Eco friendly insect repellents for farming

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eco friendly insect repellents for farming

Insect repellents are usually applied to skin, clothing, or other surfaces to discourage insects from touching them. Insect repellents help us to prevent and control the outbreaks of insect-borne diseases such as: Malaria, Chikungunya, Dengue, Lyme disease, Yellow fever etc. Commercially available insect repellents available in the market may contain chemicals that could have adverse effects on our health. Here we are shedding light on some DIY toxin free insect repellents that can be used without polluting the environment.

Note: always test out the repellent on a small portion of the plant/fruit and wait for at least 24 hours to make sure that it will not harm the plant

  1. Vinegar, witch hazel, and essential oil

    1. Mix ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar,
    2. ¼ witch hazel, and 20 drops of an essential oil.
    3. Essential oil could be rosemary, citronella, tea tree, cedar, eucalyptus, or lemongrass.
  2. Oil of Lemon eucalyptus(OLE) Oil of Lemon eucalyptus (OLE) contains compounds that repel mosquitoes and kill fungus. Read our guide on creating your on insect repellent using Oil of Lemon eucalyptus

  3. Neem oil (Margosa oil) Neem oil also known as margosa oil is an oil pressed from the seeds of the Neem tree (Azadirachta indica). Neem oil is a naturally occurring pesticide and contains compounds that are disliked by insects. Read our guide on creating natural insect repellents using Neem oil.

  4. Garlic spray The scent of garlic foliage can repel aphids, slugs, and carrot fly.

    1. Recipe 1

      1. Blend 1 head of cleaned garlic with two cups of water until everything is pulverised. Use gloves to avoid your hands smelling of garlic or apply some baking soda paste to wash off the smell once you are done.
      2. Use a cheesecloth and squeeze out all the juice out of the pulp,
      3. Pour the liquid into a spray bottle and spray
    2. Recipe 2

      1. 1 head of garlic
      2. 1 tbsp dish soap (non-bleach)
      3. 2 cups of water
      4. 2 tbsp mineral or vegetable oil
      5. Create a puree using the peeled garlic cloves along with oil and water
      6. Allow the puree to site over night and strain the mixture
      7. Add soap and mix thoroughly
      8. Pour the mix into a spray bottle
  5. Peppermint

    1. Peppermint oil contains compounds like terpene, alcohol and menthol, all of which are naturally fumigant through smell.
    2. A study has found that peppermint oil could provide protection from Anopheles dirus mosquitoes for about 180 minutes and can kill mosquito larvae.
    3. Undiluted Peppermint oil can be unsafe for skin application, therefore, always dilate with a carrier oil such as coconut oil before applying to the skin. As always, test on a small patch of skin and wait a couple of days to check for potential allergic reaction before applying to a large area.
    4. Cotton balls: place cotton balls each with 5 drops of peppermint oil in various location of the house to repel insect and rodent
    5. Plant some peppermint in the garden to repel pests from plants and vegetables
    6. Mix the following ingredients in a spray bottle and use it to spray on floorboards
      1. 30ml of peppermint oil
      2. 30 ml of water
      3. Castile soap to help emulsify
  6. Citronella candles

    1. Citronella candles give out a scent that acts as insect repellent.
    2. Biodegradable and naturally occurring
    3. Citronella works by masking scents that are attractive to insects. However, citronella candles are moderately effective at repelling mosquitoes and that too in the immediate vicinity of the candles. Use citronella candles as one layer of protection alongside other remedies
  7. Cayenne powder Cayenne powder is an excellent pest repellent, it should be spread only in areas where it will not come in direct contact with people.

  8. Vinegar

    1. Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar can be used as a good base for an insect repellent. They deter flies and when combined with specific essential oils, and will deter mosquitoes and ticks also.
    2. Essential oils that have excellent repellent properties include Geranium, Lemongrass, Citronella, Rosemary and Lavender. Mixtures of essential oils can be applied to skin as a personal insect repellent to repel mosquitoes.
    3. A mixture of lemon, eucalyptus, pine needle, geranium and camphor essential oils can be used safely on adults. These should not be used directly on the skin of children younger than 2 years old.
  9. Tomato leaf and herbs

    1. Tomato leaves in your garden contain insecticidal compounds. These leaves can be used as insect repellents.
    2. Instead of spraying repellents every now and then, we could also plant some of these herbs or spices to repel pests but it can also keep some weeds at bay. Herbs such as Mint, Lavender, Catnip, Marigolds, Sage, Garlic etc. can be helpful.
  10. Diatomaceous earth Diatomaceous earth also works well as an insect repellent. It works better for insects than animals such as mice.

  11. Talcum powder Sprinkling Talcum powder will also prevent ants from getting in the house.

  12. Milk

    1. Concentrated spray mixture can be made from 40% milk and 60% water while most diluted mixture can contain 10% milk and 90% water.
    2. It doesn’t matter if you use skimmed or whole milk as the key ingredient required is the protein rather than the milk fats. They work better as preventative action rather than after the disease has taken hold.
    3. Spray zucchini/courgette with a mixture of water and milk to prevent powdery mildew
    4. Milk sprays can help prevent powdery mildew on tomato, cucumbers and pumpkins and barley
    5. Milk sprays can also be used against mildew on fruits such as grapes and apples


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Note: please check the ingredients list of any products that you may wish to try and check for allergies or consult a medical professional for any existing conditions being impacted by switching to new products.

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