My recipe for mealy bugs and spider mites

ladyblues1965January 3, 2006

I wanted to share my experience .My plants were overcome by these pests. I have birds and I didnt want to use any poisons .As with the rest of my yard because of my animals and fish .Sooooo..... I took quite a few ciggarette butts and soaked them in hot water for a few hours.strained off the water into a quart spray bottle then added 1/2 cup of rubbing alchahol ,1/4cup listerine mouthwash.a squirt of dish soap a vola!! I sprayed down the plants every other day until they were all gone! whooo hoo. It worked .It doesnt smell too great but once it is dry you cant smell it anymore.


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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Insecticidal soap works, too. It's far ess fuss and is without the risks of nicotine.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 5:04PM
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Well I cannot afford to purchase things like that so I do what I can with what I have available. cigg butts are free and the other ingredients are cheap. So insecticidal saop was not an option for me.And there really is not much fuss to making this. Truley what are the risks of nicotine? If you aren't eating it and using gloves?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 5:30PM
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I might recommend a horticultural year-round pesticidal oil at the recommended rates-either canola or cottonseed based (See Garden's Alive catalogue).I use a paraffinic oil(Ultra-Fine) but there may be better ones available now...A good protocol to establish is to always spray just a few infested plants initially, to note any adverse phytotoxic responses...Also one might consider lower end concentration rates dependent on plant stage of development

    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 6:00PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Ladyblues, we have a problem. This is an organic forum where we discuss organic solutions to growing and protecting plants. Your solution, while it may have worked for you, is not an organic solution to those pests. Here's the gist of the problem(s):

I didnt want to use any poisons

All you used were poisons. Of course everything is poisonous if you use enough of it right? Well nicotine in the amount you used might not present an immediate problem but the fact that nicotine in any amount is disapproved for use in an organic program is a problem for this list. Rubbing alcohol is a poison in almost any amount and it is disapproved in an organic program except to sterilize equipment. The organic problem with any alcohol in organics is that alcohol kills the beneficial microbes living in the soil AND ON THE SURFACE OF THE PLANT. Organic gardening is ALL about promoting and feeding these beneficial microbes. Mouthwash, being 25% alcohol, is just as bad a pure alcohol.

Here are two affordable organic solutions to your specific insect pest problems. You can spray with diluted liquid seaweed. Hmmm, this is not really an affordable solution. Here's a much more affordable solution. Dilute milk at a rate of 3 ounces per gallon and spray that on your plants every 2 weeks. I dilute it even more. What I do is when I finish a container of milk, or when my girls finish their cereal in the morning, I rinse the container or bowl with water and pour it into a spray bottle. This is essentially free organic "insecticide."

The way these materials work is that they promote and feed the beneficial microbes living outside the plant on the leaf and stem surfaces. Research has shown that there are between 10 and 20 layers of microbes living there - right in the full sun! When these microbes are well fed with protein and carbohydrates (not to mention minerals and vitamins), they will help the plant to protect itself. In essence, the sucking insects seem to avoid these healthier plants. If you use the same materials or others such as ordinary corn meal, flour, soy bean meal, used coffee grounds (another free source), or other ground up nuts, beans, and seeds, on the surface of the soil at a rate of one heaping handful scattered under each plant every month, then your plants will be on their way to resisting all of the normal pests we have. Scatter these materials well so you don't get piles of the stuff. If you get piles they will stink when wet. Good organic materials and practices are not stinky - and they don't have to be expensive or a hassle to use.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 9:05PM
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    Bookmark   January 4, 2006 at 6:44AM
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paulyn(z 8 NW OR)

Dchall, do you think powdered milk will work as well? Have you tried it? Thanks, Lyn

    Bookmark   January 13, 2006 at 11:04PM
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Raymondo(Armidale, NSW)

Another very cheap spray is just flour and water. Just add enough flour so that the mixture is thick but still sprayable. Spray it at sunset and wash off the next day before the sun getts too hot. Suffocates mealy bugs, aphids and mites too I think. You could do a milk spray after the morning wash!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2006 at 6:38AM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

another organic and very cheap and easy recipe is on my web page using cooking oil and little else ther is another ingredient or 2 can't think of them. and for spider mites just increasing the humidity around the plant can control them. with mealy bugs they're usually there due to ants so along with scale etc.,. there is usually a 2 pronged treatment needed.


Here is a link that might be useful: lens garden page

    Bookmark   January 14, 2006 at 2:21PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

The original writer asked that this thread be stopped. Does someone want to start a new message and we can respect the writer's wishes?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2006 at 2:51AM
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It sounds to me like tha original writer was getting hate mail or something for using nicotine! Or felt like she was being blasted. Sometimes the written word comes across harsher than it is meant to sound.

Anyway, ladyblues didn't want to use any poisons, so she should be praised and encouraged. She didn't realize she was, so she can learn a lot from this forum if all the organic gurus help.

That's all for now. See you folk next summer when I get my head out from under the books and papers!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2006 at 9:39AM
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Actually - everything used is technically a poison, definition of poison is just the amount used. Milk and orange rinds are also poison if they are used to kill things. So nothing wrong at all with using nicotine from cigarette butts to kill stuff.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 3:36PM
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Hi everybody
My name is Amit and I'm an agronomist (
I was recently employed in an organic vegetables farm-exporting organic produce across the world (usa,rus,eur). To my best knowledge, certified organic pesticides ARE POISONS-commonly accruing in nature, usually in other plants.
The difference between org. and conv. pesticides is that, one, is produced/extracted from plants, insects or micro-organisms. To contrary, the other is produced in a chemical synthesis (sometimes mimicking naturally accruing substances).
Some of those were indeed banned from organic use, due to their level of toxicity.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 11:39AM
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