Homemade Chewing Tobacco Teas are Really Safe and Good!

captaincompostal(z7 AL Bham)July 9, 2003

I just wanted to let everybody know the recent info that I got concerning how safe tobacco teas REALLY are.

Even though the press has beat up tobacco teas these past years, the teas actually have a lower toxicity rate than rotenone, and rotenone is still considered a good, legal, organic pest control!

Also the nicotine in natural chewing tobacco is NOT the same stuff as nicotine sulfate. Nicotine sulfate is illegal and extremely toxic and dangerous. One drop of this stuff on your skin will make you very sick. Nicotine sulfate is manufactured by combining nicotine from nature tobacco waste with sulfur. Homemade tobacco teas don't produce this substance.

I use this stuff ONLY on my most stubborn pests this year, the Japanese beetles, as a powerful contact, knock down, spray. Then the next day, I refueled my microbial populations on my affected plants and the soil, by using lots of aerated compost teas. I normally use a garlic, onion, hot pepper powder, canola oil, liquid soap tea on most of the pests in my garden.

Also I only brew about a 3 finger pinch of natural chewing tobacco per gallon of water for only 30-60 minutes. No more. Then I sprayed it on my plants. It's totally biodegradable. It's safe on bees and lady beetles. It breaks down fast.

Here is another recent discussion on the subject:

Chewing Tobacco Teas Are Organic

Happy Gardening!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
JAYK(8b)

Tobacco tea is not safe for bees or lady beetles. It may be "organic" but if you choose to use it is important to remember that it has high mammalian toxicity compared to many other insecticides. It also is very broad spectrum in its action, and will kill beneficials as well as the target insect.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2003 at 12:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lazy_gardens

"Also the nicotine in natural chewing tobacco is NOT the same stuff as nicotine sulfate."

Hogwash! The nicotine IN ANY TOBACCO is toxic. It could be 100% natural, organically grown, and processed by Black Forest Gnomes and it is still toxic.

A lethal dose of nicotine in humans is 60 milligrams/kg ... that's natural nicotine (a clear, oily liquid substance), not nicotine sulphate (colorless crystals)

http://www.hclrss.demon.co.uk/nicotine_sulfate.html
http://www.hclrss.demon.co.uk/nicotine.html

    Bookmark   July 13, 2003 at 12:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
captaincompostal(z7 AL Bham)

I think you guys missed the whole point. You only brew it for up to 30 minutes. Not for hours or days! There is no way that a brew that dilute can harm bees or ladybugs if you use it as a last resort contact spray on Japanese beetles.

Also since I'm a big aerated compost tea fan, there is no way I'm reducing my beneficial microbial populations on my plants or soil.

After the toughest pests are controlled, you go back to safer methods like garlic/pepper teas and just plain ole companion planting for conservative natural pest control.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2003 at 9:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
captaincompostal(z7 AL Bham)

There are several different grades anbd types of nicotine alkaloids, besides the infamous, deadly nicotine sulfate. I agree that nicotine sulfate shouldn't be used in anybody's garden, organic or not! However, all nicotine products are not equal. The lower levels of nicotine in a diluted homemade brew is less toxic than other officially respected organic pesticides like rotenone and sabadilla.

Homemade Tobacco Teas NOT as deadly as Nicotine Sulfate

Nicotine and its Derivatives from Tobacco Waste

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2003 at 1:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lazy_gardens

CaptainCompost ...
The article at the link you provided proves my point:

"Tobacco teas are sometimes prepared by home gardeners to control garden pests, and while not as toxic as nicotine sulfate sprays, any nicotine solution toxic enough to kill insects can also be harmful to humans ."

    Bookmark   July 14, 2003 at 9:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
captaincompostal(z7 AL Bham)

I still disagree. None of these authors are really being truthful about the type of nicotine derivatives, or true toxicity levels on a very, very, very dilute, 30 minute natural chewing tobacco tea. They are assuming that you are making the tobacco tea the old way, taking of hours or days of brewing, or using high chemically treated cigarette butts or cigars. They are also assuming that the gardener doesn't have any knowledge on how to use it effectively. They are assuming that the user doesn't know that tobacco should never be used on nightshade family crops.

