13 natural insect repellents and insecticides

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Pest problems? You’ll find over a dozen natural insect repellents and insecticides that can battle ants, mice, mosquitoes, and more. Just keep reading.

  1. Vinegar. Spray vinegar or a vinegar-and-water mix anywhere you want to repel ants.
  2. Cloves. Snip an old pair of pantyhose into sections, tie off one end of each section, fill it with whole cloves, and tie off the other end. Tuck these sachets into drawers and closets to get rid of moths.
  3. Hot pepper sauce. Mix two tablespoons of hot sauce and two teaspoons of mild dishwashing liquid into a gallon of water. Spray this mixture on plants to keep deer from eating them.
  4. Peppermint oil. Soak a cotton ball in peppermint oil or peppermint extract, and place it where mice have been visiting.
  5. Black pepper. To repel rodents, try sprinkling black pepper around your garden plants and on your compost pile. If you know where they live, sprinkle pepper in and around there, too.
  6. Dish soap. Mix one tablespoon of mild dishwashing liquid — not dishwasher detergent — in a gallon of water. Apply this to your plants to repel or kill red spider mites, thrips, mealy bugs, and aphids. Like store-bought insecticidal soap, this may burn the leaves on some sensitive plants. Test a small area before applying to the whole plant.
  7. Salt. If you know how the ants are getting into your house, spread a layer of salt in their path. They will make a U-turn. To fight fire ants, switch to Epsom salts. Pour an inch over their mounds and another inch around the mound.
  8. Garlic. Put two cups of water and one garlic bulb in your blender. Blend, strain, and pour into a spray bottle. Coat the leaves and stems of plants under attack from whiteflies, beetles, deer, or aphids. This only stops pests for a week, but it may last longer if you add a few drops of mild liquid soap, like pure Castile soap.
  9. Tea leaves. Surround a plant with a circle of tea leaves and coffee grounds to keep slugs away.
  10. Crushed eggshells. Crush some eggshells, and spread them around a plant that needs protection from slugs. The slugs can’t handle those sharp edges.
  11. Coffee grounds. Sprinkle coffee grounds on anthills or anywhere you want to repel ants. Deer also don’t like the smell of coffee and may stay away.
  12. Citrus rind. Halve a grapefruit, scoop out the pulp, and place the rind, round side up, near a slug-damaged plant in your garden. Check this trap once a day for slugs.
  13. Rosemary. Grow rosemary in your yard or in a pot to help repel mosquitoes. Sprinkle rosemary and sage on barbecue coals when you cook outside to keep the annoying pests away.
 
 

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  • FC&A Staff Writer