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13 Homemade Caterpillar Repellent Sprays

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15 Homemade Caterpillar Repellent Sprays

It all starts when a moth or butterfly lays eggs on your plants. Some days later, the caterpillars hatch. Finding a good repellent spray at this moment is vital before an infestation begins.

Caterpillars are a problem for many gardeners. As the caterpillar eats, it continues to grow, becoming a major pest for a range of plants, especially vegetables like kale, collards, cabbage, and all varieties of tomatoes.

If you detect these critters early, they’re much easier to control. Fortunately, there are quite a few home remedies that can stop these pests in their tracks.

Below are 13 homemade spray recipes to keep caterpillars off your plants.

1. Insecticide Oil

An oil insecticide spray can repel caterpillars in the garden and a range of other pests, including mites, aphids, and more.

Mix 1 tablespoon of mild liquid soap with 1 cup of vegetable oil of your choice. When ready to apply, combine 2 teaspoons of the mixture with a quart of water. Shake well and spray directly on the plant.

2. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth has many uses. One of its uses is that it makes a great caterpillar spray. Its abrasive qualities and incredible absorbing abilities allow it to dehydrate and kill caterpillars.

Therefore, make a solution by combining 4 tablespoons of the product with 1 gallon of water. Shake until dissolved, and douse your plants.

When dry, it will leave a powdery residue, which is what will naturally kill the caterpillars. You can also sprinkle the powder directly on your plants and caterpillars that you see.

3. Soap

Use this common item to make a natural spray for caterpillars, beetles, broccoli bugs, whiteflies, leaf-eating worms, and more.

Mix 1 quart of water with 1.5 teaspoons of mild organic liquid soap. Shake well and spray directly on the affected area.

While soapy water does not kill caterpillars, it will encourage them to leave. Aim to apply it in the evenings or early mornings.

4. Garlic 

Garlic is an incredible pest control home remedy. The scent will repel all sorts of harmful insects from plants.

To make a natural caterpillar repellent using garlic, blend two whole garlic bulbs in half a cup of water. Next, let the mixture sit for at least 12 hours.

When it’s ready, add 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap and a quart of water to the mixture. Mix well, strain, and then spray.

You can also combine this deterrent spray with hot peppers to get rid of armyworms and cabbage worms.

5. Vinegar 

Vinegar is one of the best home remedies for making a pest control spray. Because of its acidic nature, it is used as a natural pesticide to kill many harmful insects.

To create a caterpillar killer spray that will not harm your plants, combine 2 tablespoons of raw vinegar with 4 liters of water. Shake well and spray the pests.

6. Neem Oil

Organic gardeners use neem oil to get rid of all sorts of bad insects in all stages—from larvae to adults and everything in between.

To use neem oil to keep away caterpillars, combine 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap, 2 teaspoons of neem oil, and 1 quart of water. Shake well and spray plants and visible pests.

7. Chili Pepper

You can also use fresh chili peppers or chili pepper powder to make a spray that works against caterpillars.

If you’re using fresh peppers, blend half a cup of chopped chili peppers in 1 cup of water. Next, add a quart of water and boil. Once cooled, strain and add a few drops of mild liquid soap before spraying.

If you’re using chili powder, mix 1 tablespoon with 1 quart of water and a few drops of liquid soap.

8. Citrus 

Citrus is effective at repelling soft-bodied insects.

To make a DIY spray for green caterpillars, grate the peel of a lemon or orange. Next, add it to a pint of boiling water and let the mixture sit overnight.

In the morning, strain through cheesecloth and spray the mixture onto the affected plants.

9. Chilli and Wormwood

This creative concoction can be used to discourage insects as well as possums and rabbits. However, you want the hotter varieties of chilies for it to be most effective.

Blend your chilies and wormwood in a cup of water. Once it’s all blended, add 5 cups of water and boil.

Let it stand until it cools, then strain and spray the plants. However, keep the solution away from your eyes.

10. Organic Bacillus Thuringiensis Spray

Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt) is toxic to gypsy moth caterpillars, tent caterpillars, tomato hornworms, and certain other insects.

Once the larvae ingest the Bt pesticide, feeding will stop and death will follow. Mix the recommended powder amount with water and spray the top and bottom of the leaves.

Alternatively, for a ready-made solution, Monterey Bt caterpillar killer spray and/or Bonide Thuricide are available for purchase. Follow the instructions on the bottle.

11. Molasses 

Some thick, gooey molasses may do the trick. It can help fight against many types of critters in your garden!

So, mix 1 cup of molasses with 1 liter of water, then shake and diffuse all over your plants to help get rid of caterpillars naturally.

12. Hose ‘Em

This is the simplest and most straightforward option. After all, you’re likely out there with the hose watering your plants anyway!

Take a few minutes to blast those critters right off your plants.

Spray your plants directly, and as the green caterpillars fall off, remove them and put them elsewhere, or kill them right away.

13. Tomato Leaf

The leaves of tomatoes can also be a great way to get rid of pests.

Tomato plant leaves contain alkaloids that are toxic to aphids and other insects. When the leaves are crushed, these compounds are released.

Therefore, chop up 2 cups of tomato leaves and steep them in 1 quart of water. Leave it overnight. In the morning, strain and spray this homemade insecticide all over your plants.

14. Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are also known to deter caterpillars. Therefore, make a spray by soaking half a cup of used coffee grounds in a gallon of water for at least 24 hours.

Afterwards, strain the solution and pour it into a spray bottle. Use this coffee grounds spray on garden plants and the caterpillars that you see.

15. Baking Soda

Baking soda has a plethora of garden uses, and insecticide is one of them. You can use it as a natural treatment for caterpillars and other insects.

For the recipe, mix one tablespoon of baking soda with a gallon of water. To make it work even better, add a teaspoon of liquid soap.

Shake well and thoroughly spray the infested plants.

Commercial Products

If none of those DIY remedies catch your interest, you can purchase a ready-to-use natural product.

Below are our top 3 recommended caterpillar deterrent products that are safe for organic gardening use.

1. Molt-X

Molt-X gets rid of a caterpillar infestation, tomato worms, bagworms, cabbage maggots, and other pests almost instantly.

It contains the naturally occurring azadirachtin, a very potent compound derived from the neem tree.

Not only is it incredibly effective, but it’s safe for people, pets, birds, earthworms, and other harmless creatures.

Moreover, you can use it up until the day of harvest. Besides, it also works on trees, roses, and ferns.

2. Monterey Garden Insect Spray

This product contains spinosad, which is toxic to hairy caterpillars (higad), sawfly larvae, and other pests.

You can use it on your lawns, in vegetable gardens, on fruit trees, and much more. Furthermore, this organic caterpillar spray is fast-acting and easy to use.

Diffuse onto the affected area to control cutworms, caterpillars, gypsy moth larvae, leaf miners, and more. You can also use it on edible plants such as basil, lettuce, broccoli, and cauliflower up until the day of harvest.

3. JMS Stylet Oil

JMS is another fantastic product. It helps gardeners control many pests and some fungal plant diseases. Moreover, it is safe to use in organic gardening.


Caterpillars will feed on a variety of plants, presenting a huge problem in your garden. Fortunately, there are ways to keep them away without using dangerous chemicals.

Whether you’re a DIY kind of person or you’d rather purchase a ready-made product, there’s bound to be something on our list that will help resolve your pest problem once and for all!

Andre Campbell

Organic farmer and co-founder of Dre Campbell Farm. He appreciates everything in nature—sunshine, plants, animals, and human life.

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