Edible Pesticide

I do all my gardening on my dining room table so I need my bug poison to be edible. I have read about (and tried) complicated brews of garlic, onions, peppers, etc which then need to be stored in the refrigerator, but I can no longer be bothered with such complicated DIY recipes. Now I use 2 teaspoons of liquid soap, 1/2 teaspoon of neem oil, and 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil, then fill the 32oz spray bottle with water. That’s it! It doesn’t need to be refrigerated either. It works well against all the leaf-sucking pests and doesn’t hurt other good insects like ladybugs or bees (I don’t get many of those in my apartment, but it may be of interest for others who do have access to outdoor space). Babies or some succulent plants don’t like this mix, mild as it is. Those you can just dunk into a bowl of soapy water to drown the sap suckers…

Neem oil is quite interesting: it smells like a combination of peanuts and garlic, which insects (and some people) find repellent. Locusts, in fact, would rather starve than eat a plant which has been sprayed with it. In addition to ruining their appetites, neem messes with bugs’ hormones and limits their pupation — their ability to change from larva to a full grown fertile adult. So if the bug survives being sprayed with the stuff, it won’t have any viable descendants. Sound good, right? But in practice, I still need to keep a sharp eye out, especially for those minuscule spider mites which won’t leave my eggplant alone. I can keep them under control but I’ve never been able to wipe them out completely.


8 thoughts on “Edible Pesticide

  1. Pingback: The dreaded phone call |

  2. True, that’s why it’s better to use real liquid soap (i.e oil which has been saponified with potassium hydroxide). That said if you’re using Dawn in your kitchen, you are probably ingesting trace amounts of it unless you rinse everything after washing with tons of water.

  3. water in which tobacco leaves have been soaked overnight along with neem oil and the rest makes it a more potent bug repellant. Excellent for mealy bug attacks on plants.

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