying....


Gary Miller 2 years ago

Are onions a good preventative for termites under the kitchen sink.

I am thinking of storing our unpeeled onions there since it seems to be a popular spot for them


solie 2 years ago

I need help with voles. They have eaten every hosta in my backyard. It took years to grow the arrangement and now they're all gone. Little devils!


Judith Rizzo profile image

Judith Rizzo 2 years ago from Phoenix ~ The Valley of the Sun Author

Michelle thanks for this question it's a great one! Borax is actually a mineral mined from the earth in Death Valley, California. The chemical name for it is sodium tetraborate, it IS NOT BORIC ACID. You're right borax is harmful to people and animals.


Judith Rizzo profile image

Judith Rizzo 2 years ago from Phoenix ~ The Valley of the Sun Author

Gary-WOW no I don't think onions will do he trick with termites as they actually have a burrow much like a hive deep within the earth. They can actually be located a great distance from where you see them. My suggestion for termites though is to treat your bare wood services with orange oil. Termites really hate this stuff!


Michelle 2 years ago

You mention boric acid powder being safe for pets I have read elsewhere that borax is very harmful to pets. Is it the same thing?


Gary Miller 3 years ago

Will growing onions and or garlic bulbs prevent termites from attacking my untreated wood trellis that is touching the ground and has bogenviella and mornighglory growing on it against a wall?


Tenthplanet 3 years ago

I'm glad to see that the movement is taking on a life of its own. No longer will we be dependent on pest control operators and be charged grossly inflated premiums

here's and example of where you folks can buy the supplies you need: http://www.domyownpestcontrol.com/


Kamaljit Singh India 4 years ago

Thank you very useful. kamaljit


Judith Rizzo profile image

Judith Rizzo 4 years ago from Phoenix ~ The Valley of the Sun Author

I am not so sure that garlic would actually kill the little nasties, but it might deter them. Most of the companion plants that are insect repellants produce chemicals that insects find very unpleasant. this is the case with marigolds and onions, so it stands to reason that garlic might also repel creepy crawlers.


Judith Rizzo profile image

Judith Rizzo 4 years ago from Phoenix ~ The Valley of the Sun Author

I haven't heard this one, but, my compost is at least 50% coffee grounds and I have never had mites in the garden....maybe it works! One thing for sure, coffee isn't going to hurt your plants, so I say give it a try, and let us know.


Macmut 4 years ago

Can garlic be planted in the garden to kill scorpion as well?


Pat 4 years ago

A friend suggested spraying coffee on the plants to kill mites/lice. How does that work?


Judith Rizzo profile image

Judith Rizzo 4 years ago from Phoenix ~ The Valley of the Sun Author

My grandfather used to sparay a tea made from tobacco on his "mater" plants... he never had any problems with catapillars. I have been blessed to live in a place where they are not a trouble for me. Occassionally I find one or two and just pluck them off, but I can suggest you try the tea. Just place tobacco - best to use the block or roll your own kind - and steep in water brought to a boil until it cools. Be careful this is a poison so wear gloves and wash your hands after use.


Judith Rizzo profile image

Judith Rizzo 4 years ago from Phoenix ~ The Valley of the Sun Author

glad you found it useful :)


Judith Rizzo profile image

Judith Rizzo 4 years ago from Phoenix ~ The Valley of the Sun Author

My grandfather used to sparay a tea made from tobacco on his "mater" plants... he never had any problems with catapillars. I have been blessed to live in a place where they are not a trouble for me. Occasionally I find one or two and just pluck them off, but I can suggest you try the tea. Just place tobacco - best to use the block or roll your own kind - and steep in water brought to a boil until it cools. Be careful this is a poison so wear gloves and wash your hands after use.


BHudeb Banerjee 4 years ago

It goods for garden. I laern- I will used


Ron Frankovich 4 years ago

I'm looking for home made recipe to control catapilars on tomato plants, help


Judith Rizzo profile image

Judith Rizzo 5 years ago from Phoenix ~ The Valley of the Sun Author

Hi April~

I am so very sorry that I haven't gotten back to you for so long... I have been off line for some time, but I am back now and will do my best to help you with your roses!

First question is "What kind of bugs are you having on your roses?" Usually aphids are the culprits attacking our roses. The easiest way to fight aphids is to gently spray - an I mean heavily - with a gentle soap and water solution.

Dish washing liquid will work just find, even though most of these are really detergents, not soap. Mix about 1-3 teaspoons of dish liquid in a 16 oz spray bottle of water. Spray the plants until they are dripping, making sure to spray into all folds of the plants and flowers.

KEY POINT:Do this at dusk or very early evening. Two reasons for this 1) the bugs are more active at night so you get more bang out of the solution, and 2) the solution can actually burn the plants if done in heat or direct sun. They will be fine once it dries overnight.

Let me know how this works for you! I will be posting a new hub on natural feeding solutions shortly. Thanks for the question. :)


April 5 years ago

I am working with roses, and would like a recipe to kill bugs on the roses, and also a recipe to feed roses. I looked but could not tell if I could use any of these.


brentz 6 years ago

thank u so much for the homemade garlic-based pesticide recipes i got. i meant dis message cuz i rily nid it 4 my investigatory proj. and i hope that dis group can help moder nature a lot cuz i, myself luv moder nature and i find some ways to save it.


Judith Rizzo 6 years ago

Mary Merriment thank you for the comment! Much appreciated. :)


Mary Merriment profile image

Mary Merriment 6 years ago from Boise area, Idaho

Lots of great homemade/safe pesticide options to choose from. Thank you so much for this information!


Judith Rizzo profile image

Judith Rizzo 6 years ago from Phoenix ~ The Valley of the Sun Author

SharolVande, Hey thanks for the link!


SharolVande profile image

SharolVande 6 years ago

Great pest control and fertilizer ideas, although I can think of better uses for beer. I've made some homemade solutions in the past, but it was a hassle and not very effective. I found an organic bug spray by Safer Brand that kills a wide variety of insect pests. It safe to use right up to the day of harvest.

Here's the spray I'm talking about:

http://www.saferbrand.com/store/garden-care/5102


Pest Control Delhi 6 years ago

Your article is very beneficial & great information . Thank you for sparing some time to write about this and post it here.


scaffolding tower profile image

scaffolding tower 6 years ago from United Kingdom

I'm looking into home-made pesticides myself since they seem to be better for the environment. Pity though, I don't have a home garden from which I can just cut off or pull up some 'ingredients.' Good stuff you have here.


Judith Rizzo profile image

Judith Rizzo 7 years ago from Phoenix ~ The Valley of the Sun Author

Glad you like it NGRIA ... these days anything we can do to lower or chemical exposure is good common sense. Blessings;)


NGRIA Bassett profile image

NGRIA Bassett 7 years ago from Bermuda

Thanks for the helpful and practical information.

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