Natural Pesticides

The Beginning
• Once again we are talking about making adjustments to God’s creation.
• Every creature of any kind was created for a purpose .

We see this in Genesis 1:10-13
Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind [with seed in them”; and it was so.12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. 13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day.

Our Goal

• Perhaps we should be controlling pests when possible instead of eliminating them.
• Perhaps God has a master plan that uses these creatures to maintain a balance .
• And even when pests must be eradicated, if at all possible, natural means should be used to avoid using chemicals causing sickness to other animals and humans.
• Richard Fagerlund’s writings say that much more harm is done by pesticides than by the pests themselves.
• He does find pesticides to be necessary in some very severe cases where human life at risk.
• Otherwise he recommends encouraging the pest to live elsewhere.
Pesticide Damage
• Chemical allergies are linked to numerous health issues in humans including cancer and asthma.
• Chemicals are not allergens. They interfere with the natural metabolic processes.
• Chemicals suppress the immune system.
• Pesticides are another chemical that affect our daily lives.
• Pesticides have had a factor in the fall of bee colonies throughout the United States and world.
• Pollination has been affected by pesticides.
• Natural pollinators have been killed unnecessarily by being falsely identified or killed by accident.
• Removing pests from your home –no matter the species-due to a genuine conflict and infestations in our homes and gardens which we cannot allow for reasons of sanitation and disease.
• Some pests are just passing through and do not take up residence in your space. They can be just ushered along more quickly.
• Pests need to be properly identified so you know if they are harmful or beneficial.
• You need to know what harm the pest may cause.
• And you need to know what they eat.
• Steps to preventing the little black ants from coming into your home-
– Exclusion- inspect the outside of your house to see where they may gain entry.
– Ants can sense cool and aromatic odors coming from your home.
– Look for cracks around the foundation, openings around pipes, areas under stucco, weepholes in bricks.
Preventing Ants and Other Insects from Entering Your Home
• Any openings need to sealed, caulked, or screens , or otherwise eliminated.
• Assure windows and doors close tightly.
• Install door sweeps where doors do not close tightly.
• Make sure bushes, shrubs, trees do not touch the house. Trim and remove as needed.
Repel Ants
• Use cinnamon, baking soda, Comet cleanser, cedar oil, medicated baby powder, chalk, coffee grounds, borax, broken egg shells, bone meal, black or red pepper, peppermint, paprika, chile powder, mint leaves to repel ants.
• Use duct tape, sticky side out , on the wire to hummingbird feeders to keep ants out or put Vaseline on the wire.
• Use Ant Baits Once They Are Inside Your Home
Recipes for ant bait
• ½ baking soda ½ powdered sugar.
• Instant grits ( They cannot digest this)
• 2 packets Equal or NutraSweet
• Use their preferred food mixed with 2% boric acid, aspartame, or borax.
• 3 cups water, 1 c. sugar, 1 tsp. borax or 2 tsp. food grade DE (diatomaceous earth) in a bowl.
• ½ baking soda ½ powdered sugar.
• Instant grits ( They cannot digest this)
• 2 packets Equal or NutraSweet
• Use their preferred food mixed with 2% boric acid, aspartame, or borax.
• 3 cups water, 1 c. sugar, 1 tsp. borax or 2 tsp. food grade DE (diatomaceous earth) in a bowl.
• Spray classrooms with Greenbug for Indoors to rid classrooms , etc of ants.
• Red or large black ant mounds can be treated with ½ sugar and ½ borax , boric acid, or aspartame.
Wasps and Yellowjackets
• Normally we use high pressure water to knock their nests down and stomp on the nest.
• Be ready for angry adults for a while.
• With enough of this, they seem to choose to live elsewhere.
• You can catch wasps and yellow jackets by cutting off the top of a 2 liter bottle, invert it inside the bottle to make a funnel .
• Pour 2-3 inches of sugar mixed with a few drops of soap.
Spiders, Centipedes, Scorpions
• These feed off of insects.
• Be concerned if in the house and remove the insects they are feeding on.
• DE , boric acid, or borax will kill them .
Bedbugs, or flea or tick infestations
• Even though bedbugs have a bad report, they carry no serious diseases.
• They are called the most profitable bugs in the pest control business due to unnecessary fear of them.
• Strip and wash all bedding in 120 degree + water. This will kill any bedbugs or larvae.
• Vacuum personal items and place in plastic bags for 2 weeks.
• Check inside clock radios, behind pictures, under furniture, in closets. Everything should be well vacuumed including dresser drawers.
