In a perfect garden the balance of bad bugs to good bugs would be so you would never have to use any sort of pesticide. Although a balanced ecology is what we strive for in our garden, sometimes certain bugs tip the balance and become too numerous, seriously harming the yield of a plant. So we turn to organic pesticides which don’t harm us, and are sometimes species specific. Even though organic pesticides are safer for the environment and humans, use sparingly, because many are indiscriminate killers, and can upset the natural ecology and ratio of good bugs to bad bugs in your garden. All pesticides in this article are broad spectrum pesticides. You always want to test one leaf to make sure it doesn’t burn the plant, and be very careful with seedlings and wait until they have at least their second set of leaves.
1. Clove – 1 tblsp of ground clove spice to 1 gallon of hot water or for a weaker solution boil 15 whole cloves in a medium sauce pan. Cool and Use. Dilute can be used on seedlings.
2. Neem oil- 1 tblsp per 2 quarts of warm water. Do not use on seedlings!
3. Pyrethrum- buy at the store or place a bunch of Chrysanthemums/ and some other plants in the aster family in hot water and let it steep for 1-3 days. Strain and use. Always spray from far away, a thin mist works best. Be cautious with seedlings.
4. Diatomacous earth- Pat DE powder on tops and undersides of leaves, try not to get wet for a couple of days. Buy whole DE (Anuway Hydroponcs in Rogers, AR carries this product) and spread in planters and around the garden. Deters ants from making homes in your pots, improves drainage, modulates moisture level, provides soil with silica and other minerals. Can be used on seedlings.
5. Soap- Mix 1 tblsp into your standard household sprayer and shake. Many different liquid soaps work. Soap can also improve the effectiveness of numbers 1-3 when mixed together.
There are some ways to fight particularly pesky bugs. Hand smashing bugs still remains the best pesticide and don’t be afraid to let some bugs alone, this way they have time to attract the appropriate predator.