Top 12 Non- Toxic Pesticides

I planted Native plants, hoping not only would it save water, but also effort. I love a good garden, I love going to the nursey and buying plants, I love planting the plants, but I hate pests! I hate taking care of the garden, which is why I planted the native, easy care plants, that hopefully would be ‘pest resistant’. You know that’s never going to happen! But what can you do- that is easy, readily available and cost practically nothing and good for the environment? 

I Just Gotta Tell Ya 

  • American use approximately 136 Million pounds of pesticides in lawns and gardesn 
  • Homeowners use about 3x the amount than farmers 
  • Long-term problems include neurological problems like tremors, depression and fatigue, respiratory problems, cancers, degeneration of the retina, longer-than-average menstrual cycles, and reproductive issues
  • Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 10,000-20,000 physician-diagnosed pesticide poisonings occur each year among U.S. agricultural workers
  • Herbicides can kill and contaminate the food and shelter for many wild animals. Additionally, it has been found to cause reproductive harm in frogs.
  • According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, over 30,000 pet poisonings related to pesticides are reported to their poison control center each year.
  • Contaminates Food- One study showed that 70% of non-organic fruits and vegetables were be contaminated with at least one pesticide (Journal of Pesticide Reform, Summer 2006). It showed contamination in 95% of certain fruits and vegetables like peppers and apples, and 100% in milk samples. Once it’s in your food supply, you’re again risking your health
  • Contaminate Water- According to the US Geological Survey, 30-60% of wells were contaminated with at least one pesticide. By that same study, 14.1 million people routinely drink water contaminated with five major agricultural herbicides. None of these are removed by treatment plants. Additionally, runoff from farms and lawns can contaminate rivers, streams, and watersheds.
  • Contaminates Air- By walking through your lawn and into your house, you are carrying particles that then adhere to the dust in your home. Furthermore, pesticides can remain in the air and on surfaces in the home for 21 days up to several years. Pesticide particles can also be sucked into homes, offices, and schools via ventilation systems
  • Does It Work?- More than 500 species of insects and mites and more than 150 types of fungi (a 50 percent increase over the past decade) are now resistant to some pesticides. 

Advantages of Non-Toxic Pest Control: 

  • Less Expensive
  • Easier on your own animals and family
  • It’s good for the Environment 

What You Can Do if You have a Gardener: 

1.) Tell them no pesticides

2.) Make up the following list and give to the gardener to do

3.) Do it yourself 

Top 12 Non- Toxic Do It Yourself Pesticides 

#1) Tobacco or Nicotine Spray: (Bugs, caterpillars, aphids, and some worms)

What you need:

  • 1 cup of tobacco
  • 1 gallon of water

Put the tobacco into the container of water. Allow the mixture to set for approximately 24 hours. After it has stood for a day, check the color. It should be the shade of weak tea. If it is too dark, just dilute it with water until it looks right.

Warning: Don’t use this solution on peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, or any other member of the solanaceous family. Tobacco chemicals can kill these types of plants!

2.) Dishwashing Liquid/Vegetable Oil  (white flies, spider mites, aphids) 

USDA recommendation: Mix one teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent with one cup of vegetable oil. Shake vigorously to emulsify and add to a quart of tap water. Use at 10-day intervals as an all-purpose spray for white flies, spider mites, aphids, and various insects on carrots, celery, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, and others. Note: Test on a single plant first, because it may cause tip burn. This is a contact insecticide, so spray mix directly on the pest.

3) Liquid detergent-alcohol spray:

Mix one teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent plus one cup of rubbing alcohol in one quart of water. Test on a few leaves first to make sure no harm is done to sensitive plants. Spray top and bottom sides of leaves; or if plant is small and potted, invert it in a large pan of solution (holding soil ball securely) and gently swish back and forth. Repeat in seven days.

4) Liquid detergent—hot pepper spray:

Steep three tablespoons of dry, crushed hot pepper in 1/2 cup hot water (covered) for half an hour. Strain out the particles of peppers, and then mix solution with the liquid detergent formula mentioned above. Good for a number of insects on both indoor and outdoor plants. Note: Apply to plants outdoors. Do not use on windy days. Avoid breathing fumes, which can be irritating to nose and eyes. You can substitute hot Tabasco sauce or Louisiana hot sauce for hot pepper.

5.) Garlic and onions:

Grind up raw onions or garlic into a puree. Soak in warm water overnight and strain. Liquid can be sprayed on roses, fruit trees, and flowers. Kills aphids and apple borers. Scrape off any loose bark on the trunk and swab liquid on. Many gardeners mix onion water and wood ashes and paste mixture on tree trunks.

6.) Garlic and Mineral Oil 

Chop 10 to 15 garlic cloves into small pieces to soak in 1 pint mineral oil overnight. Strain and spray oil mixture directly on infestations.

7.) Pest and Water

Capture and crush 1/2 c. of a single kind of insect. Add 2 c. water and strain. Mix 1/4 c. of the solution and a few drops of liquid soap to water in a spray bottle and target the insect’s friends and relatives. Sounds gross, but this is a very effective species-specific control.

8.) Baking Soda and Vegetable Oil 

Mix 2 tbsp. baking soda, 1 tbsp. vegetable oil, and 1 pint of water in a spray bottle. Shake up and add 1 tbsp. castile soap. Spray on leaves and soil every 5 to 7 days to prevent fungus growth.

9.) Milk and Water 

Fill a spray bottle with half milk and half water. Shake and spray every 3 or 4 days. This prevents fungus growth.

10.) Beer 

Pour Beer in small containers around plants. Will attract slugs and snails. 

11.) Apple Cider Vinegar 

Spray raw apple cider vinegar on leaves or on soil around plants. This prohibits mildew mold growth

12,) Chrysanthemum 

Chrysanthemum contains a neurotoxin “Pyrethrum” which attacks the nervous system of insects. Just boil the fresh or dry flowers, strain and use the water.


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  1. says

    A low cost, green eco friendly insecticide is to make a homemade liquid from soapberry which grows on the Chinaberry tree and has been used for thousands of years. It works very effectively.

  2. Pat Bartle says

    My African Sumac Tree has drooping branches and the bark is coming off the trunk. Gardner says its bugs and needs to be sprayed plus treating the soil around the trunk. This pesticide is extremly poisonous to my small dog, can you suggest a safe treatment. The tree is quite tall so will be difficult to spray all areas. Thanks for any advice.

  3. sUZANNE lEISMAN says


  4. says

    don’t soak garlic in oil unless you have done your research. it’s very possible to create botulism (yeah, the stuff that’s labeled a wmd). read about it on wikipedia.

  5. Christina says

    Hi there, I have carpenter ants in my garden and invading one of my favourite trees. They are starting to cause significant damage. Any suggestions on how to kill them without killing my plants and trees? Thanks in advance for your advice.

  6. Diana White says

    My peach tree is dying. There is a gooey substance at the base of the tree. I was told that it is larvae infestation. Your ideas would certainly be appreciated. Thanks so much.


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