I’m not a gardener, but I like this recipe for homemade insecticide, which I found on Matt Johnsen’s The Thinking Viking web log.
Years ago when I was in a neurobiology lab studying the effects of drugs on nerves, it dawned on me – why use synthetic pesticides when you can cook up some of the most bug-toxic stuff in your own kitchen? Nicotine and caffeine, two of the world’s most popular drugs, are LETHAL to insects. Here’s how to put this to good use in the coming “aphids are eating my garden” season.
First, take some tobacco – equivalent to about two cigarettes should do it, and two table spoons of ground coffee – DON’T USE DECAF -the caffeine is what you are looking for. Go ahead and use more of both if you like I cooked up the first batch of this simply by cleaning up the cigarettes butts my smoking roommates left on the back patio. Soak this in rubbing alcohol – maybe a half cup or so or high-proof vodka, if that’s more convenient, it will also help make this more fun -soak longer with vodka as it isn’t as strong alcohol-wise for a week or so. With a funnel and a coffee filter, drain off the resulting dark brown stinky fluid into a 1 liter spray bottle. This alone with some water will be pretty bad, but there’s something you need to do to make it better.
Bugs breathe through pores in their skin, and this stuff will kill much quicker if you can get it in there better. Also, its good to have some repellent qualities to this stuff, so lets juice it up.
Add several dashes of the hottest hot pepper sauce you can get—Capsaicin is what you want— pepper spray would do the trick too, but be careful if you try that – spraying into the bottle could get you covered in nastiness trust me on this one. Next fill the bottle with water. Finally, add good squirt of liquid dish soap. Why the soap, you ask? It’s because of the bug breathing pores spiracles for the geeks out there – the soap helps break the surface tension of the liquid and allows it to enter these pores much more easily. Don’t use very much soap – too much and the spray bottle will fail as the liquid foams in the mechanism.
Give it a little shake to mix it up. Let it settle.
This stuff is almost instantly fatal to aphids, and will kill most any other insect eventually if sprayed directly on them. And your plants won’t care one bit about it. And to us mammals, it’s effectively non toxic – DON’T DRINK IT THOUGH – the nicotine from two cigarettes CAN KILL YOU if you drink it. Shouldn’t be hard to avoid drinking it though, it STINKS.
Also, DO NOT SPRAY UPWIND – trust me, you don’t want to get a face-full of this spray.
So, yeah, it’s smelly, but would you rather be spraying some synthetic chemicals made by a mega corp?
Think about it.
PS – for aphid control, spray the UNDERSIDE of plant leaves – that’s where aphids feed.
via The Thinking Viking.