• Use a crack and clevis tool to vacuum mattresses, chairs, along the edges of carpets, behind switch plates, any other tiny areas.
• Pick up any eggs with duct tape and discard. Remove the vacuum bag and discard.
• Use a hair drier or blow drier to blow hot air in all cracks, crevices, along the edge of the carpet to get any that vacuuming might have missed.
• Use a flashlight to inspect seams, buttons, any folds.
• Spray any that you see as well as all cracks, crevices, the underside of mattress and box spring, etc. with Greenbug for People until the surface is wet. Then dust with DE using a mask.
Mosquitoes and Fleas
• Can be trapped by putting 2 Alka-Seltzer tablets in a bowl of soapy water.
• Alka-Seltzer on a sponge will attract bed bugs and kissing bugs.
• Coconut oil or olive oil shampoos , Greenbug for People, or salt water will kill lice.
• Put a shower cap on a child and use a hair or blow drier. The heat will kill the lice.
Cat and Dog Fleas
• 33 out of 107 species in New Mexico carry the plague.
• DE will kill all species of fleas. When found around eyes and ears on your pet, put DE on your finger and rub the flea area. They will fall off.
• Do not use Frontline which contains fipronil which according to Whole Dog Journal may not be safe for your pets.
• One of the most dangerous pests carrying more than 65 diseases.
• If on pet , do not pull off. Use DE and they will fall off. Save and have IDed.
• Use a flannel rag and drag yard to get rid of an infestation. Then sprinkle yard with DE especially around base of home.
• Use Vaseline or tape (sticky side out on window sills.)
• If inside the house treat as if for bedbugs.
• Steam clean carpets.
• Spray pets with a natural flea spray available at
• Put a gooseneck lamp 8-10” over a pan of fizzy seltzer water with a few drops of dish soap at night. The fleas are attracted and drown.
• Sprinkle salt where the pets lie. This will dehydrate the fleas and they will die.
• Dust carpet with DE. Let sit for 4 days. Then vacuum.
• Lightly dust your pet with DE. ( Lightly because it can dry your pets skin.)
• You may use Borax instead of DE on carpets and bedding areas but not on the pet.
• An electric trap works well.
• Make an apple cider vinegar trap by cutting off several plastic bottles . Invert the top into the bottom forming a funnel. Put 2 inches of apple cider vinegar in the bottle with a quarter teaspoon sugar. This traps the flies and they cannot get out.
• Mix something sweet (Karo Syrup, honey, or sugar) with % 5 boric acid or borax for a fly bait.
• Fill Ziploc bags with water and hang around windows and doors. Supposedly the sun shining through the bag prevents the flies from entering the building.
• Make sure to secure any entry points for flies.
• A saucer filled with bubble soap will kill flies.
• Fill small saucers or small paper cups with vinegar.
• Put a few drops of vinegar on duct tape or glue boards.
• Keep drains clean.
• Do not let water stand in pots, tires, or anything that will hold stagnate water.
• Any water that is left standing, such as animal drinking water, should have a small amount of food grade Diatomaceous Earth applied as a coating.
• You can put a tiny amount of olive oil on standing water to keep mosquito from laying eggs in the water.
• DO NOT use mosquito repellents containing DEET !
• These work quite well when first applied but when it weakens it actually attracts mosquitoes.
• Many people are allergic to it as well.
• Catnip, citronella, or lemongrass are effective for 2 to 3 hours as a repellent before needing to be reapplied.
• Other good repellents are basil, birch, rosemary, spearmint, yarrow .
• Citronella and pennyroyal both work but have side affects.
• Pennyroyal may increase the risk of miscarriages.
• Citronella has been known to attract female black bears.
• Geranium or basil plants close to doors should help repel mosquitoes from your home.
• Eucalyptus oils, garlic extracts, and extracts of orange and lemon peels will kill mosquito larvae.
• You can spray adult mosquitoes with Greenbug for Outdoors.
• Seal wool clothes in plastic bags to prevent moth damage.
• Dried lemon peels, cedar chips, dried rosemary are all repellents. Hang these inside cheesecloth in your closet to repel moths.
• If you already have an infestation , hang Clothes Moth Pheromone Trap ( only 1 trap per closet)in the closets.
• Dry cleaning kills them( then we are back to chemicals ..not my favorite.)
• Most beetles can be controlled by cleaning and assuring their food is not available.
• Steam clean carpets and furniture if you have carpet beetles.
• Keep your food that they like in jars. They are good at getting into packages.
