Recipes for Natural Pest Control
Organic Farming in South Africa

© Marinda Louw
A stinging nettle spray made with a bag of nettles, 5l of boiling water and 5tbs of liquid paraffin can keep insects away.

In organic farming, the use of pesticides is not allowed, so natural pest control is done. There are commercial products such as neem oil and insecticidal soap available to use, but some homemade recipes can also help to expel insects.

Garlic Spray

The garlic spray kills most insects. Cut three large garlic cloves and mix with 1 litre of boiling water and two tablespoons of liquid paraffin - it helps to bond the mixture to the leaves. Soak for two days; mix with 10 litres of water and spray onto plants.

Chilli and Garlic Spray

Cut three large garlic cloves and crush five chillies. Mix this with 1 litre of boiling water and two tablespoons of liquid paraffin. Soak for two days; mix with 10 litres of water and spray onto plants. The chilli and garlic spray kills most insects.

Stinging Nettle Spray

Pick some stinging nettles, about a full shopping bag but not too tightly stuffed. Wear gloves as it will sting your bare hands. Add 5 litres of boiling water and 5 tablespoons of liquid paraffin. Leave for at least one week (can be held up to one month). Add 20 litres of water. The mixture can be used on the plants every second week and it is very beneficial to keep all insects away. Note: it must be done every two weeks and is only preventive.

Khaki Bush

Pick a shopping bag full of khaki bush (Tagetes minuta) – tightly stuffed. Pour over 5 litres of boiling water and leave for at least one week (can be kept for up to one month). It is not necessary to add liquid paraffin, as there are already a lot of natural oils in the khaki bush. Add a tablespoon (15ml) of dishwashing liquid and 20 litres of water. Spray every second week to keep insects away.

Wood Ash

Wood ash was used by our ancestors to control insects. It is good for soil and contains phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Sprinkle fine, old, dry wood ash around plants. Make sure that the ash does not touch the plants. Never use charcoal ash. Wood ash is also used very successfully to keep snails away.

"Beetle and Worm Soup"

Collect the beetles or cutworms that cause problems such as the big yellow and black beetles which eat roses or cutworms that can cause a lot of damage. Put the beetles or worms in a container and cover with water to drown them. Now pour hot water over the beetles or worms and make a strong “beetle or worm soup”. Leave for a few days and use as a spray on the mulch and around plants. The method is especially effective in combating cutworms.

Wormwood

Wormwood (Artemesia absinthium) expels aphids, flea beetles, flies, small cabbage white butterflies and snails. Make a tea with a handful of herbs and mix with a litre of boiling water.

Translated by Ananda Schoeman