June 21, 2010

Natural Insect Sprays for Garden and People

Well, the Japanese Beetle invasion is in full force! I think they should be called June Bugs and the beetles we played with as children called June Bugs should be July Flies because of the months during which they arrive. Anyhoo, I was heading for the roses with my can of Sevin when I decided to read all the fine print on the label. Shoot! This stuff kills bees and butterflies! As of today, June 21, I have not seen but one butterfly in my yard and the only bees I've seen were a few honey bees early (none now) and bumble bees. My yard is full of butterfly attracting plants too. This is really serious. Did you know that a lack of pollinators seriously effects our food chain?

To say the least, I didn't use the Sevin. I dug out all my reference books on organic gardening in hopes of finding a natural insect spray. Bingo! Good ole Jerry Baker had just what I needed in one of his books. Recipes to follow. I also want to tell you about a wonderful natural bug repellent for people that I found from my fellow Twitterer, Michelle, of Funky Chunks Soap Company. It is made from natural oils and other good stuff and no DEET! It works for me, the other night I was sitting on my studio porch and watched a mosquito hover over my arm and fly away without biting me! Read this article about the dangers of DEET. So get a bottle of Quit Buggin" spray http://funkychunkssoaps.com/products/quit-bugginand save your brain!

Now here are the recipes that I used to run off the beetles and save my bees. I tweaked them a little from the original and they worked great for me. Just remember organic treatments are not as "instant" as poisonous chemicals. I found within 24 hours the population of beetles was significantly less and today - 3 days later they are almost gone.

Spray for Leaf Eaters
4-6 fresh garlic cloves
2 hot peppers (the hotter the better)
1 sm onion
1 qt water
3 drops of baby shampoo
Blend everything EXCEPT THE BABY SHAMPOO until liquefied.
Let this mixture set overnight, strain out the solids, add the baby shampoo, pour into a hand held sprayer and spray everything that the bugs like to eat. Be sure to wash this off any edible plants before eating unless you like EXTRA SPICY!

This one is for direct kill
1 cup rubbing alcohol
2 teas. vegetable oil
1 qt water
Mix all together and spray directly on insects.
It takes a few minutes but the bugs will soon drop off your plants.

This one for Mildew worked real well on my squash plants and the bee balm:
1 tables. hydrogen peroxide
1 Tables. baby shampoo
1 teas. instant tea granules
2 cups water
Mix all in a hand held sprayer and mist the leaves thoroughly.
Jerry says mid-afternoon on a cloudy day works best but I sprayed on a hot sunny day and got good results.


  1. Very useful stuff! I use hot pepper sauce mixed with liquid dish soap and water. The Japanese beetles flee on contact.

  2. I'm almost afraid to put this in print but as of yesterday, there were no beetles left in my yard and no harsh chemicals!

  3. I haven't tried these yet... It does sound very easy to prepare.. Thanks for the tips.