Getting Rid of Insects
When it comes to getting rid of insects there are various options. It is possible to remove them by hand but this takes a long time and it may be too late to prevent damage. A much more efficient method is to use a sprayer to distribute a homemade insecticide quickly, efficiently and safely around your garden.
Remember that not all insects are bad, so you should always be looking to identify and get rid of the harmful ones only. Indiscriminate spraying may cause more harm than good.
Getting Rid of Weeds
Weeds can be treated in a similar fashion. Once again, it would be perfectly fine to dig them up and leave them out to dry before adding them to the compost pile. However, this is still a very time-consuming process. Since artificial weed-killers can be harmful to the environment, it is far better in terms of safety and efficiency to spray a home-made treatment on them.
Bear in mind that insecticides and herbicides are defined as substances that are used to kill insects and plants. These homemade solutions are far gentler than the commercial chemicals available but that does not mean you should not treat them with respect.
1. The Vegetable Oil Insecticide
You can make an effective insecticide by mixing ordinary vegetable oil with any mild soap. This will prove incredibly effective against some common pests like aphids, thrips and more. All you need is:
- 1 cup of vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon soap
Mix the oil and soap together and when you want to use the mixture, simply add 2 teaspoons to about 1 quart of water. Always give the mixture a good and thorough shake before spraying it on the affected surfaces.
It works by clogging up the insects’ bodies with oil. They quickly become unable to breathe as their pores are filled with oil and then they die.
2. The Soap Insecticide
This mixture is pretty similar to the previous oil and soap spray and is effective against a similar range of pests including beetles, mites and more.
All you need to make it is:
- 1.5 teaspoons liquid soap
- 1 quart of water
That is it! Just mix these two together and spray the liquid on to any affected areas. It works in the same way as the previous mixture but it is recommended that you avoid using it during the hottest part of the day. Instead, you are best to apply it in the morning or the evening.
3. The Garlic Insecticide
Garlic is famous for having a rather strong smell. Some of us love it and some hate it. The good news is that insects are among those that hate it. Technically this could be considered as something of an insect repellent rather than an insecticide. Either way, the mixture has proven itself to be an effective way of getting rid of all kinds of pests. All you need to make it is:
- 2 Bulbs of garlic (not cloves)
- 1 Quart of water
- 0.5 Cups vegetable oil (optional)
- 1 Teaspoon liquid soap
To prepare, mix the bulbs with a small volume of water and use something like a blender or a food processor to turn them into a puree. Then, mix the paste thoroughly with the quart of water and leave it overnight. Once it has sat for long enough, the mixture needs to be strained into a quart jar before adding the oil and soap and topped off with water. Then it is just a matter of filling up your sprayer and applying it to the affected plants.
4. The Insecticide That Does It All
This mixture is designed to take care of most insect problems. It is ideal if you know you have a problem but are not sure what kind of insects are causing it. It is made by combining the best of what some of the other solutions have to offer and all you need is:
- 1 Bulb of garlic (not 1 clove)
- 1 Small onion
- 1 Teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1 Tablespoon of liquid soap
To prepare, puree the garlic and the onion using a blender or a food processor before mixing the cayenne powder into the resulting paste. Then you need to leave it for at least an hour before straining the liquid and adding the soap and mixing everything together thoroughly. Then it is simply a matter of spraying it liberally on the desired areas taking care to coat both the upper and the under surfaces of the leaves.
5. The Boiling Water Herbicide
Believe it or not, simple boiling water acts as an effective weed killer. The good news is that it is perfectly harmless to the rest of your garden once it cools which it will almost immediately after use. The biggest danger is to yourself since any mishaps could be very painful.
All you have to do is boil water in a pot on the stove before pouring it directly onto the leaves and stems of the weeds. This method is particularly suited when weeds are found growing through things like the driveway or the sidewalk. It also works well if you have a large space you want to replant in the near future since there will be no harmful residues left behind. Remember that boiling water will also kill the plants and flowers you wish to keep so caution is key.
6. The Salt Water Herbicide
If you have ever lived by the ocean then you know that even the little salt carried on the wind can burn your plants terribly. There are also some historical references to slating fields to ensure nothing would ever grow there again. This should speak for its effectiveness and serve as a reminder that you want to be careful to focus your spraying on to the weeds in question.
To prepare a salt water solution, you want to dissolve 1 part salt in 8 parts water. The strength can be adjusted by mixing 1 part salt with up to 3 parts water if necessary. You then want to add a small amount of liquid soap which will cause the liquid to stick to the leaves. Then it is simply a matter of covering any plants you want to protect and spraying the ones you want to remove. Again, take care to focus your spray on the plant and not the surrounding soil.
7. The Salt and Vinegar Herbicide
Vinegar is a commonly used household herbicide. The common store variety is usually 5% acetic acid and it can be applied to weed leaves to kill them. Some stores that specialize in garden supplies may even sell vinegar that contains as much as 20% acetic acid but this much can be dangerous.
By mixing 1 cup of salt with 1 gallon of vinegar you can create an effective liquid solution which may be more effective than either of these individual treatments. This is particularly useful if you are finding some weeds to be more stubborn. A little dish soap can also help the mixture stick to the leaves.
8. Borax as a Herbicide
Borax is normally sold as a laundry and general cleaning product and can be found in most grocery stores and it can function as a decent herbicide.
All you need to do is add 10 ounces of the powder to 2.5 gallons of water. Then just use your sprayer to thoroughly coat the leaves of the weeds you want to kill. Remembering again to tie back or cover up any plants that you want to protect from the chemicals. Also, try to avoid saturating the soil and wash off any that gets onto your skin immediately.