10 Homemade Organic Pesticides


small plant in a pile of dirt

Ever wonder what farmers did hundreds of years ago to fight off crop pests? Long before the invention of harmful chemical pesticides (yes, the kind that is linked to cancerous cellular activity), farmers and householders came up with multiple remedies for removing insect infestations from their garden plants.

The following list will offer some of our favorite, all-natural, inexpensive, organic methods for making bug-busting pesticides for your home garden.


1. Neem

Ancient Indians highly revered neem oil as a powerful, all-natural plant for warding off pests. In fact, neem juice is the most powerful natural pesticide on the planet, holding over 50 natural insecticides. This extremely bitter tree leaf can be made in a spray form, or can be bought from a number of reputable companies.

To make your own neem oil spray, simply add 1/2 an ounce of high quality organic neem oil and ½ teaspoon of a mild organic liquid soap (I use Dr. Bronners Peppermint) to two quarts of warm water. Stir slowly. Add to a spray bottle and use immediately.

himalayan crystal salt

2. Salt Spray

For treating plants infested with spider mites, mix 2 tablespoons of Himalayan Crystal Salt into one gallon of warm water and spray on infected areas.

3. Mineral oil

Mix 10-30 ml of high-grade oil with one liter of water. Stir and add to spray bottle. This organic pesticide works well for dehydrating insects and their eggs.

4. Citrus Oil and/or Cayenne Pepper Mix

This is another great organic pesticide that works well on ants. Simply, mix 10 drops of citrus essential oil with one teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1 cup of warm water. Shake well and spray in the affected areas.

5. Soap, Orange Citrus Oil & Water

To make this natural pesticide, simply mix 3 tablespoons of liquid Organic Castile soap with 1 ounce of Orange oil to one gallon of water. Shake well. This is an especially effective treatment against slugs and can be sprayed directly on ants and roaches.

6. Eucalyptus oil

A great natural pesticide for flies, bees and wasps. Simply sprinkle a few drops of eucalyptus oil where the insects are found. They will all be gone before you know it.

7. Onion and Garlic Spray

Mince one organic clove of garlic and one medium sized organic onion. Add to a quart of water. Wait one hour and then add one teaspoon of cayenne pepper and one tablespoon of liquid soap to the mix. This organic spray will hold its potency for one week if stored in the refrigerator.

8. Chrysanthemum Flower Tea

These flowers hold a powerful plant chemical component called pyrethrum. This substance invades the nervous system of insects rendering them immobile. You can make your own spray by boiling 100 grams of dried flowers into 1 liter of water. Boil dried flowers in water for twenty minutes. Strain, cool and place in a spray bottle. Can be stored for up to two months. You can also add some organic neem oil to enhance the effectiveness.

9. Tobacco Spray

Tobacco

Just as tobacco is not good for humans, tobacco spray was once a commonly used pesticide for killing pests, caterpillars and aphids. To make, simply take one cup of organic tobacco (preferably a brand that is organic and all-natural) and mix it in one gallon of water. Allow the mixture to set overnight. After 24-hours, the mix should have a light brown color. If it is very dark, add more water. This mix can be used on most plants, with the exception of those in the solanaceous family (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc.)

10. Chile pepper / Diatomaceous Earth

Grind two handfuls of dry chiles into a fine powder and mix with 1 cup of Diatomaceous earth. Add to 2 liters of water and let set overnight. Shake well before applying.

If you have some easy recipes for making your own organic pesticides, we would love to hear them.

- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

Free Sample E-Book: Learn How to Cleanse Your Body of Harmful Toxins Using Organic Methods


  • Vince

    Great info! I hope it helps with my ant problem.

  • samson aseervatham

    Suggestion of natural pesticides is instructive informative .I wish it should reach the common man and commercial plantations. According to WHO every third person is getting cancer.Using commercial pestides is a social crime , it should be punished and its production should be banned in stages.Prevention is always better than cure.

