The Q&A Archives: pest control

Question: can you use a natural product to prevent insects? I've heard onion, garlic, cayenne pepper and dish soap w/ water help? is this true? and what about diatomaceous earth? what is it and where can I purchase?

Answer: Diatomaceous earth is ground up diatomite, a naturally occurring form of silica that was originally algae long, long ago. It is used on the soil surface according to the label instructions. The sharp bits cut into soft bodied pests such as slugs and hard bodied pests such as beetles and cause them to dehydrate and die. Horticultural diatomaceous earth can usually be found locally at garden centers. Homemade sprays of pepper, onion and garlic can work as a deterrent against chewing pests. Here's a recipe:

1 garlic bulb

1 quart of water

1 medium onion

1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon liquid dish soap

Crush the garlic, mincing it fine. Add finely chopped onion to the mixture, while adding the rest of the ingredients except the soap. Wait an hour before adding the soap to the mixture. The spicy ingredients must sort of stew or steep, almost like tea. After an hour, add the soap and your non-toxic spray is ready to use! This can be stored in the fridge for a week.

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