As gardeners, we can waste so many hours on pests. The growing season is short enough without having to spend time dealing with uninvited guests.
If you’re trying to get rid of unwanted pests that doesn’t involve harmful chemicals (linked to so many neurological, hormone, and overall health imbalances) here is a safe alternative.
The theory behind using essential oils in pest control is simple. Plants aren’t chosen at random by pests. The plants give off a specific chemical signal (pheromones) so the idea of using essential oils is that they conceal the natural scents that attract bugs. The essential oils don’t have a super long-lasting or damaging impact on your plants, so you don’t need to worry about the bees never coming back, but it does mean you’ll need to reapply every few days when pests are at their worst. However, commercially available pesticides recommend application every 7 days, so I can deal with having to reapply the non-toxic alternative every 3-4 days.
The oils that I’ve found that help the most are lemongrass, rosemary and peppermint.
10 drops Lemongrass
10 drops Rosemary
10 drops Peppermint
1 teaspoon of no-tox dishwashing detergent (to disperse the oil)
Top with distilled water
Check the weather forecast, and spray at the base of your plants and on the leaves when you have a few clear days ahead. Be sure to wash thoroughly before ingesting any plant material.
For just some of the 100s of research articles available on the subject, see PubMed 24766523, 26893197, 32570794, 17195668, 23081867, 22674887
PubMed 26893197 Twelve oils were screened as repellents for fruit-infesting flies. Most essential oils deterred flies. Peppermint oil was particularly effective, preventing almost all flies and remaining 100% repellent for 6 days post-application.
PubMed 32570794 “Our data show that lemongrass essential oils and their components have insecticidal and repellent activity against S. granarius.”
PubMed 17195668 “Laboratory bioassay results indicated that pure rosemary oil… caused complete mortality of spider mites at concentrations that are not phytotoxic to the host plant.”