Essential Oils to the Rescue against Bugs and Pests
This summer if you are fortunate to still have a garden, you may like to know a few tricks to keep pests from destroying what you have. If you are looking for a mostly bug-free environment try some of these clever ideas. These are only guidelines, so feel free to use your intuition on the amounts that seem right to you.
A basic recipe for keeping aphids off your prize plants is a combination of oil, soap and essential oils. In 1/2 gallon of water, put a squirt of dish-washing soap 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and 10 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil and stir gently. The soap should break up the oil so it can be mixed evenly. Then spray the solution on the plants, making sure to spray underneath the leaves as well as on top. The oil will smother and drown the aphids and the Eucalyptus smell will deter other aphids from coming back. Lemon essential oil can be used as well as Tea Tree.
Fungus is another challenge to plants. Dark brown or black spots are unsightly and can sicken the plant. Mix baking soda (about 2T in a quart of water). Mix 6 drops each of Lemon and Ginger essential oils in ½ teaspoon of dish-washing liquid and add this to the baking soda solution, then spray directly on the fungus.
For mold, use ½ cup of white vinegar in a quart of water, with tea tree, lavender or any of the citrus essential oils added, and spray onto the affected area.
Spider mites and caterpillars have a similar spray to stop them. In water, mix several drops of Tabasco, a small squirt of dish-washing liquid and add a few drops of Spearmint essential oil. Actually, any of the mint oils will be effective in this solution..
If you know the route that ants take, mix a solution of window cleaner with Peppermint, Cinnamon or citrus essential oil and spray it on their path. They won’t return on that journey! Outside, if you find the hole to the tunnel of the ant colony, sprinkle Turmeric around the hole and they won’t be able to exit over the spice. A few drops of any of the essential oils dripped directly into the hole of the tunnel will assure that tunnel is dead.
Flies hate the smell of Eucalyptus, Cloves, Basil and Lavender or Lemongrass. Diffusing essential oil with any of these oils discourage flies from hanging around. You can also spritz your window sills and counters with a water/essential oil solution, which will freshen the room, and dissuade pests.
Your cat or dog can benefit from a little aromatherapy. Combining a mixture of three or four of these oils: Peppermint, Tea tree, Geranium, Citronella, Lemongrass or Eucalyptus in water and spritzing them will keep fleas and ticks at bay.
Another option is to make your own bug deterrent herbal spray by boiling fresh herbs (like basil, rosemary, oregano, parsley and/or mint) in water and letting it cool. The solution won’t be as strong, but will still have some efficacy. Experiment and see what works best for you. Then enjoy the rest of your summer and fall days bug free!