How to Make a Safe Bug Killer for Your Plants

When I wrote the title for this post, I seriously rethought the use of the word “killer.” Would it look bad in Google? Would people think I’m too enthusiastic about bug removal? Is it politically incorrect?

Then I realized I didn’t care. It’s the best way to explain what this post is about: how I made a safe bug-killing spray for my indoors herb garden. I’ve been fighting these little nasties for a couple of months now, and I lost two plants to them. Two mint plants. And we love mojitos.

It’s time to get serious about removing these little tiny bugs (aphids and something else) for good.

I did a lot of research online and it reiterated that there were a few things common in most homemade pesticides: something hot and spicy, and mild dish soap. I made one, with chopped garlic, but all it did was kill my spray bottle, a pretty purple thing I really liked and looked cute sitting next to the plants. And was only $1.00. Meanwhile, the bugs were still there, despite me placing the three affected plants out back on a cart in the sun; they got better, but still not perfect, and now that it’s getting cold here, I couldn’t leave them out there at night, and I don’t remember to bring them in. After more research, a new $4.00 squirt bottle (FOUR DOLLARS?? I am in the wrong business) I created something that makes your house smell good during creation, doesn’t take long, won’t clog the squirt bottle and most importantly, works without hurting your plant or changing the taste.

Homemade Safe Pesticide aka Bug Killer

4 cups of water
2 tsp hot chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp mild liquid dish soap

Pour water into a small pot and bring to boil on the stove. When water boils, add the chili and garlic powders. Boil down until water color has changed significantly (from chili) and spices are infused. Let cool.

homemade bug killer

After water is cool, pour through a fine mesh strainer and then pour into your squirt bottle. Then gently drop in the dish soap. (If you put it in too strongly, it will bubble up and be less effective and hard to spray.)

homemade bug killer

Spritz onto the affected plants, from bottom to top.

herb garden

I do not refrigerate my spray. Someone asked me if it wouldn’t change the flavor of the herbs, but I’ve not had that problem. While the spray does have an odor, it’s not overpowering and I think it’s diluted enough to where it won’t be noticeable. I haven’t had any issues, but I also do rinse most of the herbs — not always, but most of the time. And the pests have gone away!

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