How to make cheap and effective pest repellents for the garden


There are cheap, effective, environmental-friendly homemade remedies for plant pests. Learn how to use things available in the house to drive away pests from your garden, in this DIY project. Did you know that vinegar, chillies and garlic make wonderful bug repellants and can also improve the health of your plants?

I love the little green space that I maintain in one corner of my balcony; the plants are lush, for the most part of the year and the potted bougainvillea creates vibrant blooms, all year around. The irony though is that pests love the plants in my balcony, as much as I do. I ever so often have to deal with pests – mealybugs, aphids and scale. I live on the seventh floor – and yet these tiny creatures find their way to my balcony and make my plants their home.

These tiny pests form large colonies on the underside of leaves, of healthy plants. They live off the sap of the leaves and grow in numbers, quite unnoticed, rather quickly. The problem is that they can totally destroy a plant, within a couple of days. And since they conceal themselves under the leaves they often go undetected, unless I physically examine the underside of the leaves of the plants in my potted garden.



If you notice the leaves on a hitherto healthy plant, suddenly turning yellow and shedding in large numbers, it could be a sign that the plant is, most likely, infested with one of these pests.

How do pests like mealy bugs, aphids and scales get to the plants


Aphids, mealy bugs and scales are tiny insects that are transported to healthy plants by ants. They excrete a sticky sugary substance that ants love to eat. If you notice ants moving around your potted plants it could because they have farmed these pests on your plants, so they can get a steady supply of food for themselves. Ants transport mealy bugs and aphids to healthy plants and live off the sugary substance that the former excrete. It's a, "you scratch my back, I scratch your back" situation for the creatures, but not a pleasant one for you and your plants.

Commercially available pest repellents


If you go shopping for pesticides you'll surely be spoilt for choice – there's a huge variety available in the market, from chemical-based pest repellents to organic insecticides. I won't deny the fact that most commercially available pesticides are effective, but you cannot ignore the fact that they can be quite expensive and come with risks - their use is not advised on plants in close proximity to your living space. It is best to avoid chemical-based pesticides and fertilizers on plants that you grow in and around your home. The residue from chemical based products can have harmful effects on humans and pets.

You have eco-friendly alternatives sitting in your home, which can be turned into effective fertilisers and pesticides. Here are a few easily available natural pesticides for your plants that will destroy most bugs and prevent further infestation.

Vinegar


Most Indian kitchens have a bottle of vinegar sitting in one of the shelves – it is wonderful additive to a desi style salad, and adds a certain sharpness and zing to humble onions. Vinegar is used in the laundry, as well. And many homemakers swear by vinegar for its stain-removing property.

It is an incredible aqueous solution with more properties than we can imagine. Did you know that vinegar also makes a superb bug repellent and can help keep your plants pest free?

Vinegar diluted in water makes an excellent bug repellent that can be safely sprayed on houseplants. Mix water and vinegar in a 2:1 ratio, transfer into a spray bottle and spray the liquid on pest infested plants. The solution will stop ants from frequenting your garden and kill most bugs, even beneficial ones. So, spray on areas where you find pests harbouring – especially under the leaves. Remember ladybugs are friendly bugs.

Vinegar also turns the soil acidic and is good for plants that thrive in acidic soil. The solution can be safely used on indoor and outdoor plants, without worry of it affecting the environment or the health of your loved ones. The solution stores well in a cool, shaded place. Spray the plants twice a week, when you find an infestation and once a month, to ensure the pests stay away.

Garlic


Garlic has medicinal properties and is recommended as a cure for various illnesses, is an established fact. But, have you heard of garlic keeping the vampire away? I don't know how far that is true, but I can vouch for it being a good plant pest controller. Garlic pods have the ability to drive away most garden pests.

All you need to do is prepare a concoction of garlic and water and spray it on your plants. Drop a garlic bulb in 2 litres of water and let it stand overnight. For best results smash the bulb, before dunking it in water. The next morning, bring the water to a rolling boil, with the garlic pods still in it. Cool, strain and transfer the liquid into a spray bottle.

Use the spray on your pest infested plants. Incidentally, garlic will also keep mosquitoes away. Spray the plants once a month and you can say goodbye to pests forever. The crushed garlic pods can be thrown in the soil for better effect. If you are worried that the powerful garlicky odour taking over your living space, worry not. The smell dissipates without a trace.

Chilli peppers


Break around 10 red chillies and drop them in a litre of water. Let them stand in the water overnight. The next morning, boil the water with the chillies still in it. Cool, strain and store the liquid in a spray bottle.

Use on plants, once a month, to destroy pests and keep them from returning. Be careful using this solution as the cayenne in the chillies can burn.



Neem leaves


Neem leaves are great for your garden. I suggest adding some dried leaves to the topsoil. It doubles up as a natural fungicide, fertiliser and pesticide. Alternatively, boil neem leaves in water, cool, strain and use the water to spray on the plants.

Try these natural remedies in your garden, instead of turning to commercially available pest repellents. And, in doing so you will protect the environment and yourself.

How do you keep pests from attacking your plants? What kind of pesticide/insecticides do you use for your plants? Do you have any tips that you'd like to share? Please leave them in the comment section.


Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Comments

Author: Natarajan04 Jan 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 1

Turmeric powder in water roughly 1 tablespoon (around 15 gm) in 1 liter of water, used as a spray is a good natural insecticide for the home garden/plants.
Baking soda and vegetable oil (2:1) in 2 liters warm water as a spray is good for mildew too.

Author: Juana19 Jan 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 2

I have seen turmeric being used to deter ants. It is no doubt a cheap remedy for houseplants, but my only concern is whether it will stain the surroundings, for instance, the walls in the balcony or the pathways in a garden.

I have used baking soda and vegetable oil on tomato plants that were prone to blight and killing my plants. The effect was quite amazing. Though I thought I would lose the plants, they recovered completely and went to provide me crop after crop of plum tomatoes.



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