Homemade insecticide recipe

2 Homemade Recipes For Garden Pests – Organic Insecticide

Homemade insecticide recipe


How To Make Your Own Insecticide For The Garden

When garden pests are eating your plants, instead of reaching for chemical insecticides you might consider making your own organic insecticide spray – which may be just as effective…

Here are a few do-it-yourself recipes, and I’m curious to hear about yours:



An effective organic spray for garden pests is made of garlic, onion, and cayenne pepper (and water).

Add the ingredients and water to a blender and blend until smooth. Let sit overnight to enable the oils to infuse more into the water. Then strain into a spray bottle and/or container by using a cheese-cloth or similar material. Store in the refrigerator for extra longevity.

Recipe Ingredients:

1 peeled onion (small)
2 peeled garlic cloves
1 teaspoon powdered cayenne pepper
3 cups water



This simple organic insecticide is effective against soft bodied garden insect pests and is quick and easy to make your own.

Mix 1 quart water with 1 tablespoon liquid soap (not detergents, but liquid soap).

Or simply fill a 1 quart sprayer with water and add 1 tablespoon liquid soap. Shake well.

That’s it! Simple…

Have any of you had success with a homemade insecticide spray for your garden vegetables?


  1. This is going to sound a little nasty to make, but it will work.

    I buy a package of tobacco (Drum tobacco or whatever) and soak the tobacco in a bucket of warm water overnight (outside).

    Once the water is a nice brown stinking mess I strain it through a Paint Strained (the throw away kind) into a large spray bottle.

    Spray the ground around the plants, no need to spray directly on the plants.

    1. Another bad bug killer is food grade or garden variety diatomaceous earth, actually it will kill I think even good bugs so be careful, but it is good for earth and plants.

      Just decimated an ant colony last night…RIP


        Read your note about blitzing the ants using Diatomaceous Earth.

        How was this accomplished? Did you pile a little heap by the colony entrance, or along the trail, or … Please advise.

        I’m inundated with plurry ants both in the garden & in the house (the kitchen & my office where I’ll enjoy the occasional biscuit) I don’t want to use a chemical spray, etc so any information you give me would be appreciated

        Regards & thanks (in advance)


    2. Thats a good old fashioned remedy, read about it before, works pretty good for zucchini and squashes if you directly spray plants.

  2. I find this works well for the more destructive pests:

    2 lbs liquid disinfectant
    1 qt. liquid antibacterial soap
    7 lbs skepticism
    2.4 metric tons of truth
    large dash of cynicism

    Requires relentless due diligence to cut thru the pest’s protective layers.

    These pests generally tend to consolidate in the northern Virginia area, but they also travel a lot.

    Good luck

  3. A timely piece. Thank you.

    Have not tried the Onion recipe you posted, or the tobacco one of NRP. May give them both a try. Do you know, can they be used on Evergreens? The recipe I use has liquid dish soap, and I have been warned to use very little if any on evergreens, as the dish soap coats the needles and will kill the tree.

    Anyway, what I use, have used for over thirty years with mostly success (only on leafy plants, not evergreens).

    Pail of water and about a quarter cup of liquid Sunlight Lemon Dish Soap (the kind you use to wash dishes in sink). What I read yrs. back, was the bugs like the lemon taste, so eat it, and die of diarrhea.

    Ken, have you used your onion recipe? On what type of plants?

    NRP, have you used your tobacco recipe? On what type of plants?

    thanks all

    1. @ Anon
      I use it in the Garden, other than that I live in the High Desert, so not a lot of other bugs around, except for a few flies, spiders, and whatnot.

      Note; It usually only takes one spraying in the spring; more than enough to discourage the little critters.

      And please, before anyone ask, NO the tobacco taste/smell does not permeate the vegetables, and NO I do not smoke…… HAHAHA


  4. For the organic spray mix, how often is it needed to be used to be successful? e.g., once a week?

    1. Anon2

      When we spray leafy trees with Sunlight Liquid Dish Soap in water, well, if we just notice a few bugs (aphids say), we will spray twice a week for few weeks.

      If we miss it, and the tree is loaded, the bugs are voraciously spreading, we will spray
      every two to three days for a few weeks.

      If you are just starting out and not much problem, once per week for several weeks would likely do the trick (I recall from when we first used this many yrs back, they suggested the bugs life cycle was about ten days, so it was important to do it more often than that and to continue for several weeks).

      The only reason I am interested in other options – we have one apple tree which the bugs really like, and it is tougher (not impossible) to get the aphids under control.

      -I have always thought it might be a good idea to switch off treatments.

      If you have aphids, you may well have an ant problems.

      Ants Farm Aphids, (seriously), and usually a break out of one, goes with the other…

  5. Interesting you mentioned soap. Years ago when I lived in a climate with more rainfall, I had a problem with mushrooms in my lawn. Someone suggested putting a mixture of soap (or detergent, I forget which) on my toadstools. It killed them.

    As for garlic, someone on this site suggested garlic to keep squirrels out of my garden. I tried several things, but garlic cloves sprinkled around my garden worked. I haven’t had much problem with insects, either this year.(BTW, I notice some of the garlic cloves I sprinkled on top of the soil have taken root.)

    1. DaisyK

      Good info, thanks. Might use it on toadstools, and good info re the garlic..

      (yes it regrows nicely.)

  6. A warning on using tobacco extract on plants. The tobacco mosaic virus will attack tomato(e) and potato(e) plants, and can survive in the soil after growing season. So be cautious about this “natural” pesticide.

    1. @ twp

      Appreciate the caution; I have been using this method for quite some time. I have probably just been lucky with no attacks. I do feel using this is wayyyyy better than any chemical one could use, and have had very good success.

