If one thing standing between you and your perfectly manicured, lush green garden is the unwanted attack by pests, then hold your horses because we have something for you. It is essential to figure out a way to help protect your garden from bugs as they bring nothing but a nuisance with them. However, if you think this article is about the synthetic pesticides that posit a hoard of harmful effects for the grass and plants, you could not be more wrong.
Taking Care of Pests – The Unharmful Way
Using safe alternatives to kill the pests that invade your garden and ruin it is the age-old practice to curb this problem. Making bug sprays or pesticides at home is the best thing you can ever do for your garden’s health. In this article, we will discuss the use of soap as a pesticide. It is the most environment-friendly method that is also light on your pocket.
The benefits of making a pesticide spray using soap override any assumption about how difficult these sprays are to make. Contrary to the popular opinion that DIY-ing things is an onerous task, using soap as a pesticide could not be easier. Let us dive in and know more about this without any delay.
Some Quick Facts about Using Soap as a Pesticide
- Soaps are effective in controlling a large variety of pests, including but not limited to soft-bodied arthropods. These arthropods include aphids, psyllids, mealybugs, and spider mites. They are the most vulnerable to soap and succumb to soap spray.
- Using soap for making bug sprays or pesticides is quite easy and convenient – and this is what people like about it the most.
- Though there are no lethal side effects of using soap as a pesticide, some limitation of its usage includes the detail with which it has to be sprayed (wetting the target insects).
- Mostly, the soaps or detergents used as a pesticide for the garden are sprayed when diluted to a large extent such that the ideal concentration of the soap in the water mixture is about 2 percent only.
Why Use Soaps as Pesticides?
This is an age-old practice of gardening. It has been revived recently by garden owners as it is the most toxic-free option for the plants. Also, informative guides like these have helped spread the word about the effectiveness of soap. It is easy to make and does not leave a harmful impact on the plants.
Commercial Soap-Detergent Sprays
Although understanding why soap acts as a perfect and environment-friendly pesticide is not fully understood, the active ingredient is considered to be the fatty acids. The potassium salt of the fatty acids is the main chemical that acts as a pesticide. Interestingly, some soaps and detergents are commercially produced just for being used as a pesticide. Other common domestic soaps and detergents, such as Fels-Naptha, are also widely used for insect control.
Although you can use any soap or detergent, using the ones made for this purpose will provide better results with less risk of plant injury. The following are some tips for using soaps as pesticides:
This type of soap is not meant to clean your homes. A horticultural soap is an insecticide that protects your garden from harmful bugs. You can use it for getting rid of aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies.
- These soaps can be used on indoor plants too.
- You can rest your mind after using this soap spray as it leaves no residue that might be toxic for the birds or your plants.
- You can also make your insecticidal spray by combining a pure soap with a cup of any kind of oil (vegetable, corn, peanut, soybean, etc.) and then mixing it in warm water.
- When using any type of soap spray, it is best to make large quantities of the mixture as it has to be sprayed sparingly.
- Always make your soap spray fresh for every use.
Using Fels-Naptha as an Effective Garden Spray
Fels-Naptha is primarily used as a stain remover before washing the clothes. Several homemakers can relate to using this brand of stain remover as the main ingredient in their pesticide sprays. Fels-Naptha does not contain any fragrances or harsh chemicals that can potentially harm the plants.
Tips for Using Fels-Naptha as a Pesticide
- An inch from the bar of Fels-Naptha soap makes a good quantity of soap spray.
- You should grate the soap finely and mix it in warm water.
- It is best to use bottled water, but tap water would also work fine. Bottled water helps lower the risk of harmful impacts on the plants.
- Always remember to mark and label the container in which you store the soap pesticide.
- Make fresh insecticide spray by adding a single teaspoon of the prepared soap mixture to about a quart of water.
- Using a stronger or more concentrated solution is not recommended due to the safety of the plants.
- It is best to start using the soap pesticide as soon as you spot an insect infestation in the initial stages. You can safely use this soap pesticide repeatedly in a single day as it has zero harmful residual effects
- It is better to be safe than sorry, which is why testing out any pesticide on a small area in your garden is necessary. And then, check for the health of the area you sprayed on after 24 hours.
- A tip for making sure that you are mixing the correct concentration of the solution is to observe the leaves. If leaves appear burnt or shriveled, it is time to dilute the solution a little more.
- Don’t spray the soap pesticide when the sun is shining directly on the leaves.
- This spray should not be used on beneficial insects or bugs, such as lady beetles and honeybees.
Plantlife is as important as any other living being. If you are blessed enough to have a garden, it is good to maintain it with non-toxic solutions. Soap as a pesticide is the best option for pest control in your garden as it is very light on the pocket and is also environment-friendly. You can easily get rid of harmful pests by following the tips in the article.