Most books and websites on organic gardening, always take the conservative side, because they don't want to be liable for mistakes that novice gardeners or non-organic gardeners will make. Even with composting, they suggest ideas that are easily broken by more experienced composters who know how to break down and heat up piles to decompose many "illegal" or "controversal" organic materials like tough weeds, kudzu, fish scraps, etc.

If you want the real truth, all natural pesticides kill or harm something in the microbial world. Even too much canola oil or mild liquid soaps, can harm bees and lady beetles and harm leaves on plants, if used improperly or in abundance too regularly.

The key is using wisdom and moderation in your organic farming system. Once you get pests under control, stick with consistent basic composting, organic mulching, cover cropping, compost tea brewing, companion planting, etc. in order to keep the extreme inbalances in pests and beneficials populations from happening again.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2003 at 10:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lazy_gardens

Ok ... what is the LD50 of your "very, very, very dilute, 30 minute natural chewing tobacco tea"? What is the concentration of nicotine and related compounds does it have in it? And how do you analyse that concentration?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2003 at 8:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
captaincompostal(z7 AL Bham)

From what I have read and researched, a dilute 30 minute brewed homemade chewing tobacco tea is not as toxic as the commercial nicotine sulfate versions, which mostly all have been disconnected or banned from organic books and websites.

I believe the LD50 range for a diluted tobacco tea would come around (Moderately toxic) = LD50 greater than 30 and less than 100 mg/kg and/or LC50 greater than 500 and less than 1,000 ppm. I got this info from this site: Tobbaco and LD50 ratings

As I said earlier, my use of this stuff is not on a regular basis, nor is it mandatory, nor is it used everywhere in my garden. It's just a quick fix to save my high nitrogen, heavy feeding crops, from the dreaded Japanese beetle populations. Highly organic microbial soils and plants are much more stronger and powerful in recovering from dead beneficial microbial and macrobial populations, due to any type of gardening abuse, as the media or the general public want to admit anyway. That is one the main benefits I love from organic farming!

I just picked some the prettiest and sweetest corn I have ever grown today. Even though the JB's ate most of the silks on many of my corn plants, I still had great fully filled out ears on almost every stalk! I feed my plants aerated teas loaded with homemade fish meal twice a week. Plus I sprayed about 2 weeks in June with my tobacco teas all over the plants, not the soil, to run off the JB's.

My canna lilies and elephant ears recovered after being almost eaten alive with dozens of JB's. After applying lots of my aerated teas behind about another 2 week application of tobaco teas, I see dozens of bees on every flower, and no JB's, and extra new green leaves and growth on my plants.

I believe the real proof that your gardening style is really working, is not by strictly living by the technical information found in organic/natural textbooks or library books, but by being creative and seeing with your own eyes, the natural wildlife and healthy plants and beautiful healthy harvest thriving in your natural gardening environment.

Keep in mind, my regular routine in my gardening system is using lots of composting, organic mulching, cover crops, aerated teas, and companion planting to attract lots of beneficial microbes, macrobes, and other larger animals. This is the real natural pest control system for my garden beds.

By the way, an organic friend and soil microbiologist of mine on this site, e-mailed me the other day, and told me that my Japanese beetle problem, may be directly related to the crazy weather we are having here. Lots of heavy raining and flooding. Also he said that the high OM levels on my no-till beds are also optimal for increase JB larvae. So based on that info, I plan on increasing my natural soil management plans this fall to eliminate these grubs faster before next spring gets here. At the same time increase beneficial aerobic microbes in the soil, in order to repel them or kill these JB larvae faster.

Happy Gardening everybody!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2003 at 10:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lazy_gardens

"From what I have read and researched, a dilute 30 minute brewed homemade chewing tobacco tea is not as toxic as the commercial nicotine sulfate versions, which mostly all have been disconnected or banned from organic books and websites."

True, nicotine sulfate is the most toxic of the whole nasty family, but what part of "any nicotine solution toxic enough to kill insects can also be harmful to humans" do you have a hard time understanding? Not AS toxic AS does not mean it is not toxic. It's less toxic, but you have no idea how much less toxic unitl you get a lab analysis.

