Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Homemade Bug Repellent for Your Garden

Our garden did wonderfully in the month of May. We harvested buckets of lettuce and the newly planted tomato and peppers shot up quickly. We had minimal weeds and no pest problems at all.

Enter June. Weeds galore - even in our newly made garden boxes - and bugs going to town on our itty bitty green bean plants.

The weeds we dealt with the old-fashioned way, but what were we to do about our pest problem? If this had happened a few years ago, we would have broken out a can of Sevin dust and happily gone about our business. That won't cut it now since we're trying to go all organic.

I did a little bit of research on organic pest control and decided to try my hand at making a homemade bug repellent before I went out and bought a pricy can of organic pesticide.

Sinus-Clearing Bug (and Husband) Repellent: 
  1. Peel and mince a full head of garlic and place in a quart Mason jar.
  2. Add 2-3 teaspoons of mineral or vegetable oil. I used the food grade mineral oil that I rub on my wooden cutting boards.
  3. Sprinkle in a goodly amount of ground cayenne pepper. I used about 1/4 teaspoon.  
  4. Let soak for 12-24 hours, then press the mixture through a fine sieve or a colander lined with cheesecloth. Put the liquid back in the Mason jar, discarding the solids. 
  5. Add a couple of squirts of biodegradable dish soap and 2-3 cups of water. Shake the jar to combine. 
  6. Pour mixture into a squirt bottle and spray on the affected plants.   
When I presented the idea of a homemade bug repellent to Hubby Dear, he had some doubts. After he took a whiff of the potent mixture, he wondered if the brew might kill the plants in addition to repelling the bugs. Nevertheless, I took my little spray bottle out the garden and boldly set to work.

Don't you love the great tan I got from our week's vacation in Florida? 

It has been several days since I applied the repellent and it actually seems to be working. The plants have put out new leaves and there does not appear to be any new damage. Just one caveat: if it is a windy day when you apply this spray, make sure you are not down-wind! Ask me how I know!


  1. I gave this a try and it seemed to really help with the cabbage worms I had. Thanks for the info!

  2. Kris - Glad to know it worked for you!

  3. I am going to try this for spiders in my wood pile

  4. Did this work in the long run?

  5. Stephanie - You have to re-apply it after rains and when it seems like the bugs are starting to bite again, but it did work for us over the entire season. It is not as effective as a pesticide would be, but it also won't cause cancer! ;)

  6. Thank you for your post. Can't wait to try!

  7. The best thing about this remedy is that it's organic and eco-friendly. The fact that it's made with ingredients that can be found in one's pantry or kitchen is also a huge advantage. I'm glad this kind of thing works, because not only are we able to get rid of pests, we're also reducing our footprint on the environment! Thank you for this solution, I'm definitely going to give it a try myself.

  8. What I love about homemade bug repellents is that they are economical and you can customize them however you like, especially on the scent part. It can also be a fun and stress-free home project for you. Guys, if you’re looking for inspiration, then check this out: http://backpackingmastery.com/skills/homemade-insect-repellent.html