8 Easy DIY Pesticides for Your Garden

by Katie KucthaApril 12, 2018

There are very few experiences that rival the sheer enjoyment you get out of growing your own food. Gardening is relaxing and is a great way to exercise while putting healthy food on your table. Unfortunately, in the age of organic and chemical-free growing strategies, it can be easy to find yourself inundated with hordes of creepy-crawly pests.

If you’re hoping to make the most of your natural space without contaminating it with store bought chemicals that can also harm yourself, practice safe gardening and consider making one of these DIY pesticides to keep the critters at bay.

Soap Insecticide

It’s easy to make a homemade insecticide from mild liquid soap (such as a dish soap or natural detergent). This mixture helps deter mites, beetles, aphids, and many other species of insects.

Simply mix one and a half teaspoons of soap with a quart of water and spray the mixture onto the surfaces of the plants. Try to apply it during the cooler periods of the day to avoid suffocating your plants. If you have a particularly stubborn pest problem, consider adding a cup of vegetable oil to the mixture. This will help make the mixture more potent, and can still be applied directly to your plants.

Diatomaceous Earth

This naturally occurring substance is made out of sedimentary rock. It’s used by many homeowners as a natural insecticide. Because it’s grainy and coarse, it deters insects by providing an undesirably abrasive surface for them to walk upon, making your garden a less desirable place to live. Diatomaceous earth is available at most garden stores at a relatively low cost.
A bag of diatomaceous earth is open and the powdery substance is spilling out on a wooden floor.
Simply dust the ground around your affected plants and it will help remove snails, slugs, aphids, and other insects without damaging your plants.

Garlic

Garlic, as you already know, has a strong, often repelling, odor. Garlic doesn’t work as an insecticide but instead as a repellent, helping to prevent unwanted insects from entering your garden in the first place.

Combine two garlic bulbs and puree them with water, then combine the mixture with liquid soap. Apply liberally to the infected plants or to the soil around the plants.

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil, a common essential oil that many people have around the house, is a great way to control fly, bee, and wasp populations. No mixing required for this one — all you need to do is spray a few drops of oil where you have noticed the insects.
Eucalyptus essential oil and fresh eucalyptus leaves on the wooden table.

Companion planting

When grown together, some plants have properties that naturally protect another plant from something else. For example, tomatoes, as part of the nightshade family, contain alkaloids that can repel aphids and other insects. Plant a companion near susceptible individuals of other species to keep pests at bay. Basil can also be a deterrent to species such as mosquitoes, aphids, houseflies, and asparagus beetles.

Salt

Salt doesn’t work well for all species of insect pests but can be an effective way to repel spider mites. Mix Himalayan crystal salt with a gallon of water and spray on infected areas. Don’t do this during the hottest part of the day, as it will have a dehydrating effect.

Cayenne Pepper and Citrus Oil

This pesticide is especially effective for ants. You must use citrus essential oil, not just plain citrus juice, as well as pure cayenne pepper. Mix a cup of warm water with ten drops of citrus essential oil and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
Red hot chili Cayenne pepper fresh and dried powdered spice ready to use on wooden background.

Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums contain a powerful compound, pyrethrum. Pyrethrum is nontoxic to humans, but when extracted from the flowers can be incredibly toxic to insects. It works by attacking their nervous systems and immobilizing their legs.

To make this organic insecticide, boil one hundred grams of dried flowers in a liter of water. Strain and then pour into a spray bottle. This effective pesticide can last up to two months in proper storage.

While the jury is still out on other homemade pesticides, some people have reported success with the “beer-trap method” of slug and snail control. These pesticides are believed to be incredibly effective at eliminating even the most stubborn of pest problems.

Don’t risk contaminating your food and water supply by spraying toxic store bought chemicals in your garden. Instead, try a few of these homemade, homestead pesticides and wave goodbye to the pests that plague you.

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About The Author
Katie Kuctha
Katie Kuctha is a gardening guru and amateur foodie. She can often be found with a taco in one hand and a margarita in the other, follow her on instagram @atxtacoqueen.