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How to make natural pesticides at home

Find out how to make three of the easiest and most effective natural pesticides to keep bugs away.

Updated

Spraying plants with natural pesticides

Key steps

Follow these easy steps to make effective natural pesticides:

  1. Identify problem/risk areas in your garden.
  2. Let your citrus fruit or garlic solution sit for up to 24 hours.
  3. Spray affected areas liberally.
  4. Scatter sand and/or coffee around plants to deter ground-crawling bugs.

Keeping unwanted insects away from your home doesn’t mean you have to spray your garden with harsh chemical pesticides. Instead, you can make your own natural insecticide. Whether it’s natural slug control you’re looking for, or a way to get rid of greenfly, we’re here to help you decide what type of homemade insecticide you’d like to try.

In addition to using a homemade pesticide, make your garden as inhospitable to critters as possible. Rake away leaves regularly, and clear mulch, to prevent bugs from thriving in dark and damp environments.

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How to make natural pesticides

Pesky pests in the garden can wreak havoc on your shrubs, plants, grass, and patios. But do you want to spray harsh pesticides around, which could harm the environment, animals, and children? Well, you don’t have to. There are plenty of homemade insecticide solutions you can try. Here are three of the best.

Citrus fruit

A number of different citrus fruits make great homemade pesticide solutions, perfect for garden pest control — lemons, oranges and grapefruits all work, for example. There are a number of ways to employ these fruits to get rid of the pests, including:

  • Leave grapefruit halves, flesh removed, face down on the ground. Ants, slugs and other creepy crawlies won’t be able to resist the scent and will find their way in with ease.
  • Boil the peel of an orange and let the solution sit for 24 hours. Add a few drops of liquid soap and pour into a spray bottle. Then: spray away!

Garlic

Garlic has a pungent smell so strong it supposedly gets rid of vampires! Seriously, though, it’s a really good natural insecticide that repels critters and helps you keep them away from your garden greenery and flowers. Here are a couple of ways to make a garlic spray:

  • Blitz two whole garlic bulbs in a blender with a little water to make a puree. Let it sit overnight, before adding a good glug of vegetable oil, a little soap and enough water to fill your bottle. Spray liberally on any affected areas to scare flying insects away.
  • Send the garlic spray into overdrive by adding some onion and a pinch of cayenne pepper to the mix.

Coffee and sand

We’re combining the two here because both are very good options for natural slug control.

  • Scatter some grains of either coffee or sand around potential areas that critters want to get to. 
  • The smell of coffee will keep them away, and the feel of the sand will also deter them from crawling any further. 
  • As an added bonus, both sand and coffee provide nutrients to the soil, too, which can help your plants flourish.

Creating a bug-free zone

Commercial insect killers may affect health, so try these approaches instead:

  • Spray ants and other crawlies with a solution of diluted dishwashing detergent in water.
  • Leave cucumber slices, garlic cloves or bay leaves in areas where insects gather to deter them. Garlic or pepper powder work well too.
  • Plant marigolds around your garden, or in window-sill pots, as most flying insects don’t like them.
  • Remove any standing or still water around the home to stop mosquitoes breeding.
  • During a BBQ, put some rosemary or sage on the coals to drive mosquitoes away.
  • Citronella candles smell great and mosquitoes don’t like them.
  • Plant lemongrass in outdoor areas. You can also use it in Thai food.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon of neem oil with 1 litre of water and a tiny amount of dishwashing detergent to make an insect spray for the garden.
  • Cinnamon sticks in the kitchen will help keep insects away, and ground cinnamon can be sprinkled in outdoor areas.

Keeping irritating bugs away from your much-loved garden doesn’t have to mean resorting to harsh chemicals. As you can see, there are plenty of gentle insecticides that don’t risk harming kids, animals or the environment in the same way. Once you’ve tried these homemade pesticide solutions, you’ll be on top of your own critter control, naturally.

Originally published