Chemical-free Ways to Keep Insects at Bay
And how to make them!
Livspace Editorial Team
September 04, 2019
There’s nothing like a home or terrace garden to bring some greenery into your home and keep the air fresh. Taking care of plants is no menial task; a large part of it involves ridding them of pests, weeds and insects using pesticides. In the long run, however, pesticides do more harm than good as they seep into the groundwater and pollute the local as well as the larger ecosystem. But fear not! Here are a few natural pesticides that make for effective alternatives.
Natural Pesticides #1: Spray a Mixture of Vegetable Oil and Soap
This natural pesticides recipe gets to the root of the problem– pesky bugs. Keep a solution prepared by mixing a cup of vegetable oil with a spoonful of mild soap. When ready to spray, dilute the liquid with some water and spray on affected plants. The oil works by coating the shells of insects and blocks off the pores, effectively cutting off oxygen. Since the mixture is mild, your plants won’t come to harm either!
Natural Pesticides #2: Use Neem Oil
Neem oil is a biopesticide sourced from the bark of neem trees. It is a natural pest-repellent with powerful benefits– the oil prevents pests from feeding off plant leaves and stems. Of all natural pesticides, this option is most eco-friendly as it is biodegradable and non-toxic. It doubles up as a preventative measure too; just spray a diluted amount on healthy plants to keep away pests and insects.
Natural Pesticides #3: Concoct a Salt Spray
This idea is straight off the pantry shelf– mix salt and water in a spray bottle and regularly give your plants a healthy douse. Salt deters pests from sitting on and feeding off your plants. It is also directly beneficial for plants, unlike some other natural pesticides, as salt increases the absorption of nutrients like magnesium and sulphur.
Natural Pesticides #4: Serve up a Garlic and Onion Solution
Garlic has a pungent smell and so does onion. While this combination isn’t entirely disturbing for humans, it has quite an effect on pests, making it a great natural pesticides solution. Soak a clove of garlic and half an onion in water and add some cayenne pepper for good measure. Spray onto your plant leaves at regular intervals for a month and see the difference!
Natural Pesticides #5: Sprinkle some Chrysanthemum Flower Tea
Chrysanthemum flowers contain a powerful plant-based chemical compound called pyrethrum. This compound has an adverse effect on pests’ nervous system, effectively rendering them immobile. To make this natural pesticides solution, boil chrysanthemum flowers in water for at least 20 minutes, strain the mixture and transfer the liquid to a spray bottle for use. To increase its effectiveness, add some neem oil to the mix. An added benefit of this remedy is that it can be stored for up to two months, ready to whip out when a pest infestation occurs.
Killing off all the insects and microbes in the garden will affect the ecosystem balance. That said, regular sprays of any of these natural insecticides will allow the good ones to thrive and remove the pests!
If you liked reading this piece, also explore Plants That Keep Pests at Away.