• Sticky traps can also be used especially on those beetles that eat leather goods, dried fish, pet food, etc.
More bugs
• Weevils can be controlled by diatomaceous earth around the base of plants.
• Cornmeal kills cutworms.
• diatomaceous earth, talcum powder can be used around plants even houseplants.
• Tanglefoot insect barriers can be used around trees.
Plants Indoors and Outdoors
• Mist plants and dust with DE or 1c flour and ½ c. salt.
• Ground pepper around plants is another treatment.
• Greenbug for outdoors and Greenbug for indoors are non-toxic remedies.
• Beer in a small pan will attract and kill cockroaches
• If you already have an infestation it is best to hire a professional being careful who you use and make sure they are licensed and insured.
• Also make sure there is a guarantee. A lot of companies do not have a guarantee and will not come back if the termites return.
• Make sure that if you have drywood termites, the exterminator will use XT-2000 orange oil treatment.
• If there is not an infestation you can treat all exposed wood with BoraCare or Timbor. Both are borax based.
• This is the one bug that is good at destroying it’s own food supply and then moving on to the next garden.
• Once they invade and take over they will kill squash plants, cucumber vines, cantaloupe vines, pumpkin vines within a few days if you do not control them.
• They smell. I can usually tell if they are on my plants by smelling them. They smell very sweet.
• Usually checking the plants morning and evening is the best.
• Literally hand picking and squashing them is the best way.
• I have had success with spraying neem oil on the clusters of eggs. They cannot get air and die.
• I have heard that wrapping your hands in duct tape sticky side out and using this to entrap them, their eggs, and their nymphs works well. I will be trying this as needed this year.
• I have also heard that using diatomaceous earth around the plants keeps them off your plants. Remember all the plants they attack so you can treat them all.
• Rotating crops usually helps keep down squash and other bugs and is a good idea for lots of reasons including not depleting your soil.
• Also it is said that if you plant squash after July 4th , you won’t get as many squashbugs
Another Remedy is:
• Once you find squash bugs in your garden, immediately arm yourself with two things:
• A bucket of soapy water. ( use Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild organic liquid soap in a bucket)
• A spray bottle filled with soapy water. In the spray bottle, mix about one teaspoon of Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild organic liquid soap with one liter of water. It quickly kills squash bugs and nymphs on contact. If you don’t want to mix your own, you can buy an organic insecticidal soap spray instead.
More Bug Remedies
• Niban bait (made with boric acid) will kill cockroaches for 3-4 months.
• Handpicking is best control of tomato hornworms.
• 2 cups DE per gallon of water will kill most larvae
Preventing Fungus Gnats in Houseplants
• Cut back on watering almost until the plant is wilting.
• This kills larvae
• Put 1 inch aquarium gravel on the potting soil
• To prevent gnats from laying eggs.
• Catch the adults on sticky traps available in garden stores.
Preventing Root Maggots in Root Crops
• DE and/or ground pepper on the ground around plants discourages them.
• Oatmeal is an effective bait.
• Soak cotton balls in peppermint oil in little paper cups to deter them.
• Do not use rodenticides. The fleas and mites that they host then look for other hosts such as pets and humans.
• Of course the old mousetraps works and usually kills the mouse.
• Pouring foul smelling liquids into their burrows make them move and are the best resolution. Use fish oil emulsion. Use a transmission funnel to insert into burrow about 18” below surface after probing to locate the burrow.
• For moles you can bury a large can. They will fall into it and not be able to get out.
Prairie Dogs
• It is said that Non-profit Prairie Dog Pals will trap and relocate.
• Pigeons do not carry diseases greater than household pets (canaries, parakeets, etc.)
• They are mentioned favorably in the Bible .
– Thanked by Noah
– Christ defended them
• They were used to carry messages during WWI & WWII.
• Remove pigeons by trapping and relocating them.
Remedies and what they do
• Ingredient in Equal and NutraSweet
– Originally disapproved by the FDA for human consumption due to brain tumors and neurological disorders in 1970.
– Later approved due to political lobbyists
– Mix 2 packets in a glass of fruit juice to control yellowjackets.
Baking Soda
• Repels ants and roaches.
• Bath a dog that has been sprayed by skunk with a cup of lemon juice, a box of baking soda, and ½ cup shampoo.
• Use a paste made of baking soda and water to treat an insect bite.
• Put a rag filled with beer in the middle of garage at night. In the morning the drunken cockroaches will be ready to be picked up and disposed of. (We would feed them to our chickens.)
• Put pans of beer around and roaches will drown in them.