  • Sabrina Ahmed

    I think that it is really important that people start using alternative forms of pesticides. I can’t speak for everyone else, but the idea that poisons are being sprayed and absorbed into fields of food that may eventually reach my family’s plates…. well it really scares me. I try to grow and store my own vegetables when I can so that I can monitor what goes into them.

    Good Luck and Go Green!
    -Sabrina

  • Andrew

    One heartfelt request: Before applying an organic pesticide, make yourself remember that any pesticide is designed to be a powerful poison, whether it’s made from organically produced ingredients or not. Thus, please think carefully before applying your nature-derived toxic cocktail, think carefully about the insect against which you’re applying it, and mindfully weigh the benefits and detriments of using it. Better solutions: 1) rearrange the environment so it is less attractive to the insects you consider pests; 2) find plants that retard these insects, and add them to your garden as guardians; 3) focus on pest prevention rather than destruction. One other point: any pesticide capable of killing an insect will poison the surrounding environment, likely killing innocent, even “beneficial” insects. If you can afford the time and energy, integrated pest management works better, does not poison the environment, and lets Nature do her own best work. Imagine that, pest control that puts Nature ahead of people ahhh.

  • Andrew

    “Eucalyptus oil
    A great natural pesticide for flies, bees and wasps. Simply sprinkle a few drops of eucalyptus oil where the insects are found. They will all be gone before you know it.”

    Killing insects for one’s convenience isn’t “green”, it’s entitled thinking. Given the massive die-back of bees this country has experienced over the past decade, does it make sense to create gardens that attract bees, then decide to poison them because you don’t want them around? Really?

  • Saunya

    Now that would take me a degree to learn!

  • charlie

    lemongrass oil

  • ron

    Geez, all you ‘protect the pest’ people. Go hug a tree. They’re bugs for God sake!

  • Elizabeth Lanfer

    Baking soda works everytime to get rid of fire ants.
    I am sure there are many other uses for baking soda
    besides baking. Thanks for other suggestions.

  • Kirk Patrick

    The idea is not to be nice to the bugs. It is to kill the bugs and not kill your pets and children.

  • Roy

    What about grasshoppers? Does anyone know of a good way to control them?

  • CK

    What is the best natural pesticide for stink bugs? They are especially damaging to my cucumbers & tomatoes.

  • Olive Sahara

    Organic pesticides can be produced from natural essential oils, such as lemongrass, neem, lavender and geranium oil. Find these interesting articles at Indonesia Essential Oils..

  • healthylife

    Thank you for presenting alternatives to chemical pesticides. Our soil and foods have been poisioned by all the chemicals.

  • http://www.facebook.com/abetterwayfarms Kathy

    I mix a little bit of Seventh Generation all natural dish soap with water in a spray bottle and spray the squash/stink bugs. I’ve read that it will kill the babies but not the adults, but that is not the experience I’ve had. It kills babies and adults. I do not think it is effective on the eggs though. I’m thinking next year I will try something on the eggs that would dehydrate them. Maybe a mineral oil/salt mixture. The problem with crushing the eggs is they are hard to crush and you can’t hardly do it without damaging the plant and they don’t “knock” off the plant easily either. Squash/stink bugs have been the biggest problem around here. So much so that we skipped squash all together last year to try to break the cycle and while there were less of them this past season, they seemed to find us by mid season. They are a real problem for the organic gardener here in the mid Atlantic. I’m not sure that my Seventh Generation soap meets the Organic standards, but its says it is all plant based cleaning agents and I would use it to wash my own produce. It doesn’t harm the plants – at all – even when sprayed daily and I figure I can wash the soap off the veggies. I’d love to hear comments from people as to whether you think this is an acceptable method. It DOES work, although it is time consuming to hand spray the undersides of each leaf of every plant several times a week. If you only have a few plants, I highly recommend it! For several rows or many plants like me… I think next season I will try to rig up some sort of sprayer that I can move along each row that sprays upwards to get the undersides of the plants. Another nice thing is that one bottle of the Seventh Generation dish soap goes a long way, so the cost of this “pesticide” ends up being super, duper cheap. I found it also works on cucumber beetles.

