Try these recipes for homemade bug spray for plants and keep your garden free from pesky little critters who will try to eat your fruits and veggies before you do! Learn three recipes to get rid of beetles, aphids and slugs without any harmful chemicals.
How do I keep bugs from eating my plants?
Picture this: You have a great garden growing and are waiting for the plants to finally start producing so you can harvest the food and eat your own homegrown produce. Then one day you walk outside and your plants have holes in them! Something is eating your fruits and veggies and you are in utter disgust with garden bugs!
It’s okay. It’s happened to even the most seasoned gardeners. In this article we will take a look at some common garden bugs as well as how to get rid of them with these recipes for homemade bug spray for plants (see also 'How To Get Rid of Stink Bugs').
How can you identify some of the most common bugs?
- Beetles: There are SO many different types of beetles. From small ones that are harmless to large ones that eat up plants and harvests quickly. Many of these species are specific to one plant or host of similar plants that they can live on or munch on. The easiest way to identify what kind of beetle you are dealing with is to locate them and look up the description of what you see. If you can’t seem to find any try checking as the sun is setting and its getting darker out, often times that’s when pests come out to munch undisturbed. If you aren’t able to locate any beetles at all, you might have a different bug issue all together.
- Slugs: Look for leaves that have large holes in them, slug trails are always a sure sign of them as well. You can also think about what time of year it is as slugs will come out before many other pests are out for the year. So if it’s in early spring, you likely are dealing with slugs. They will try to eat flowers as well leaving similar holes to what the leaves will look like.
- Aphids: Look for leaves that are misshapen, yellowing, or curling. You can also check the underside of the leaves and likely see the aphids on the plant. Aphids are a small bug, they come in high numbers, not just a few, and leave a sticky substance on leaves and stems.
Just a little side note before we get started on how to get rid of these pests, you may need to use trial an error to solve your problem. It’s often not a onetime deal and it’s often not the same pest with each issue that you have. Keep a record of what worked and didn’t work for future reference with other bug problems as they arise.
Check out the video below and learn how to make homemade bug spray for aphids- then keep reading for the written instructions for other types of bugs.
Ingredients needed for homemade bug spray:
How do you make a natural pesticide?
We are going to look at three options that should work well on the above mentioned pests.
The first up is for those nasty beetles.
Mix 1 ½ teaspoons of a mild soap, something like dawn dish soap or castile soap with one quart of water. Spray it on the infected areas of the plants daily until you see improvement. Make sure to apply it in the evenings while the sun is going down and the temperatures are cooled off. You may otherwise do harm to the plants if it’s too hot and it dries them up.
The beetles don’t like this mixture and should start to stay away from the plants. If you have a bad infestation of them it would be wise to go outside with a bucket of soapy water after sunset and flick any beetles you see into the bucket. This will drown them and help solve the problem. Hopefully the others get the picture as well!
Concoction number two is for Aphids.
Small insects have a hard time moving when you use oil, so this one usually works quite well.
Mix one cup of vegetable oil with one tablespoon of soap. That is your base mixture. When you want to use it just take 2 teaspoons of that mix and one quart of water and you will have yourself a great spray for your tiny pests! Spray it directly onto any plants that look like they are having issues. It will not harm the plants at all but the insects body will get coated with the oil and suffocate them. Sounds kind of mean, but we are talking about pests here, and at least it’s natural!
Last but not least, those troublesome slugs!
Slugs can be some of the worst pests to deal with! Always in high numbers and sometimes resistant to store bought sprays and pesticides, there is a natural way to try and rid your garden of the rascals.
This DIY involves more of a catch and kill method similar to the beetle solution.
Take a wooden board and place it on the ground where you see plants where the slugs are doing the most damage. The next morning you can turn over that board and likely find some slug enemies chilling out.
Using a spray bottle with one part water and one part white vinegar in it spray the slugs. Don’t do this around your plants as it can hurt plants, make sure you are in a more isolated area as if you were spray painting something. The slugs cannot handle the vinegar and will be killed and dissolved by it.
If the first round doesn’t seem to work well, increase the amount of vinegar that you put in. Try one part water and two parts vinegar for a higher concentration. That should do the trick.
You will have to do this for a few days to a week to be sure you are getting them all. When you start to not have any slugs, you have solved your problem.
You can use multiples boards at a time and continue to set them out and check to be on the safe side.
All of these options are perfect for getting rid of garden pets with DIY solutions. What works one time for one pest might not work the next time for another. Keep an open mind and try again if something didn’t work out, or try a new mixture or try using wood ash in your garden to help get rid of pests and add nutrients to your soil.
What are your best tips for getting rid of bugs in the garden? Let me know in the comments!