Borax/Boric Acid
• Borax is a combination of sodium, boron, and oxygen and is mined in the soil.
• Boric acid is derived from borax.
• Mixed with bait it controls many insects (ants, cockroaches, and other insects)
• Mix with anything they like including peanut butter, jelly, sugar, syrup, honey.
• Mix with hamburger to control wasps
• Keep away from children and pets. Does not cause cancer, birth defects, allergies but is toxic if taken internally in significant amounts.
• Removes the waxy coating from insects and causes dehydration.
• Prevents deer, rabbits, and squirrels from eating plants sprayed with it.
Diatomaceous Earth
• Be sure to use food grade.
• It is the safest of all mentioned and most effective.
• It is small shelled animals from long ago ground up and is used to control insects, slugs, and snails.
• It also removes the waxy coating and causes insects to dry up and die.
• Mix ¼ cup with 1 gallon of vinegar and spray pests or pour into ant mounds as a drench.
• Apply Tanglefoot or petroleum jelly to an area such as tree trunks ,then lightly dust with food grade DE.
• Use a mask and safety glasses when using dry DE . It can be abrasive to lungs and eyes.
Garlic Oil
• Simmer a dozen finely chopped cloves of garlic in cooking oil for an hour, cool, strain , and spray it on plants.
• It kills or repels whiteflies, thrips, spider mites, grasshoppers, leafhoppers, and aphids.
• Powdered leaves are used as a flea and tick repellent.
• Dust onto pets and the areas they sleep.
• Rosemary oil controls lice.
• Salt
• Salt kills vegetation in sidewalks, along fences or similar areas.
• Salt will kill snails and slugs.
• Salt kills many insects and can be used in crawl spaces to deter cockroaches and termites.
• Soap effectively kills insects due to the fatty acids it contains that destroy the membranes in bugs.
• Also it produces a coating on the insect that prevents it from breathing.
• An effective soap spray is 40% water,40% alcohol, 20% dish soap.
• 1 cup cooking oil and 1 tablespoon non-detergent soap .
• Use 1 tablespoon of this to each cup of water to control aphids, scales, mealy bugs, and spider mites.
• It kills the eggs as well.
• Do not use above 85 degrees or it may damage the plants.
• Sprinkle Tide around the perimeter of your home to keep ants out.
• A good ant bait is made by soaking paper towels with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of boric acid, and a cup of water .
• Put the towels in a jar with holes punched in the lid.
• Vinegar (especially apple cider vinegar) will attract and catch fruit flies and fungus gnats.
• Mix 3 parts vinegar and 1 part dishwashing soap to kill weeds.
• White vinegar will repel cats from using your yard for a potty.
Green Bug All Natural Pest Control Products
• It is made from cedar.
• There is one for indoor and 1 for outdoor.
• It is safe for people and pets.
• It is available at
Essential Oils
• Do not use on your pets.
• Take care because some people are allergic to specific ones.
• If using for an insect repellent, just add a few drops (5-10) to extra virgin coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, sesame oil, or avocado oil.
• A good tick repellent is lemongrass oil mixed with water and applied to unnoticeable areas of clothing.
• Good insect repellent essential oils are
• Cedarwood
• Eucalyptus
• Lavender
• Lemongrass
• Peppermint
• Rosemary
• Sage
• Spearmint
• A few drops of peppermint essential oil in water makes a good spray for ants in corners of kitchen cabinets, window sills, doorway cracks, under kitchen sinks.
• Use peppermint oil or eucalyptus oil in areas that collect moisture (damp basements, garages, cabinets with plumbing fixtures) to repel centipedes, cockroaches, booklice, earwigs, and silverfish.
• For mice place sprigs of fresh peppermint between pantry items or make a solution of 2 cups of water and 3 teaspoons of peppermint essential oil spraying wherever you find mouse droppings.
• Soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and placing where you do not want mice.
Weed Control
• 2 recipes for weed control
– 80% vinegar, 20% rubbing alcohol , a dash of dish soap
– Or
– ½ gallon Apple Cider Vinegar , ¼ cup salt, and a teaspoon of liquid dish soap.
– The last recipe will kill all plants so be careful what you spray it on.
The Bugman
• The “Bugman” still IDs pests .
• You can find his contact information in the back of his latest book “My path to the Bugman”
This presentation is greatly influenced by Richard “Bugman” Fagerlund , a well known entomologist who retired from UNM and has written 3 books , numerous papers, and newspaper columns on pest management. His latest book My Path to the “Bugman” written in 2017 is most referenced. It can be purchased through the Branch Bistro.