Organic Insect Repellent Recipes


Insect repellent is a 'fact of life', it's needed for any plant you will ever grow whether indoors or outdoors. Unfortunately, the really toxic chemical based repellents are the most effective...that is if you wish to leave toxic waste all around your plants to be absorbed by them and eventually eaten by you.

There are some organic alternative repellents that you can buy or make yourself. I would suggest making them yourself because once the label 'organic' is applied to any product, the price seems to go up by 50%.

insect repellent I use the term 'organic' very loosely here because the key ingredient of many of the following recipes is dish soap which is certainly not organic so the term 'organic' is used here to distinguish from a harsh and toxic chemical.

So how do some of these insect repellents work?

I am not really sure of how they work but I do know that they are effective as repellents and even as killers of insects. I do know that soap will cut through the natural oils of a small soft insect body and help water completely enclose the insect drowning it.

Soap will also penetrate the insect cell walls and halt respiration. The problems with a soap-based insect repellent is that it is ineffective as soon as it dries on the plant leaves and too much can actually damage the plant being helped...

Here are some recipes, most of which can be mixed, poured into a spray bottle and sprayed on a plant to apply:

1 cup tobacco
1 gallon water

Soak tobacco in water for 24 hours to make a weak tea then strain.

This will kill caterpillars, aphids and some worms but do not use on solanceous plants such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Also hazardous to humans.

3 Tablespoons liquid detergent
1 gallon water

Kills slugs. Use weekly

1/2 cup alcohol (rubbing or the drinking kind)
3 Tablespoons dry laundry soap
1 quart warm water

Do not store - make new for each use. Kills mealy bugs. Mix and spray when needed

2 Tablespoons salt
1 quart warm water

Kills cabbage worms and spider mites - mix and spray as needed

Spray flying bugs with hairspray

Maybe not the most organic of repellents but it does work. It stiffens bug wings the same as it stiffens hair.

Leave a small container filled with beer at the plant base.

If the container is buried up to the lip of the container, slugs will crawl in and drown.

5 Tablespoons of soap
1 gallon water

This is homemade insecticidal soap with soap at a 1% to 2 % concentration.

1 small piece of cardboard, index card size

Color the card yellow and coat the surface with vaseline. If placed somewhat level with the top of the plant, flying bugs will be caught in this homemade sticky trap.

Chamomille tea made according to directions

Chamomille tea is a natural anti-fungal and anti bacterial substance so instead of drinking it, spray it on plants with powdery mildew and damping off

Neem oil added to the homemade insecticidal spray (mentioned above)

Neem oil is a natural pesticide.

1/2 cup chopped hot peppers
2 Tablespoons soap
2 cups water

Widely used and very effective repellent (also can be used as homemade mace to be used for defense)

1 package chewing tobacco
1 ounce listerine
1 teaspoon dish soap
1 gallon water

Not very organic and extremely toxic; do not touch, inhale or drink!

Broken eggshells sprinkled around the base of plants

Slugs will not cross over a line of eggshells.

Toothpicks buried until only 1 inch is sticking up around a plant base

Will keep small animals away.

1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 Tablespoon baking soda
3 Tablespoons Tabasco
6 drops dish soap
1 quart water

Very effective...

Dryer cloths stuck on sticks and placed next to plants

Not organic but will keep deer away.

1 bulb garlic
1 onion
1 Tablespoon cayenne powder
1 Tablespoon liquid dish soap
1 quart water

I like this one the best!

1/2 cup dead bugs
1 pint water

Chop dead bugs and slugs in a blender and add to water.

Organic, yes
Pleasant, no
Effective, extremely.

As you can see the basic insect repellent recipe comes in many variations and not all are adaptable to hydroponic use. But remember that due to the nature of hydroponics, you will never have many of these bug problems; notably slugs.

Good luck!

Comments about these recipes? Any new ones?

Organic Insect Repellent is the way to go and they can be just as effective as the harsh chemical ones...

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Slug & snail killer 
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what is the correct ratio for preparing tobacco, garlic and soap insectcide? 
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how long do I mix the garlic onion,cayenne pepper and liquid detergent? how much water?...

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