Garden Insect Spray Frequently Asked Questions
NOTE: If you are at all wondering how this will affect your plants, please test the spray on a small area of the plant and wait a few days to see if there is any effect on it (it should be applied during the colder part of the day and repeated weekly if needed).
1. Lots of questions about our US measurements and abbreviations in the recipe:
- “c.” = cups (8 oz.)
- “tsp.” = teaspoon
- approximate metric equivalents for mint: 1 cup measure = 23.66 cl. (or 250ml maybe) but the mint doesn’t have to be exact – 3 large handfuls would work, too.
2. Can I use it on other plants or just basil?
- Try it on anything- I’ve used it successfully on herbs, flowers (marigolds, roses, trumpet vine), peppers, and bean plants.
3. Are you using spearmint, or peppermint?
- Either work, I’ve used both.
4. Can I use a liquid mint extract?
- I think it should work, though I haven’t tried it. The measurement should be: 1 drop of peppermint or spearmint oil = 1 Tablespoon, and there are 16 TB. in 1 cup, so 16 drops oil for each cup, or 48 drops total)
- other mint equivalents: 1 cup fresh = 1/4 cup dried leaves; 2 fresh store-bought bunches (60g) = approximately 1 1/2 cups chopped
5. Could I leave out the dish soap?
- This is not an insecticidal soap recipe – meaning it’s not meant to kill bugs, just get them to leave (which is why there is so much garlic and pepper in the recipe, versus soap). The tiny amount of soap is to help it stick to plants – it’s not enough to kill insects like insecticidal soaps. And I haven’t seen dead bugs at all. That said, I can’t say it will work just the same without the squirts of biodegradable soap.
6. What type of biodegradable soap do you use?
- I’ve used Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers, and Dr. Bronner’s castille soap.
- If you want to make sure your plants are not harmed (mine, obviously, haven’t been – it’s a very small amount), use only the oil-based castille soap, since the others still have degreasers in them.
7. Does it kill ladybugs? Bees?
- Our bees (from 3 hives on our acre) have never been harmed and we have lots of ladybugs that I can always see. I’ve never seen any dead bugs.
8. Does it work with slugs? ants?
- I don’t think so – I’d use beer or diatomacous earth for slugs. Ants I don’t know…
- It doesn’t seem to work on them…
10. bud worms, root weevil, cucumber beetle, squash bugs, whiteflies, etc.?
- I did use it on beans in the garden that were being attacked by cucumber beetles when they were small and it worked great against them. I don’t have specifics for the others, though I think it’s working on the whiteflies I see on our basil and the few squash bugs we’ve had. I don’t have experience with the other pests.
11. Does this make the plants/veggies taste like garlic? (Even after you’ve rinsed them)
- I typically use it just a few times the whole season and we’ve never noticed a taste, though I didn’t harvest for a few days after applying. I used it on beans, basil, and flowers. I would wait and then test.
12. Can I use chilli powder instead of cayenne powder?
- The chili powder typically sold in markets is a mix of a bunch of different seasonings for making chili, so it would be diluted and may not work as well. If you make sure it’s a pure, single chili powder that is a spicy chili (not mild anahiem or ancho, for example), it should work.
13. Is it ok to spray it on my vegetable plants?
- Yep, it’s safe for most things I’ve found. I’ve used it successfully on beans as well that I talked about in our video about this spray, too, which you can watch for even more details. Since then I’ve used it on pepper plants (flea beetles), squash (squash bugs) and a few others with good results.
14. How to/how long to store?
- It seems to lose its potency after 2-4 weeks. I try to use it up in that time frame.
- I store it in our garden shed, though it make keep better when refrigerated, though I haven’t tested that yet.
Let me know if you have any more questions or results I can add to this page – I’d love to include them!