Does this sound strange to you? Why do human beings chose to intentionally release toxic substances into the environment for the purpose of killing other living things.
While this seems like an extremely bizarre concept, it is actually something we do every day when we spray pesticides as natural bug killers to kill off living creatures that we consider to be pests.
We spray pesticides to kill:
- Wasps – Try these Natural Wasps killers
- Mosquitoes – consider plants to keep mosquitoes away
and other insects and arachnids that we would prefer not to encounter.
Unfortunately, pest control with the wholesale spraying of pesticides also has very negatively impacts beneficial insects and arachnids.
When you kill off the “bugs” you don’t like, you are also very likely to kill off bees, carnivorous praying mantis, butterflies visiting flowers and beneficial spiders that eat wasps.
Does The Sprayed Pesticide Last Forever?
When you spray pesticide it doesn’t just disappear. After it kills whatever it is you wanted to kill (along with a few things you didn’t intend to kill) it could end up in the environment and enter the water system.
The sprayed pesticide may also kill fish and other innocent bystanders.
Of course, spraying poison all over your flower or vegetable garden is not a good idea for you either! Encountering pesticides on a daily basis as you work in your garden is a hazard to your health.
Naturally, the fruits and veggies that you harvest from your garden will also be contaminated with poison if you spray poison over them.
What Safe Alternatives Are There For Killing Bugs In The Garden?
Clearly, pesticides are undesirable all around but what can you do to protect your flowers, fruits and veggies from predatory pests? In this article, we will offer 10 smart suggestions for natural pest deterrents “homemade bug killers” you can make at home. Read on to learn more.
1. Create A Pesticide Using Epsom Salts
Epsom salts can be used as a liquid spray, or you can distribute it dry. It has many beneficial uses in the garden. It acts as a deterrent to pests, and delivers a healthy dose of magnesium to your plants. To create a spray, combine the following ingredients:
- Epsom salts – one cup
- Water – five gallons
After the salts have completely dissolved in the water, decant the mixture into a spray bottle to spray liberally around your garden.
This should work well to deter beetles and slugs. As with all natural products, be sure to keep your mixture in a cool, dark, dry place between uses.
You can also just sprinkle Epsom salts around your garden (especially at the base of your plants). This will prevent pests from climbing up from the ground onto your plants’ stems.
You should reapply the salts once a week to protect your plants and increase their absorption of minerals from the soil such as sulfur, phosphorus and nitrogen.
2. Buy A Box of Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Food grade diatomaceous earth is a very fine, white powder. It is made of the ground up, fossilized remains of very tiny aquatic organisms.
The skeletons of these organisms are rich in silica, a mineral which is cylindrical in shape. These tiny cylinders have extremely sharp edges that can be fatal to insects, parasites and other pests.
Freely use food grade diatomaceous earth in the garden to deter and kill:
- Control Earwigs
DE is garden safe and you needn’t worry that it will harm beneficial fauna such as earthworms.
To apply diatomaceous earth, you can put it in a shaker or an applicator bottle or simply toss it out by hand.
Although it will not hurt you, you should wear a dust mask to avoid irritation to your nose and throat. Reapply diatomaceous earth after every rain.
It is important to note that you should use only food grade diatomaceous earth for this purpose.
The diatomaceous earth that is used for swimming pool filters is not finely ground enough and will not work. You can purchase food grade DE online at Amazon or at your local garden center or animal feed store.
It is worth noting that food grade diatomaceous earth is safe for use on pets. You can use it as a flea powder and add a bit to your pet’s food as a natural de-worming agent. Amounts vary depending upon the size of your pet.
3. How To Make A Garlic Bug Spray!
Another organic pest control method or DIY bug killer is by using herbs you can easily find at home. Garlic has a wide variety of natural medicinal properties. It is antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial. It also makes an excellent pest repellent!
It’s easy to make a very effective garlic-based organic bug spray.
To make your homemade bug spray for houses, mix up the following ingredients:
- 5 crushed garlic bulbs
- 1 quart of water
Allow this mixture to sit and infuse overnight (at least six hours) to create your natural insect repellent for homes.
Add one teaspoon of dish soap and then strain the mixture through a tea strainer or cheesecloth. Pour the soapy water into a one gallon jug, and fill the jug with fresh water.
Be sure to keep your gallon jug of natural bug spray in a dark cool place to keep it fresh. It’s best if the jug is dark colored or opaque to protect your mixture from light.
Pour the mixture into a spray bottle as needed to spray all of your fruits, veggies and flowers to protect them against predatory insects. Keep in mind that this mixture does not discriminate between positive and negative insects.
It will kill beneficial fauna just as it will kill pests. For this reason, it’s best to simply spray affected areas of your plants rather than to spray your garlic spray over your entire garden.
Related: How To Get Rid of Ground Wasp Nest and Kill Hornets
4. How To Repel Insects With Natural Hot Pepper
You may have seen commercially available hot pepper sprays at your local garden center. These can be rather pricey, but you can make your own very affordably.
One thing you should understand when using this natural solution is that it is not innocuous.
You must protect yourself when making and using a hot pepper spray. Do not let the liquid come in contact with your skin, your eyes or your nose and mouth.
