8 Homemade Bug Sprays for Your Plants - Backyard Boss
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8 Homemade Bug Sprays for Your Plants

Insects are a valuable part of the ecosystem, but too much of a good thing can be bad, especially when it comes to bugs. Unfortunately, no magic pill will keep your garden and plants bug-free, but you can go the extra mile and DIY the best homemade bug repellent for your precious plants.

Unlike commercial insecticides, homemade bug sprays are chemical-free, so you won’t have to worry about the after-effects landing on your plate, especially if you’ll be spraying edible plants.

So, the next time you see bugs on your plants, instead of reaching for commercial insecticides, use your homemade bug sprays to keep the insect population under control.

8 Effective Organic Bug Repellents for Your Plants

Chemical insecticides kill insects which can throw your garden’s ecosystem off balance. With homemade bug repellent sprays, the idea isn’t to kill the insects but to keep their population under control to maintain a healthy ecosystem in your garden.

Safety Precautions:

  1. Always wear gloves and goggles before mixing and applying these bug sprays.
  2. Keep children and pets away from your homemade bug sprays.
  3. Wash your hands thoroughly after spraying your plants.

Note: Always do a patch test before spraying your plants with a bug repellent. To do it correctly, spray a small amount on a few leaves and wait 24 hours to see if there’s any damage. Don’t spray your plants under direct sunlight. It can cause leaf burn. Also, remember to water your plants a day before you apply bug sprays.

1. Dish Soap Spray

A woman sprays water on a potted plant yucca from a plastic bottle in the living room
Image credits: Zhuravlev Andrey via Shutterstock
How this helps It is great for getting rid of soft-bodied insects like aphids, mealybugs, and scales that can cause severe damage to plants.
How to make it Thoroughly one 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap in 1 liter of water and pour it inside a spray bottle.
How to use it Spray the entire plant, including stems and under leaves, in the morning or late afternoon when the sun’s not too hot. Apply every four to seven days until you see a decrease in population. When the bug population has decreased, spray your plant with plain water to remove soap residue.

2. Oil Spray

Misting A Fiddle Leaf Fig
Image credits: AngieYeoh via Shutterstock
How this helps It smothers soft-bodied insects like aphids, thrips, and mites.
How to make it Mix 1 cup of vegetable oil with 1 tablespoon of mild soap in a bottle. Add 1 liter of water and 2-8 teaspoons of the oil and soap mixture in a spray bottle.
How to use it Drench the entire plant in this mixture, including stems, and under leaves, in the morning or late afternoon. Repeat the process every two weeks until you see a decrease in the population.

3. Red Pepper Spray

red pepper powder
Image Credit: Stacy Spensley via Creative Commons
How this helps It helps deter rabbits, deer, and insects like spider mites and cabbage worms from your garden.
How to make it Add 2 tablespoons of dried red pepper powder, 6 drops of mild dish soap, and 3.5 liters of water in a spray bottle. Mix well and let it sit overnight.
How to use it Before using it, strain the mixture to prevent bits of undissolved powder from clogging the nozzle. Wear your goggles and gloves before using this solution, as direct contact can irritate your skin. Spray your plants once a week until you see a decrease in the pest population.

4. Fungus Removal Spray

baking soda
Image Credit: aqua.mech via Creative Commons
How this helps Fungus isn’t a bug but can attract bugs and create a hostile environment for your plants to thrive. This helps prevent black spots, powdery mildew, early blight, and leaf blight.
How to make it Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, and 3.5 liters of water. Pour this mixture into a spray bottle.
How to use it Spray your plant’s leaves on both sides every five to seven days until you see a reduction in fungus.

5. Rubbing Alcohol Spray

rubbing alcohol with water
Image credits: Brett Jordan via Unsplash
How this helps This helps remove scale, mealybugs, mites, and aphids by dissolving their outer waxy covering that protects the insect and its eggs.
How to make it Mix 2 cups of rubbing alcohol with 3.5 liters of water in a spray bottle.
How to use it First, do a patch test on a leaf or two and wait 24 hours. If you see leaf damage, dilute the mixture with more water and thoroughly spray your infested plants every seven to 10 days to remove the bugs.

