evtubbergh
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What is insect soap?

Hello all you helpful gardeners :)

I have just made a batch of soap with some tallow that I burnt slightly and then did not want to give to the birds. It was quite fortunate, actually, that Gary350 posted abut making soap, which gave me the idea. https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 45&t=55817

The soap does not smell burnt but I messed up the soap anyway so now I am going to rebatch it into various other soaps. The first I would like to do is insecticidal soap.

I gather that the surfactants and detergents in dish soap are not the right thing, even though I actually used some once. What is in the soap you usually buy for spraying? If it is pure soap then this will be perfect. I will add garlic and other oil that I have but as a sticker and insecticide this would be great.

If this is meant to be liquid but I use solid soap dissolved in water that should work right?

tomc
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Re: What is insect soap?

Insecicidal soaps action is to dry out the membranes at leg and wing joints. It is caused by the lye in the soap.

The action of detergents is phosphate based and may or may not be strong enough to bust up bug and not harm plants...

Insecticidal soap is quite dilute.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: What is insect soap?

I think the insecticidal soap that is sold is basically pure, diluted soap, perhaps with some oil added to make it stick better. But as tom suggested, very dilute. You don't want more than a couple tablespoons of soap per gallon of water, maybe less. And not detergent, which can be damaging to plants. I would test anything you spray on some leaves first, before you spray a whole plant.

Soap sprays are mainly only effective on soft bodied insects like aphids, mealybugs, thrips, etc. They don't work against hard shelled creatures like beetles and even caterpillars are usually too tough skinned to be bothered by them.
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evtubbergh
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Posts: 532
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:52 am
Location: South Africa

Re: What is insect soap?

So solid soap makes a very thick gel in water and it won't spray though the spray mechanism. I just used it to wash clothes and I will get some potassium hydroxide and make liquid soap.

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