To create hot pepper spray, don some protective gloves and goggles and chop up a batch of hot peppers. You’ll want at least two cups. Use a food processor to combine:
- Chopped hot peppers – two cups
- Cayenne pepper – one tablespoon
- One peeled garlic clove
Once this mixture is completely puréed, dilute it with four gallons of water. Allow the mixture to steep for a full 24 hours. Strain it carefully with a cheesecloth and add three tablespoons of dish soap to the mixture.
Decant as needed into a spray bottle to apply generously to your garden two times weekly.
5. Making A Lemony Bug Spray!
Aphids are very sensitive to lemon. You can make a strong, lemon scented spray that is sure to kill them on contact with just water and lemon rind. Combine:
- One pint of freshly boiled, hot water
- The grated rind of one lemon
Steep the lemon rind in the boiled water overnight. After at least eight hours, strain the rind from the liquid and decant the liquid into a spray bottle.
Use this homemade aphid spray to completely coat the leaves of plants infested by aphids.
It is important to understand that this spray is not an insect repellent. It must be spray directly upon the offending pests.
It should also be noted that the limonene contained in lemon oil (found in the rind) is toxic to cats and dogs. Keep your pets away while using this concoction.
6. How To Create A Vegetable Oil Spray
Soft-bodied pests such as mites and aphids are very sensitive to oil. You can create a simple spray using liquid soap and vegetable oil that will stop them in their tracks. Here’s all you need:
- Liquid soap – one quarter cup
- Vegetable oil – one cup
Blend these two ingredients thoroughly and store this concentrate in a tightly closed container.
If properly stored, it will last for about three months. When you are ready to use it, dilute one tablespoonful with four cups of water in a spray bottle. Apply this concentration liberally about once a week.
7. Tips On Using A Spray With A Neem Oil Mixture
Neem all-natural insecticide oil is an excellent organic with many medicinal uses as well. It is effective when used against more than 200 different types of insect pests, it also makes an excellent treatment for mildew, fungi and rust.
This powerful, natural oil comes from the neem tree’s seeds and fruit. Although this organic insecticide does repel and kill most insects, it is non-toxic to people, mammals and birds. Additionally, it does not kill or repel bees.
For best effect, apply a neem oil spray to your plants when they are young and reapply it at regular intervals.
It will remain effective for about three weeks; however, you must reapply it after rain. To make an effective neem oil spray for your garden, mix these ingredients:
- Warm water – one quart
- Liquid soap – one half teaspoon
- Cold-pressed neem oil – one or two teaspoons
Keep this mixture in a spray bottle in a dark, cool place. Allow it to warm up a bit before use since neem oil tends to solidify when cool. Remember to shake it up to fully distribute the neem oil.
8. How To Use Essential Oils In Your Garden
You can create an all-purpose insecticide spray using eucalyptus oil, lemon essential oil, cedar-wood oil, vodka and water.
Simply combine 10 drops of each of the oils with a teaspoon of vodka and an ounce of water.
Place this highly concentrated mix into a small spray bottle. Shake thoroughly and apply directly to insect infestations to kill insects on contact. You can also apply the mixture with a cotton ball or cotton swab if you wish.
Other essential oils that are useful for creating specific pesticides include:
- Rosemary is effective against flying insects such as mosquitoes and flies, fleas and also insect larvae (e.g. Cabbage Looper caterpillar). Learn How To Grow Rosemary here.
- Peppermint is effective against fleas as well as ants, beetles, squash bugs, bed bugs, aphids and spiders. Use Neem oil to control squash bugs.
- Thyme is effective against roaches and also biting insects such as ticks and chiggers.
- Pine oils and cedar-wood repel slugs and snails.
- Clove is very effective against flying insects.
9. Create A Simple Spray With Water And Castile Soap
There are many commercial horticultural soap sprays that work well to kill soft bodied insects (e.g. spider mites, mealy bugs, aphids).
To save money and make an organic product, you can easily create your own horticultural soap spray using Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap and plain water.
Simply combine a tablespoon of soap with a quart of water. You can use this spray as is, or you can make it even more effective by adding some of the essential oils listed above. You might also wish to add cayenne powder or garlic powder.
10. Using Rubbing Alcohol Kills Pests On Contact
You can spray all manner of pests with straight rubbing alcohol with very positive and dramatic results. Rubbing alcohol kills pests on contact so it’s a great natural insect killer. It does not deter them on an ongoing basis.
With a larger infestation, use a spray bottle to spray the affected area.
You can also kill larger individual garden pests such as cockroaches and water bugs by using a spray bottle with a stream spray (or a squirt gun) to apply a large dose all at once.
Natural Pesticides Work Because They Are Powerful!
When using all-natural products, it is always smart to remember that they are not harmless. Be sure to proceed with caution even when using natural pest control methods.
Natural pesticides, which are also harmful chemicals, may damage your plants, irritate your skin and have unanticipated effects if you are not careful.
Before spraying any mixture over your entire garden, test it out in a small area. Use proper protection for your skin, eyes and respiratory system whenever you spray any product in your garden.
Avoid excessive overspray, and be sure to keep pets and children out of the way when using these products.