  • elmer mabuti

    i agreed……….so better to publish some
    plants having insecticidal effect to balance the ecosystem of insects and not only focus on killing them all even the beneficial insects….i remember tomatoes has insecticidal effect so it can be plant in between your garden to protect them from
    insect attack.

  • http://www.twitter.com/RayZorback Ray

    How long to the various mixtures last??
    I am looking for a few mixtures that I can produce in bulk and leave it in the garage or pantry for a week or so, until I need it again.

    Thanks!

  • Maria Koster

    It very strongly came to me that today’s trend is strongly:FEAR the bugs, EMBRACE the chemicals! — I’m quite happy to see alternatives on that page to fight most of the usual pest without desturbing natural balance! – Thanks!

  • Sheryl

    I found your site looking for an organic & inexpensive as well as EFFECTIVE way(s) to deter/kill fleas. I don’t have any pets, but there are neighborhood cats & squirrels that go through our yard. When I sit outside, the fleas like to jump in my hair! UGGGHHHH!!!!! I’ve tried many different pesticides w/pyrethrins, etc… Nothing seems to be effecitve. I also realize that there are 4 life-cycles of the flea & also use an insect growth regulator (IGR). I live in Florida & we get a lot of rain in the Summer & of course a lot of sunshine. Can you recommend anything to help me battle those little “suckers?” Thank you

  • Momwithconcerms

    Did you ever think that certain pests thata are not native to the US need to be killed because there is no natural way unless it’s to introduce another invasive species.

  • RNotR2

    Try diatomaceous earth. Check out this web page:

    http://www.richsoil.com/diatomaceous-earth.jsp

  • Nantzin

    Here are some plants I have found to be beneficial to keep (some) bugs away:

    1. marigolds
    2. Chrysanthemums

    Here’s a site with what plants to plant to keep bugs off tomatoes, lettuce, etc.

  • Mamom

    Plant Marigolds around your tomato plants

  • http://twitter.com/ShelbyMoore01 Shelby Moore

    What can be used for grubs and cutworms?

    We have a list of everything that’s been going on in our garden at: sandigrows.blogspot.com –Are we doing anything wrong? Everytime we get over one bug another one shows up! LOL.

  • http://www.facebook.com/corie.stevens.5 Corie Stevens

    The absolute best defense against ANTS is dried bay leaves! Grind up a handful of dried bay leaves in the blender until pretty much powder, then sprinkle anywhere you are having any problems with ants. Inside or outside. Ants literally run away as fast as possible. The best thing about this is it lasts for months and does not kill the ants or other creatures, just makes them move out and away – as fast as they can! Apply every few months for best results! I do this around my hummingbird feeder to keep the ants from crawling up the pole. Works wonders!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1261155626 Gary Fish

    From Medline Plus, National Institutes of Health

    Eucalyptus leaf is safe when consumed in the small amounts found in
    foods. There isn’t enough information to know if supplements that
    contain larger amounts of eucalyptus leaf are safe.

    Eucalyptus oil is UNSAFE when it is either taken by mouth or
    applied directly to the skin without first being diluted. Taking 3.5 mL
    of undiluted oil can be fatal. Signs of eucalyptus poisoning might
    include stomach pain and burning, dizziness, muscle weakness, small eye
    pupils, feelings of suffocation, and some others. Eucalyptus oil can
    also cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

    Eucalyptol, a chemical that is removed from eucalyptus oil and used as
    medicine, appears to be safe when taken by mouth for up to 12 weeks.

    Special precautions & warnings:

    Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Eucalyptus seems to be safe for
    pregnant and breast-feeding women when used in food amounts. But don’t
    use eucalyptus oil. Not enough is known about safety during pregnancy or
    breast-feeding.

    Children: Eucalyptus oil is UNSAFE for children. It should
    not be taken by mouth or applied to the skin. Not much is known about
    the safety of using eucalyptus leaves in children. It’s best to avoid
    use in amounts larger than food amounts.

