Repellents are often very effective in deterring pests, thereby protecting crops without having to resort to poisons. Now many gardeners will add a few drops of liquid detergent or 1/3 cup of soap flakes per gallon of any spray to increase the spray’s sticking power and effectiveness. You can also get quite inventive by using house hold items like tar paper which repels cutworms and maggots by its odor. Use 4-inch squares of tar paper laid on the ground, with holes in the centers for the stems to pass through, to protect seedlings from these pests. Aluminum foil laid on the ground has been found to be effective against aphids and squash-vine borers. Copper strips placed around a garden is effective against slugs, and crushed egg shells as well.
Countering The Common Insect Pests
Pest and control:
Aphid: Spray with a diluted solution of soapy water.
Cabbage Worm: Dust plant with a mixture of ½ cup salt to 1 cup flour.
Potato Beetle: Dust plants with wheat bran while they are wet.
Codling Moth: Spray with fish oil, or soapy water.
Corn Earworm: Apply mineral oil to the silk just inside the tip of each ear-use a eye dropper. This will repel this worm.
Flea Beetle: Dust with wood ashes to repel.
Mexican Bean Beetle: Spray with garlic or cedar extract to repel.
Thrips: Spray with oil-water mixture.
Home-Made Formulas You Can Make At Home
Soap Spray: Mix ½ cup of Laundry soap to 1 gallon of hot water
This will kill non furry caterpillars on contact as well as aphids. If used on non-woody plants, rinse off with clear water within 1 minute after applying.
Quassia Spray: Boil ¼ pound of quassia chips in 1 gallon of water for two hours, strain the liquid, and mix with three to five parts water. The spray will kill the aphids and caterpillars but is harmless to our good friends the ladybug and bees.
Garlic and Hot Pepper: Steep ½ teaspoon of crushed garlic and crushed hot peppers in 1 gallon of hot water and let sit for 24 hours. Use at full strength on wood plants, this will also repel mosquitoes; dilute 25 percent for annuals and vegetables. Spray repels many chewing and sucking insects.
Glue Mixture: Dissolve ¼ pound of glue in 1 gallon of warm water. Spray trees and bushes to trap and kill aphids, spider, mites, and scale insects.
Cedar Extract: Boil ¼ pound of cedar chips in 1 gallon of water for 2 hours; strain and dilute the liquid with three parts water; spray on plants to repel beetles.
Buttermilk and Flour: Mix ½ cup buttermilk and 4 cups wheat flour with 5 gallons of water. This will kill mites by suffocation.
Note: Homemade sprays tend to be a lot safer than synthetic substances nevertheless, they should be treated with respect. Always wash fruits and vegetables before eating them.
Natural pest control is just part of the balance for the garden or orchard to be healthy. Do not try to eliminate pests completely, since in so doing you would eliminate the food supply of many beneficial insects as well. Try just keeping the number of pests at a minimum so that they do not do serious damage, while at the same time maintaining the predator population that feeds on the pests.
All predators that feed on insect pests should be encouraged in your garden, like garden spiders, lacewing fly, praying mantis, ladybugs, non poisonous snakes, toads, and bats.
Ladybugs and praying mantis eggs are sold by many garden suppliers; both of these insects prey on a variety of common pests.