Sunday, 5 October 2014

Natural Pest Control - Updated

In August last year our Simple Living Toowoomba group had a very informative workshop on 'Natural Pest Control' which was presented by Kelly who had earlier in the year run a 'Compost and No-Dig Gardening' workshop at her home in Murphy's Creek. She had handed out a number of sheets of information at the workshop which I collated and included in a couple of posts here and here. I thought I would revamp them and incorporate them into one post in case anyone would like to print them out using the Print Friendly button at the bottom of the post.

 Horticulture/White  Oil

We will start off with Horticulture/White Oil.  Kelly's 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.

 Fungicides in order of Kelly's preference:

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). 

Fungicide 3
1 tablespoon Bicarb Soda (Bicarb helps disrupt fungal spores by raising the pH)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon detergent

4 litres water

Mix all ingredients together and use.

Used for: Powdery Mildew and Downy Mildew

All Round Insecticide Spray (to spray on all chewing pests)
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.


 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.

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.

Molasses Spray

1 cup molasses

1 litre warm tap water

Mix together thoroughly and use undiluted, spray over new foliage for best results.

Used for: Grasshoppers and caterpillars.

Molasses Soil Tonic

2 cups molasses

2 litres water

Mix until combined and spread over one and a half square metres of garden area affected by nematodes.

Lantana/Wormwood Spray

500g lantana

500g wormwood

1 litre water

Boil lantana and wormwood in water for 20 min, cool and strain. Spray liberally on affected plants.

Used for: Most effective against aphids.

Rhubarb Spray

4 rhubarb leaves roughly chopped

4 cups water

1 squirt detergent

Place rhubarb and water in a saucepan (not aluminium) bring to boil then simmer for 30 mins. Allow to cool and then strain. Make sure you press down on the leaves to get all the moisture out. Place into a spray bottle and squirt in the detergent.


Not for use on ferns and orchids.  

Predator Attractor 1

2 teaspoons Vegemite or other yeast based spread

1 litre water

Dissolve the Vegemite into the water and spray.

Used for: Attracting beneficial insects into the garden that prey on pests. Assassin Bugs, Ladybugs etc. Lacewings are particularly desirable because they consume aphids and many other pests.

Predator Attractor 2

1 dessertspoon sugar

1 dessertspoon yeast

Enough water to make a paste

Mix sugar and yeast together and add enough water to make a paste. Apply the paste onto small stakes scattered around plants. Alternatively add 1 litre of water and spray it directly onto plants.

Predator Attractor 3

Grow plants that attract beneficial insects like Ladybugs, Praying Mantis and Lacewings etc. Attractive plants include Cosmos, Marigold and Angelica.  Also herbs such Dill, Caraway and Fennel.

Fill shallow dishes with small rocks or pebbles and fill with water so the beneficial insects have somewhere to have a drink. Grow low growing plants such as Thyme or Oregano to give the beneficial insects the cover they need.


1 cup common salt

1 litre vinegar

Mix salt and vinegar together after the salt has dissolved. Brush or spray directly onto weeds.

NOTE: Remember it is not a selective weed killer and will kill anything it touches.

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. 

Other Pest Control Hints:

1.       Observation is the key to success.

2.       Create a good soil structure, healthy soil equals healthy happy plants.

3.       Feed the soil with composted soil improvers.

4.       Grow plants that suit the site and don’t sow or plant when temperatures are too low.

5.       Use crop rotation when growing vegetables.

6.       Practise good garden hygiene and clear away pest ridden and diseased foliage and when      using  tools on diseased plants give them a quick wash in methylated spirits.

7.       Encourage good air flow around plants by thinning and pruning.

8.       Don’t overfeed plants particularly with high nitrogen as it encourages lush growth which is attractive to pests.

9.       Use companion plants that mask the scent or appearance of desirable crops. Many highly aromatic plants contain natural chemicals designed to make them unattractive to pests. Mint, Wormwood, Rosemary, Lavender, Sage and many other herbs when actively growing amongst crops can confuse pest insects by masking attractive scents.

10.   Use companion plants that act as trap, sacrifice or indicator crops. Some plants such as Nasturtium, Mustard and Chinese Cabbage, can be used as decoys so that pests attack them rather than your crop.
11. Use the good old ' See them and squash them' for the not so squeamish or pick off
       pests and disease as they appear and dispose of affected plant material.  

       Now all the notes Kelly gave us are in the one post if you would like to print any of them out. If you choose to use the Print Friendly button you can delete the images and just pick out what paragraphs you want to print by clicking on the ones you don't want which will delete them. You can save as a PDF also if you choose to do that. 
      I hope the notes help someone having trouble with pests.  

      Update: I noticed that the Print Friendly button doesn't show up on the iPad so sorry about that if you are reading this on your iPad. There probably is a way to install it but that is in the too hard basket for me....being technologically challenged and all!



  1. Thank you for sharing these. I will definitely be printing them out to save. The roses we have out the front I want to use for crafts/jellies so a natural spray is going to be great.

  2. I hope they work for you, Shiralee. I believe there are a few aphids around on roses at the moment so the sprays might come in handy.

  3. Chel you are a lifesaver. I have been online looking for natural solutions all week ( we have some white moths hanging around) and here you are. I was going to make the onion/chili mix this week. Thanks! Very timely!

  4. Vicki, I hope you find something that works for you. Those moths are a real pest, aren't they?

  5. Thanks for putting them all together, I am making a real effort to stop having pieces of paper laying around never getting put in the right place as I eventually forget something and this will be a big help! (Hope springs eternal.) I am currently doing the natural thing and waiting for the frost to kill the little beasts!

  6. All the best with the frosts, Kathy :-) We don't have too many pests here apart from the cockatoos and other birds but a spray won't keep them away. LOL!

  7. Goodness, way to much to deal with here in a lunch break. I'll drop by later when i've got time. This looks like a very interesting and informative post. :)

  8. Lunch break? Poor Lynda, we have a long weekend here in Qld :-)

  9. Thank you for sharing these pest control solutions! I was just inspecting my roses today and they are covered with aphids - will make some of this "White Oil" to get rid of them :)

  10. Hi Kyra, nice to see you here. Let me know if it works for you. We don't have any roses so I can't test out the White Oil mixture.


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