  • Marion Gardiner

    The recipes are excellent and helpful. If I could clarify one thing, though. The title may cause some organic gardeners and small farmers to believe that all of the recipes may be used on an organic farm. It might help to note that neither tobacco nor dish soap are approved for use under organic farming (although commercial soap-fatty acid-based pesticides are) and would be included on a list of products that you cannot have used for 3 years before applying for certification.

  • krich

    where is the site?.

  • Sophie

    Something is eating the leaves on my sweet corn, I don’t know what the pest is which remedy should I use??

  • Beans

    It’s balancing our Eco system not destroying everything just coz we can … Ignorance is certainly bliss in your area of expertise

  • Gabrielle

    Can we ask or can you suggest some plants that can be used in pesticides or something that can be use in environment. And it is environmental friendly. Thanks.. We’ll appreciate it a lot if you can help us in our S.I.P.

  • Rebecca

    Please consider rewriting this article to focus on safer ways to manage garden pests, ways that do not also kill beneficial insects like pollinators. Yes, invasive pests are irritating, but adding to the woes of the bees is not a good solution.

  • vapid.ness

    Very bad idea to use tobacco spray, when nicotinamides are having such a bad effect on bees. I’ve used it myself in the past, I admit, always in the evening when foraging beneficial insects weren’t about, I’d never dream of doing it now, poor old bees. Planting to encourage predators (like growing poached egg plants/Limnanthes around beans to encourage hoerflies which eat aphids) is much more effective and less likely to lead to crashes and booms in pest and other populations.

  • Cape gardener

    Has anyone got rid of lawn caterpillar with organic pesticides?

  • sharon

    What do you put on squash to kill the bugs?

  • Heather Sunshine

    For the first time in forever, I have planted marigolds, and something is eating the crap out of them. Ive always used marigolds in my gardens to encourage ladybug bettles to eat aphids, and such. Im at a loss at what this could be its eating the green leaves, not the blooms does anyone have any suggestions?

  • Vanessa @ Green Global Travel

    These are some good tips! I think also simply having a variety of produce to grow aids in repelling pests. There’s so much pesticide out there in use now due to monocultures.

  • heliena

    I like the way you think. Thank you for the heartfelt view.
    Heliena

  • Heliena

    Yes and they are all GODS creatures the as you!

  • Diana Mooney

    The best thing I have ever found for grasshoppers is to raise a troop of guineas. They will do the job as will chickens.

  • AJ Chestnut

    I am all for living in harmony with bugs, but this summer a new invader is here killing all of our flowering plants. Some of the bugs that are normally around are missing, and I don’t think it is a coincidence. Particularly the lady bugs and butterflies. We used to get invaded by both every year ( which I actually look forward to because, well, they are cute bugs!) but not this year. Even the lightning bugs are spare and I really think it’s this new bug I never see. What could it be?

  • Amila B Madduma

    I can prepared organic pesticide used by cashew nut shell. Presently I apply it for all of coconut and paddy pest. It’s have some special odour to control the pest. Special procedure was used to produce it. If somebody represent can gave help to me I surely improve it as most popular organic pesticide in the world. ( today I doing research about rice pest control using that pesticide. Basic test was successfully.

  • Amila B Madduma

    I’m University a student. I can prepared special organic pesticide using cashew nut shell. It very successfully for pest control in paddy, vegetable and coconut pests. presently I’m doing research for brown plant hopper (Nilapavarta lugens) control research. any body can help me for improve it as best organic pesticide in world. It has special to increase plant growth rate.

  • CoJoGo

    I desperately need help with bird mites! I thought it would be a great idea to allow barn swallows build a nest under the front porch roof just above our door. Now mites are literally everywhere and getting worse. I’d rather not use an exterminator but this is crazy! Ideas?

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    That’s a problem! Check out this site, it has some info: http://www.birdmites.org/strategies.html

  • hurricane heather

    Also the water runoff from fields with these poisons affect us, besides the food themselves. I was driving by a field being sprayed with some sort of chemical about a week ago and I could smell & taste the chemicals as I was driving. Not cool! So many ways we are being poisoned!

  • Dave

    I have the less expensive neem powder. Do you think a mixture of this with water (and a natural soap) might work as well?

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