Sunday, 25 August 2013

Natural Pest Control

Yesterday we had our Simple Living Toowoomba group's workshop on Natural Pest Control. First we had a discussion on 'The Principles of Organic Gardening', 'Healthy Soil' and 'Organic Pest and Disease Control'. Then Kelly showed us how easy it is to make our own sprays if they were needed in our garden after first making sure we had plants growing which attracted the 'beneficial' insects.

As usual Kelly was super-organised with handouts for everyone and came equipped with Epsom Salts, dishwashing liquid, molasses, hot chillies and other items to make up the sprays.

Horticulture/White  Oil
Her No. 1 favourite spray, 'Horticulture Oil' or 'White Oil' can be used on mealy bugs, aphids, leaf miner, white fly, pests' scale and mites on roses, citrus or stone fruit as well as sooty mould. Get good coverage and avoid spraying in hot weather. Avoid using oil sprays within 21 days of applying a sulphur based fungicide.
It is made from:
2 cups of vegetable oil
1/2 cup of dishwashing detergent.
Place oil and detergent into a large jar and shake it well and it will turn white in colour. To use add 2 tablespoons of the concentrate to 1 litre of water and it is ready to go.
Fungicide No. 1
A fungicide for black spot on roses is made from:
3 teaspoons Bicarb Soda
1 litre water
1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid
Mix all ingredients together and spray.
Don't get carried away with the bicarb soda as it will make the mix too strong and cause problems.
Fungicide No. 2
Another fungicide for black spot on roses, fungal diseases like powdery mildew on cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, peas, etc. and downy mildew on grapes, onions and rhubarb or other plants is made from:
1 level teaspoon Bicarb Soda (it helps disrupts fungal spores by raising the pH)
1 litre milk
Pinch of Condy's Crystals (Potassium Permangate). Get from produce stores or a chemist.
Mix together and shake thoroughly and use.
For best results apply weekly and remove infected leaves (DO NOT put them in the compost).


Kelly finished off the workshop with an All Round Insecticide to spray on all chewing pests:
All Round Insecticide Spray

4 large onions chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped or crushed (if you don't have fresh garlic use the bottle crushed garlic but use 4 teaspoons)
4 hot chillies or 1 heaped teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons detergent
Note: When chopping chillies WEAR GLOVES.
Roughly chop onions and garlic and add hot chillies/cayenne pepper and detergent. Place all ingredients in a bowl and cover with warm water. Leave it to stand overnight. Strain and add to 5 litres of water to create an all round insecticide.
She also gave us the 'recipes' for Burgundy Mixture  for controlling leaf curl and brown rot on peach, nectarine and raspberries.
 Molasses spray for controlling grasshoppers and caterpillars and a Molasses Soil Tonic if there is a problem with nematodes.
Lantana/Wormwood spray for spraying against aphids. Rhubarb spray to be used with caution and not to be sprayed on food plants or near animals.
 Slug and Snail Traps.
 Predator Attractors for attracting beneficial insects into the garden that prey on pests.
If anyone wants to make these sprays just leave the request in the comment box below and I will update the post to include them as it's hard to know what interest there is out there in cyberspace unless anyone comments.
Update: Slug and Snail Traps 1
1 cup stale beer
1 dish or jar

Place the beer in the dish or jar and sink it into the ground so it's at ground level. The slugs and snails will be attracted to the beer and drown.

Slug and Snail Trap 2

1 teaspoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
500 ml water

Dissolve yeast and sugar into water, place into dish or jar and sink into the ground so it's at ground level and hopefully the slugs and snails will fall in and drown.

Kelly advised us to just make up the quantity of sprays that we needed at the time and not to keep it for extended periods. Her general advice for spraying is:

Spraying - best practice


1. Never spray if another method is available.
2. Mix different sprays together.
3. Spray on a windy day.


1. Identify the problem correctly so the right spray is used.
2. Spray at dusk to avoid harming bees.
3. Follow instructions.
4. Wear protective clothing and use a good quality sprayer.
5. Avoid spraying predators.

It was a very informative workshop and we learned least I did as a beginner gardener. There were more experienced gardeners there like Barb from BarPet's Patch who came all the way from Boonah for the workshop. It was lovely to meet her in person as we 'met' on Rhonda's blog a while back. I hope it was a worthwhile trip for her.

Do you make your own pest control sprays? Feel free to share with the rest of us.




  1. Thanks for this informative post!!
    I am desperately in need and looking for a solution to the slug and snail problem in my garden and home, since they enter my house too, while I am asleep. First thing I do in the morning is putting back sometimes up to eleven of them in the garden...
    Would love to recipe for an eco / purse friendly, homemade solution.
    Thanks in advance.


  2. Jeanneke, I have updated the post to include the slug and snail traps and I hope that they work for you.

  3. It was certainly worthwhile driving up for the workshop. Kelly was such a wizz, her garden sounds fabulous. It was lovely meeting you and Margy too, thanks for having me.

  4. Glad it was worthwhile, Barb! Yes, Kelly is very organised, isn't she? I haven't seen her garden as I wasn't at the compost workshop but there are photos on the Simple Living Toowoomba website It looks fabulous!

  5. Oh Nanna Chel, thank you so much for posting these recipes. I have saved them for future reference. I don't have a lot of trouble with pests, must be due to the dry climate.

    We don't have snails or slugs, but white ants (termites) are a big problem though. I noticed they have been munching on the base of my mandarin tree today. Any hints for controlling them would be very much appreciated :)

  6. Tania, I don't know if the All Round Insecticide would help as Kelly has written in her notes that it is used for all chewing pests.

    I have to email her about something so I will ask her if she knows. She does a lot of reading about gardening so I am sure she would know. There have been a lot of 'pageviews' for this topic so I might write out the rest of her notes tomorrow.

  7. Tania, sorry to take so long getting back to you but Kelly's has had problems with her computer and has lost a lot of info from her hard drive. She emailed me this information this morning and perhaps it will help you.

    'Try cardboard traps. All you do is take a couple of strips of flat cardboard, wet them, and stack them on one another in an area where termites are likely to be. Termites like to feed on cardboard so this makes for an excellent spot trap. When the cardboard is infested with termites burn it and put a new one in its place. Repeat multiple times if necessary. You could also try Beneficial Nematodes that are a small unsegmented worm species that are a natural parasite to garden pests including termites you should be able to buy online'.

    Last but not least try Boric Acid is comes in a crystal form and you can use it dry or mix it into a spray it kills the termites by basically shutting down the nervous system and the termite either starves to death dies of dehydration or both, not very pleasant if you’re a termite but effective.

    However, as with anything it should be kept out of reach of children and only use in locations where it will not come into contact with people and other animals. When you have pest such as termites it is best to find the nest and kill the queen.

    Tania, I hope this helps.

  8. Thank you for giving the information. I normally use to sprinkle pest control to my vegetables daily to get rid of the pest from it and due to this all my vegetables and fruits grow nicely.
    Pest Control Services in Miami


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