6. Neem Oil Bug Spray

Neem oil with beans and leaves
Image credits: Ninetechno via Pixabay
How this helps This helps remove soft-bodied bugs like aphids, mealybugs, and whiteflies. It also battles powdery mildew and repels mosquitoes.
How to make it Mix 1 teaspoon of neem oil, 2 teaspoons of mild liquid soap, and 750ml of water in a spray bottle.
How to use it Generously spray your plant daily until you see a reduction in bugs and pests. To prevent root rot, pour the solution around your plants every two weeks.

7. Tomato Leaves Bug Spray

The leaves are turning yellow on the tomatoes, bug repellent
Image credits: PrysMichael via Shutterstock
How this helps Tomato leaves contain alkaloids like solanine, tomatine, and even nicotine that are toxic to soft-bodied bugs like spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids.
How to make it Chop 2 cups of tomato leaves and soak them in 2 cups of hot water. Let it stay overnight. In the morning, strain the mixture into a spray bottle, add 1 cup of water, and mix well.
How to use it Spray the infested plant thoroughly, but avoid using this spray on eggplants, peppers, or potatoes because these nightshade plants also produce solanine which, when sprayed with this bug spray, could do more harm than good.

8. Garlic Bug Spray

A bulb of garlic opened up with some cloves spread out, bug repellent
Image credits: Tijana Drndarski via Unsplash
How this helps Helps repel soft-bodied bugs like squash bugs, leafhoppers, and cutworms.
How to make it Take 2 bulbs of garlic and puree them with 1 cup of water. Let it sit overnight. In the morning, strain the mixture into a 1-liter spray bottle, add 1.5 cups of vegetable oil, and 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap, and fill the rest with water.
How to use it In another 1-liter spray bottle, add 1 cup of the above mixture and fill the rest with water. Spray your plants thoroughly every five to seven days until you see fewer bugs. If the infestation is too much, use the concentrated spray you made above without diluting it further.

How To Prevent Bugs from Attacking Your Garden Naturally

Pests ate leaves on basil plant leaving holes behind damaging the plant, bug repellent
Image credits: B Lamb via Shutterstock

If you don’t want to use organic bug-repellent sprays and would rather treat the problem without using insecticides, there are a few natural ways to discourage bugs from attacking your garden. However, know that it will take longer to see the results if you opt not to use homemade bug sprays.

Do Don’t
Use aged compost in and around your plants, as the strong compost smell will deter bugs and pests. Overfertilized plants will attract pests, so use only as instructed.
Plant companion plants to deter pests. For example, planting marigolds with roses will attract beneficial pollinators to your garden. Ensure the companion plants thrive together and don’t compete with each other for nutrients. With the wrong companion plants, you’ll end up inviting more pests.
Use row covers, forks, or plastic bottles to protect young plants from bugs, small mammals, and pest attacks. Don’t overwater your plants, as that could invite mold and fungus. Invest in a good soil moisture tester to avoid under and overwatering.
Attract beneficial insects and birds like hummingbirds and ladybugs to help control pests like aphids and hornworms. Don’t use bug-repellent sprays without identifying the bugs in your garden. You don’t want to remove beneficial bugs that can help you eliminate harmful pests from your garden.

Snailed It!

Bugs are a vital part of the ecosystem, but too many in your garden can destroy your plants. Since chemical pesticides can cause more harm than good, making homemade bug-repellent sprays are a safe way to keep your garden bug-free. If you don’t want to use chemical or organic bug sprays, you can attract beneficial insects to your garden and plant companion plants to help naturally deter pests and harmful bugs.

As always, leave your experiences, thoughts, and questions in the comment section! And share with friends and family who might find this helpful.

Happy Gardening!

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