TREGRAHOW
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HOMEMADE INSECT CONTROL

I steep comfrey and nettle (separately) to produce plant feeds. Are there any plants I can steep/brew to produce a reasonably effective bug repellent/killer? Please bear in mind I live in the UK and don't have the same range of plants available to me as gardeners in the USA have.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: HOMEMADE INSECT CONTROL

garlic- hot pepper spray is a common homemade insect repellant/killer. It isn't so much steeped as just blended in water. Search the site here and there are lots of recipes for it. I suppose it might work infusing the garlic and hot peppers in hot water.

Real insecticides can be made from garden plants, but they carry the same warnings as commercial insecticides. I grow nicotiana, which is ornamental tobacco. Steeping those leaves would give you a nicotine solution. Being ornamental it would be much less concentrated than steeping tobacco.

"Nicotine extracted from tobacco (Nicotiana spp.) and other members of the nightshade (Solanaceae) family of plants has been used for centuries to kill sucking insects such as aphids, thrips and spider mites. This extract is highly toxic to virtually every living thing, however, including people, pets and beneficial insects. Nicotine sulfate is considered a botanical pesticide, allowed in organic gardening but is no longer available commercially because of its toxicity, but a family of synthetic chemicals that mimic the effects of nicotine on insect nervous systems feature in many insecticides." https://homeguides.sfgate.com/can-nicoti ... 82389.html

So you could also steep your tomato plant leaves. But again note that this would be harmful to beneficial insects as well as pests. If you are trying this, I would use it quite diluted and only on areas where you are having a lot of problems.

Another is chrysanthemum. Natural pyrethrum is derived from chrysanthemum flowers and is pretty environmentally safe (ie. for pets and people) and not persistent in the environment. But it is also harmful to bees and other beneficial insects. Pyrethrins and pyrethoids (such as permethrin) are highly concentrated synthetic versions that are used commercially. https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 11&t=57653

A simple soapy water spray is effective against soft bodied insects like aphids.

Say more about what the problem is you are trying to deal with and we can give you more specific information.
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TREGRAHOW
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Re: HOMEMADE INSECT CONTROL

Infestations of mainly blackfly, greenfly and whitefly so I suppose the only really safe method would be the soapy water spray. All the other alternatives seem to be quite scary. Thanks for the advice.

imafan26
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Re: HOMEMADE INSECT CONTROL

This is an ant bait for little fire ants that is put out by the Hawaii ant lab.

https://www.littlefireants.com/LFA%20Fac ... et%206.pdf

This recipe is from the University of Nebraska.
Grease and Protein-Loving Ants. Big-headed ants, little black ants and pavement ants prefer grease and protein; in addition, they will also feed on fruit juices. They respond best to protein/grease baits.

A protein/grease bait recipe from Field Guide for the Management of Structure Infesting Ants is:

2 ounces (4 tablespoons) peanut butter
3 ounces (6 tablespoons)
honey
3/4 teaspoon boric acid
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: HOMEMADE INSECT CONTROL

For whiteflies (and others), yellow sticky traps work well. If you don't insist on home made, Safer Soap is a soap solution with various plant oils that make it more effective than just home made. It is completely organic and does not persist in the environment. Horticultural oils, which work by smothering insects, are very effective on all stages of this pest. If you are making a homemade soap solution, make sure it is real soap, not detergent, which can harm your plants. Dishwashing liquids are usually detergent. Look for Dr. Brunner's pure castile soap in drugstores.

Ladybugs eat their eggs and you can purchase ladybugs (as adults or larvae) to release in your garden. But again, the ladybugs won't stay in your garden long unless there are some flowers/ plants they like.
Apart from aphids, ladybugs also require a source of pollen for food and are attracted to specific types of plants. The most popular ones are all those umbellifers that I mentioned before, such as fennel, dill, cilantro, caraway, angelica, tansy, wild carrot & yarrow. Other plants that also attract ladybugs include cosmos (especially the white ones), coreopsis, and scented geraniums, dandelions

Tobacco and chrysanthemum are not too "scary," being natural, organic and therefore completely biodegradable and not persistent in the environment. It is just important to know that they can be as harmful to beneficial insects as pests. Often people think anything from their garden is completely safe and that is not true. There are plenty of toxic plants in most people's gardens.

My gardening philosophy is that in the long run if you can create a working ecosystem, with a big diversity of plants and flowers and a thriving population of birds, spiders, and beneficial insects, the ecosystem will manage itself and stay in balance. You will always have "pest" insects (if there aren't aphids etc for the ladybugs to eat, they will leave), but you won't have infestations of them and they won't kill any of your crops (though some things may be marked and "imperfect")
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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applestar
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Re: HOMEMADE INSECT CONTROL

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alieen
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Re: HOMEMADE INSECT CONTROL

So you could also steep your tomato plant leaves. But again note that this would be harmful to beneficial insects as well as pests. If you are trying this, I would use it quite diluted and only on areas where you are having a lot of problems.
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