Homeowners with lawns, gardens and green spaces are no strangers to seeing pests lurking around their properties, especially insects. These creepy crawlers can become a constant nuisance for gardeners who have to protect their plants from damage. While there are plenty of ways to keep bugs at bay, most people opt for conventional insecticides that use chemicals that get the job done but not without collateral damage to plants and the environment.
Therefore, organic pest control has recently become a popular ‘buzz’ word in recent times among gardeners, horticulturists, and farmers as a cheaper and safer alternative to store-bought products filled with toxins and chemicals. Many people are also taking the DIY route to make homemade bug repellents for their garden.
If you’re looking to do the same, keep reading our guide on how to make a homemade bug spray for your garden and protect your plants from damage naturally. But first, we’ll talk about the main types of insects found in gardens and how they damage your plants.
Let’s get started.
The Main Types of Insects Found in Gardens – Know thy Enemy
Whether you’re growing organic herbs or ornamentals, your garden can attract a multitude of insect species, especially during spring and summer. While many insects are beneficial, the ones on our list below are known to inflict a lot of damage. Therefore, you need to identify them and take the necessary pest control action. Here are some bugs you need to be worried about:
- Fruit flies
- Leaf beetles
- Mormon crickets, etc.
How these Bugs Damage Your Garden Plants
The following are the three major ways insects inflict damage on garden plants:
Most of the damage done to plants by insects is through feeding. Insects with chewing mouthparts like caterpillars and grasshoppers feed on leaves, resulting in holes, defoliation, or root consumption. Insects with sucking mouthparts feed on sap from leaves and other plant tissues, which typically results in curling, drying, or spotting. Lastly, we have mining or tunneling insects that use their chewing mouthparts to drill holes inside plant tissues and stems and feed on them from the inside.
Many insects, such as mosquitos and flies, damage plants by transmitting vectors (or plant diseases) through bacteria, fungi, viruses, mollicutes, and nematodes. These diseases can cause crops to die prematurely and affect other plants in the vicinity through passive or accidental transmission.
The final type of damage neither involves insects making a five-star meal out of your garden nor disease transmission. Some insects cause extensive death or structural damage to crops and ornamentals simply by laying eggs in their leaves or stem. If owners don’t take reactive measures quickly, this damage can escalate further into larvae feeding on roots, stems, and leaves.
How to Make a DIY Bug Repellent for Your Garden
When it comes to making a homemade bug spray for your garden, there’s no universal recipe. Many gardeners mix several natural ingredients that have been proven to repel several insects. Before we get into our recipes, here’s is a list of popular ingredients recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
- Lemon eucalyptus
- Vegetable oil
- Bleach-free detergent, etc.
Equipment and Supplies Needed
Regardless of the recipe you choose from below, you’ll need the following:
- A spray bottle
- A pot and stove
- A strainer
- Funnel (for transfer)
- Food processor
Homemade Bug Spray Recipe 1
- 4 cups of water
- ½ cup of vegetable oil
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/4 cup of bleach-free detergent
- Peel the garlic clove and smash it until it reaches a puree-like consistency. You can use a food processor to save time.
- Next, mix the garlic in a pot filled with the aforementioned quantities of water and oil.
- Let the mixture sit overnight and strain it in the morning using a strainer or soft cloth into the spray bottle.
- Add the bleach-free detergent to the bottled mixture and shake vigorously until you see a mildly soapy solution forming.
- Use the solution on pest-infected plants
Homemade Bug Spray Recipe 2s
- 2 tablespoons of baking soda
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon of bleach-free dish soap
- 2 liters of water
- Combine all ingredients into a large pot filled with water.
- Transfer some of the mixture into a spray bottle using a funnel.
- Shake well before using it on an infected plant.
Homemade Bug Spray Recipe 3
- Lavender or lavender essential oil (In case you don’t have lavender oil, you can boil lavender in distilled water and use the solution)
- Lemongrass or lemongrass extract
- 4 tablespoons of white vinegar
- Mix 10 to 20 drops of each lavender essential oil and lemongrass extract (You can also combine both ingredients with distilled water, boil them, and let them cool off before the next step)
- Strain the solution into a spray bottle.
- Spray thoroughly throughout your garden, especially on crops.
Homemade Bug Spray Recipe 4
- Citronella grass
- Tomato tops
- 1 liter of water
- Combine all ingredients into a large pot and turn on the flame on a low setting.
- Turn off the heat when the solution comes to a boil and let it cool overnight.
- Add the solution to a spray bottle, and use it in your garden infested with mosquitos, flies, and roaches.
Now that you know how to make a homemade bug spray for your garden, all you need to do is head to a local store and get all the ingredients you need. By opting for DIY organic pest control, not only will you be saving a lot of money compared to store-bought pesticides, but you’ll also switch to a green, DEET-free solution that is safer for your garden and the environment.
Furthermore, before you use your DIY insect repellent in your garden, you should test it out on a small plant or portion to ensure your solution is safe. Also, many natural oils and ingredients tend to retain heat, so don’t apply your homemade bug spray on hot and humid days. The last thing you want is to burn them to death in an attempt to protect them from flies and beetles.