Homemade bug repellents and insecticides

You may not know it, but your home is filled with all kinds of free nontoxic insecticides and repellents! You don't need to buy products from the store, just follow the directions and you can keep those little critters away for good.

Homemade bug repellents and insecticides

Use scented mulch to repel insects

Trimming herbs frequently, especially removing flower stalks, helps them maintain lots of tender, flavourful new growth. Sprinkle the sprigs and flowers that you don't use in the kitchen along garden paths as an aromatic and insect-repelling mulch.

Oil spray insecticide

Some plant pests and fungal infections are hard to eradicate because they have shells or waxy coatings that protect them from traditional treatments. You can, however, smother tough-shelled scale, the eggs of many insects and even mildew infections by coating them with oil. Store all garden treatments, such as this, in a capped and labelled bottle in a childproof cabinet.

What you need

15 ml (1 tbsp) liquid dishwashing soap (do not use laundry or dishwasher detergent)250 ml (1 c) vegetable oil

What to do

1. In 500 millilitre (one pint) container, combine soap and oil to form a concentrate. Store it in a sealed, labelled container.2. To apply, mix 15 to 30 millilitres (one to two teaspoons) concentrate with 250 millilitres (one cup) water in a spray bottle and apply to stems and both sides of plant leaves. Reapply after it rains.

Insect repellent

Insects won't bug your family or friends at your next patio cookout if you try this fragrant, nontoxic herbal fix.

What you need

Sprigs fresh rosemarySprigs fresh basilSprigs fresh thyme

What to do

1. When you remove food from the grill, spread out a handful of pungent culinary herbs on the top rack of the grill where they will smoke, but not burn.2. Allow the herbs to cook and release their insect-repelling fragrances.

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