      May also have to give Ken’s Garlic mix a try; if it does not work I could dump it into a batch of Spaghetti Sauce :-) :-)

      Just please don’t smoke the leftover tobacco, talk about bad for ya.

  7. I use a recipe similar to Ken’s, but I use vinegar rather than water to make a concentrate. No need to refrigerate. Let it sit for as much as two weeks, pour off the liquid into a spray bottle, dilute. Then refill the container with more vinegar. I tried using onion seeds instead of onions, and that worked as well.

  8. I am totally against commercial sprays…esp. Roundup.

    Well, after 3 years of tomatoes with a fungus(Verticillium Wilt)and investing time in ‘Inactivate’ and finally having tomatoes this fourth year, I had to resort to Sevin because I had to cut down completely one rose bush, and the aphids went to my ‘tomatoes’ and I wasn’t having that (the dish detergent didn’t work) investing all the time to drench my raised bed soil and spray plants every 7 days–whew…long sentence.

    I do believe the Sevin affected my cucumber crop since insects stayed clear for several days. But, they’re back now…..(smile face here). I learned the insecticidal soap trick many, many years ago from a florist.

  9. Just use Permitherin 30%, hell we are all talking SHTF so if it does I won’t have bugs!

  10. I use a little bit of dishwashing liquid, a bit of baking soda and water. That seems to work OK on the veggies, but not as good on my apple and pear trees. It seems to work better when I apply it a couple times per week.

    I have a question: I too try to stay away from chemical pesticides and herbicides…. However does anyone have an all natural recipe against fire ants, carpenter ants, cock roaches and termites? If you find that you have termites, do you call the Terminex guy or is there some other way to save your home or buildings?

      1. I like to serve my ant invaders a little ‘cotton candy’. I mix 5grams of borax with 25 grams of sugar and 50 grams of water. Dissolve the sugar and borax in the water and you’ll have a fairly thick syrup. Then I take a used canning lid (I knew they’d come in handy for something) and a big fluffy cotton ball. Plunk the cotton ball down in the middle of the lid and give ball and lid a nice coat of the ant dope (think maple syrup on pancakes). Set the little saucer of doom down wherever you see ants marching along. Give them a day or two find it and a few more days to take it back to the nest and feed it the queen. Pooof! all ants gone. Yep, serve the little buggers cotton candy.

        1. @JustAnOldGuy,
          The Borax, sugar, water combination worked well for me also. I did 3 parts sugar, 1 part Borax and mixed with just enough hot water to make it thick syrup as you mentioned like pancake syrup. I also added a few drops of pancake syrup to the mix as enticement for the ants. I then add some of the mixture to clean water bottle caps and place them around traffic areas. Amazing how fast the ants are drawn to this, the Borax does them in, I have not seen any ants for weeks around the house.

          The second part, I also put out a water bottle capful of dry, plain old sugar. An article stated that the ants cannot eat dry sugar (the reason for the thicker mixture above), but carry the sugar to their “home” for the immature ants to consume since they can eat dry stuff. I did see some ants in the dry, but have no idea if it worked. The adult ants are gone and I did find a few “pushing up daisies” near the wet mixture.

        2. Thanks for the ideas. I will definitely try them.
          Last year I found what I believed were termites coming out from behind door trim. I pulled off the trim and puffed in boric acid that took care of them. But this spring when I saw just a few here and there I bought spectracide and sprayed all around the cabin perimeter a few times and so far so good. But the stuff wasn’t cheap. But a lot cheaper than repairing the damage they would do if left unchecked.

  11. I’ve heard several reports of aphids mentioned:

    The last community we lived in California, I used to buy containers of ladybugs for my yard to control the aphids if present. I lived in zone 7 and the ladybugs were available at the hardware store at certain times of the year.

    I try to limit my use of pesticide within my yard as honeybee die-off is common around here. I do use Dr. Bonner Peppermint soap in solution to kill ants and remove their pheromone trail. This spray also drives away wasps and yellow jackets. 1 in 10 solution of Dr. Bonner’s soap in water inside a spray bottle. Works good on windows too.

    1. If you buy ladybugs, make sure you have a ladybug environment so they’ll stick around. Otherwise they go where the food is.

      Adult ladybugs need flowers (nectar/pollen) as well as insects, so provide that, with water and shade. Also plants that they can lay their eggs on. You want your single purchase to give you ladybugs forever.

      1. Lauren

        for years we bought ladybugs yearly…Read all sorts of stuff on net about what to feed/home them/etc etc..

        all and still the traitors pretty much left.

        any specific advice on what has worked for you?


        1. Laugh if you want, but sacrificial plants. Plant something the aphids adore (like cabbage) close to your ladybug area. Attract aphids, attract ladybugs, and give them a reason to stick around. It seems a little counter-intuitive to attract aphids for the sole purpose of attracting ladybugs, but you want them to stay and make more ladybugs. It’s not the adults you want–it’s the larvae, which look like tiny red and black alligators. They’ll eat many times the bugs the adults eat. Ladybugs like the nectar of flat-flowered plants like carrot, dill, or yarrow because it’s easier to get to the pollen. They lay their eggs on the underside of infested plants. Ladybug eggs will usually be oval, yellow, and laid upright in a tight cluster attached to the underside of the leaf.

        2. I too have bought lady bugs and what I find is that after they eat the aphids they go searching for other food somewhere else so I like your idea.

        3. Oh, another point to remember. Ladybugs lay their eggs in the spring and early summer–you buy ladybugs after that their egglaying cycle is over and they’ll just eat what they can find and then fly away.

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