Does Tobacco Kill Aphids? - Knowledgebase Question

Name: Tony Fabello
Turlock, CA
Avatar for tonyfabello
Question by tonyfabello
March 18, 2001
I've been told that if you soak a few cigarettes in water, then strain the water, and spray it on aphids, it will kill them without harming your roses.I sthis true, or likely?

Answer from NGA
March 18, 2001
I know the tobacco companies probably wouldn't want me to say this, but the active ingredient from the tobacco spray that poisoneds pests is nicotine, which is a very lethal, broad-spectrum poison, meaning that it'll kill most everything in its path. It's no longer recommended as a home garden remedy. There are other "botanical" insecticides available on the market that are much safer when used as directed: pyrethrum and neem are two such insecticides which are quite popular these days. They are also broad-spectrum, but when you use them properly and only when truly needed, you can have less impact on non-target and beneficial species. Just recently, cottonseed oil has been formulated for use as a suffocating oil spray for use against scale, mealybugs, and other pests.

Other organic sprays are biological controls, such as Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), a bacterium that infects only insects. Different strains of the bacterium attack caterpillars, Colorado potato beetle larvae, and mosquito larvae.

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