Pest control sprays using organic ingredients are an essential tool for any organic gardener. Many essential oils, natural ingredients and organic products can be used as natural ways to kill garden pests. Apart from homemade pesticides being environmental-friendly, they are often cheap to make. Also, the benefits of organic pest control are that it doesn’t risk affecting fruit and vegetables with potentially harmful chemicals.
Anyone with a home garden knows that natural pest control can be challenging. Certain bugs can be beneficial and it is not always wise to eradicate all insects from the garden. However, larvae, caterpillar, slugs, aphids and mites can quickly destroy all your hard work.
What can you use in organic pest control sprays to kill garden pests naturally?
Of course, you can always manually pick off insects by hand. However, this natural pest control method is time-consuming and not very effective. It is also difficult to destroy tiny larvae and eggs that may be lurking under any leaf in your vegetable garden.
In this article, you will find out how to make your own organic pest control sprays. You will also learn about scientific research that backs up the use of these natural ingredients to eradicate common garden pests.
Natural Ways to Kill Garden Pests
First of all, it is important to realize that any kind of organic sprays to destroy pests are only effective when used with other organic gardening methods. Some of these include:
- Good soil quality to grow healthy crops that are resistant to disease and bug infestations.
- Planting companion plants that attract beneficial insects that feed off garden pests.
- Growing herbs to act as natural bug repellents.
Unfortunately, pests such as aphids, slugs, mites and larvae can still affect your garden.
Here are some effective organic sprays that are backed up by scientific studies.
Recipes for Organic Pest Control Sprays
It may surprise you to learn that you may already have some of the ingredients you need to use in your own organic pest control recipes.
Neem Oil Organic Pest Control Spray
According to scientific studies, neem oil is a natural pesticide that doesn’t pose a risk to human or animal health. Also, bugs that love to gorge on your plants don’t build up resistance to organic neem oil-based pesticides.
To create your own neem oil organic pesticide, this is what you should do:
- In a spray bottle, mix 2 teaspoons of neem oil and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap with 1 liter (one quart) of warm water.
- Shake well to combine the ingredients.
- Spray liberally on plant leaves to help kill off larvae and insect eggs naturally.
Garlic organic pest control recipe
Many gardeners already grow garlic in their garden. You can also use garlic extracts to get rid of plant-munching insects. For example, a 2016 study found that garlic was just as effective as Dimethoate in controlling aphids. Using 85 g of garlic in 9 liters of water helped to significantly control certain pests.
How to make your own organic garlic insecticide spray:
- Put 3 large garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon of liquid soap and 2 cups of warm water in a blender.
- Whizz until all the ingredients are completely mixed together.
- Leave overnight to infuse.
- Strain the liquid into a spray bottle and spray over infected plants to remove aphids, mites, caterpillars, and whiteflies.
Red Chili and Garlic Organic Insecticide Recipe
A combination of hot chilies and garlic can be an even more potent combination than just garlic. Studies into the pesticidal effects of red chili peppers and garlic found they are an effective tool for the organic gardener. Combining those natural ingredients was just as effective as a popular chemical insecticide (Dimethoate) in killing off red spider mites.
Using the garlic organic spray recipe above, add 2 or 3 red hot chilies along with the garlic cloves before blending.
Although a garlic and chili spray is a natural pest killer, it can irritate your skin and eyes. So, make sure and wear gloves and protective eye covering before applying the potent spray to your plants.
Tomato Leaf for Natural Pest Control
Tomato leaves contain natural pest-controlling compounds. In fact, research into the pesticidal activity of tomato leaf extracts reported that they can help eliminate aphids naturally. The study found that tomato extracts effectively destroy common garden pests.
To make your own homemade natural tomato leaf insect spray:
- Roughly chop enough fresh tomato leaves to fill 3 cups.
- Put in 1 liter (1 quart) of water into a large jug and add the 3 cups of tomato leaves.
- Leave to infuse overnight.
- Strain out the liquid into a spray bottle.
- Add a little dish soap and shake well.
- Spray the natural tomato insecticide onto plant leaves to get rid of unwanted bugs.
Tips on Using Organic Pest Sprays
It is important to remember that organic sprays can be powerful mixtures. Apart from killing off pests and plant bugs, organic pest control sprays could affect your plants. So, always test some of the liquid on a small portion of the plant.
Also, avoid using the natural bug sprays in direct sunlight as this may burn the plant and affect its health.
You should also remember that homemade organic insecticides are not a quick-fix solution for a bug infestation. You may also have to use some other natural ways to improve plant health and soil quality.
In conclusion I hope you have gained some useful ideas of how to control pests in your organic garden by preparing and using some of the suggested organic pest control sprays.
(Feature image kindly shared by The Zimbabwean Gardener )