You can get rid of many common garden pests like aphids, mites, thrips, caterpillars, squash bugs, and whiteflies using natural and homemade insecticides. One of the best things about making your own insecticides is that you can be sure of what goes into them. Moreover, you may already have most of the ingredients in your kitchen.
Below are some of the best natural and homemade pesticides to get rid of bugs and pesky insects on plants naturally.
1. Neem Oil
Among the natural pesticides for plants, neem oil reduces feeding and disrupts the life cycle of many harmful insects.
To make a basic all-purpose neem oil spray for plants, combine one teaspoon of neem oil with 2 teaspoons of liquid soap and a liter of water.
Alternatively, purchase a ready-to-use neem oil concentrate from reputable online sellers or your local garden store. Follow the directions on the bottle on how to use it.
Apart from being an organic bug spray for plants, this solution is also useful as a natural fungicide.
2. Vegetable Oil Spray
A mixture of vegetable oil, soap, and water will block the pores of insect pests and should rapidly eliminate them.
To make a DIY plant spray for bugs, mix a cup of any type of vegetable oil with a tablespoon of liquid soap and shake well.
When ready to apply, add 2 tablespoons of the oil solution to water (about a quart). Next, shake well and pour into a spray container.
Spray plants and pests directly and thoroughly.
To avoid that horrible sight of having your plants eaten away by slugs and snails, just drown them in beer.
Place bowls of beer near plants at night. However, ensure that they are shallow enough for the pests to crawl in but deep enough to prevent an escape.
Finally, remove the dead pests in the morning.
4. Soap Spray
This method has a similar effect to the oil spray above. However, all that you’ll need is 5 tablespoons of organic liquid soap and a gallon of water.
Combine in a spray container and shake well. Next, spray on plants and pests thoroughly. Be sure to coat both the top and underside of the leaves.
This DIY soap spray works great as an organic pesticide for tomatoes and other crops in your vegetable garden. You can also use it as an indoor plant spray.
5. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Diatomaceous earth is one of the best insecticides for vegetable gardens. The product is abrasive and will cut into the pests’ bodies. This results in dehydration followed by death.
DE is easy to apply. Dust it on and around plants; however, cover your nose so you don’t inhale it. Also, you may need to reapply after watering or rainfall.
Alternatively, make a homemade plant insecticide spray by combining 5 tablespoons of DE with a gallon of water. Shake well and use it to spray your plants. It will start working against pests when it dries out.
6. Vinegar Solution
To make a natural bug repellent for plants using vinegar, mix one part vinegar with 3 parts water. Add in a teaspoon of liquid soap too.
Shake well and use it in the evenings directly on and under the leaves of plants to kill insect infestations. Use it on vegetables, trees, flowers, and shrubs, as well as indoor plants.
7. Garlic Spray
The powerful smell of garlic naturally repels many insects. To apply, a simple recipe is to puree a whole garlic bulb in 2 cups of water.
Leave it to steep overnight. Next, strain it and add a little liquid soap to the solution before adding more water (a quart) to it. Finally, thoroughly spray infested plants with this organic insecticide.
8. Hot Pepper Spray
If using fresh hot peppers for this method, wear protective gloves and take care to avoid contact with skin and eyes.
To make a homemade garden bug spray, puree half a cup of hot peppers in one cup of water. Next, add a quart more water and bring it to boiling point. Strain when cool, add a teaspoon of liquid soap and spray where needed.
Alternatively, use a tablespoon of chili powder to make a spray by adding it to a quart of water. You can also use cayenne pepper powder.
Also, avoid spraying when the sun is hot. Choose early morning or evening instead.
9. Tomato Leaf Spray
Tomato plant leaves contain compounds that can help control pesky aphids and other insects .
Make a homemade bug spray for vegetable plants and flowers by steeping 2 cups of chopped tomato leaves in a quart of water. Leave it to rest overnight.
Afterward, strain and use this DIY pesticide to coat your plants, preferably by way of a sprayer.
10. Milk Spray
Simply mix up a 40/60 solution of milk and water and spray crops as needed. Use it to spray all plant surfaces, including the undersides of leaves.
This treatment works against sucking insects such as scales, aphids, and mealybugs. It also controls powdery mildew on cucumbers and pumpkins.
11. Baking Soda Spray
This is another effective home remedy that helps kill fungus as well as bugs.
To make an organic spray for bugs and plant fungus, dissolve 1 to 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a gallon of water.
You can also add a teaspoon of liquid soap. This will help the solution stick to the plants. Next, after shaking well, pour into a spray bottle and use it on infected plants.
Moreover, this baking soda solution works great as a homemade powdery mildew treatment.
12. Sticky Traps
The color (yellow and blue) seems particularly attractive to certain harmful insects.
On pieces of cardboard or plastic card, apply some sticky glue on both sides. Next, punch holes and thread with wire or string and hang above/near plants.
Use yellow paper/cards to attract fungus gnats, whiteflies, aphids, and psyllids . However, use blue to attract thrips and leaf miners.
Overall, yellow stinky traps work well for almost any crawling insect. However, be careful with these as they will also trap and kill beneficial insects you want to keep.
13. Himalayan Salt Spray
Combine 2 tablespoons of Himalayan salt with one gallon of water in a spray bottle.
Use this as a homemade spray for insects on plants, particularly for ridding the garden of cabbage worms, spider mites, caterpillars, and aphids.
14. White Mineral Oil
Some of the most destructive insect pests like mealybugs, mites, whiteflies, and aphids can be controlled by this method.
You’ll need one cup of white mineral oil and ¼ cup of liquid soap. Shake well to make a potent concentrate.
Next, store in a sealed jar. However, use it all up within three months.
When you are ready to apply, dilute one tablespoon of the concentrate in four cups of water and spray your plants. Use this measurement as a guide for larger spray batches.
15. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil is a natural repellent for scale insects, earwigs, cockroaches, mosquitoes, flies, and other insect pests.
To use it, mix one teaspoon of Eucalyptus oil and half a teaspoon of liquid soap with two cups of water. Shake well and coat your plants with the solution.
Additionally, try soaking some cotton wool balls in the oil and place them where rodents like mice or rats frequent. Place them in cabinets and drawers and other places inside your house.
16. Epsom Salt Solution
Make up a DIY pest control spray of one cup Epsom salt to five gallons of water.
Mix it up in a large enough container and then pour it into a sprayer. Apply it to foliage to deter beetles and other garden pests.
You can also apply Epsom salt around plants to control slugs and snails in your garden. The scratchy surface of the salt will irritate the pests’ skin, later dehydrating and killing them.
17. Citrus Peel Water
Take the peels of oranges or lemons (about a cup full) and boil in 4 cups of water for about 10 minutes. Leave to steep and cool. Next, strain and use the citrus peel water as an insect spray.
There are many natural methods available to help control pests. The above natural and homemade pest control remedies will help to get rid of the most common insect pests in your garden.