"I believe the LD50 range for a diluted tobacco tea would" I didn't ask for your beliefs, I asked for the concentrations of the various toxic tobacco constituents in your teas. Home brewed pesticides (and cleaners) are far more dangerous than the commercial kind because they aren't analysed or labelled. (so my HAZMAT instructors have said, and they cleaned up a lot of stuff)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2003 at 9:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
captaincompostal(z7 AL Bham)

What do you recommend as a quick, knock-down remedy against Japanese beetles, to use in accordance with JB traps?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2003 at 2:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lazy_gardens

Try a light trap. Take a large bucket or washtub of soapy water and place it in the open near the infested crop. Hang a strong light (100-200 watts, blue tinted or "blacklight" works best) over the bucket, about as far up as the container is wide. Leave the light on at night, and keep all other lighting to a minimum.

Are you also using milky spore? (Bacillus popillae) It's slow but cuts down on the populations

Here is a link that might be useful: Non-chemical insect control

    Bookmark   July 17, 2003 at 4:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
captaincompostal(z7 AL Bham)

Is the light traps feasible for those of us who have organic farm beds over 1 acre in size?

I've read from recent soil experts that the milky spores and beneficial nematodes do not always work in practically in all cases. If you have excessive OM in your soil from no-till gardening, and excessive moisture in your soil during the fall/winter season, no known biological controls will totally erase the JB larvae from growing and thriving. Only a controlled period of drought will guarantee the total destruction of the larvae in the soil.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2003 at 5:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lazy_gardens

You seem determined that your tobacco tea is the only way to go.

I'd use more traps. And if you have excessive OM in your soil, you put it there.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2003 at 9:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
captaincompostal(z7 AL Bham)

Thanks lazygardens!

You gave me some great ideas and suggestions.
Last year I didn't see that many JB's around my corn, canna lilies, and eggplants. I used several homemade JB traps all over my garden. I think the reason I had better success last year, was that we had a drought here in Alabama, and my little milk jugs and little buckets of rotten fruit and soapy water, never got soaked and diluted with extra rainwater.

This year most of my traps were ruined every 2-3 days by the excessive raining and flooding here. Even after trying to refresh the tubs with more rotten fruit and dry molasses powder, I still couldn't compete with crazy weather. I think this had more of an effect on the larvae and adult bugs that anything else. I also saw more June beetles this year.

I had more success with the garlic, pepper, canola oil, liquid soap sprays last year too. This year this spray controlled all my pests all over my garden, except the JB's.

I think I will try fixing a better homemade JB trap, and try making more of them all around my raised beds.

Thanks again my friend.
Happy Gardening!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2003 at 10:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
spambdamn_rich(Sunset 16.5)

Doesn't any form of tobacco infect susceptible tomatoes and peppers with tobacco mosaic virus?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2003 at 12:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
captaincompostal(z7 AL Bham)

Maybe. But I'm not using tobacco teas on nightshade plants. I use only garlic/pepper/canola oil/liquid soap teas on them.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2003 at 3:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dawnsearlylight(z7NY)

captain compost,id like to ask a question if i may.

my dad spoke to a garden nursery owner about deer control .he gave him a recipe he swears by.

garlic
tobacco
cayenne pepper

mix with water in blender, put in hose sprayer with one gallon water and spray plants.

no,wont be putting tobacco in blender.

no specifics on how to get tobacco-

?do you think chewing tobacco could be the answer.a carton cost 30 bucks or more.ill pass on that cost.

thanks for any advice.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2003 at 2:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
perice(b6 TN)

When I was a child,working in the tobacco patch we used Arsnic powder to kill tobacco worms.That was all tobacco growers method to rid the worms.I don't think I would use TOBACCO on vegetables.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2003 at 11:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
captaincompostal(z7 AL Bham)

Arsenic is no big deal to totally organic farmers.
There are traces of arsenic inside all apple and peach seeds, and they all get broken down by beneficial soil/composting microbes inside my hot compost piles over time anyway.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2003 at 9:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
MikeR_(z5a CO)

William,

I'm having a hard time seeing how something that kills japanese beetle won't harm the much smaller ladybird beetle or the even softer-bodied bee. What I remember about nicotine is that it is a broad-spectrum knock-down pesticide.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2003 at 6:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
MikeR_(z5a CO)

I just read through the other posts from the link you provided on "Are chewing tobacco teas organic?". You quote the following about the Rodale article that you read:

"They state that this spray should be used with much wisdom, and only will needed, because no known bug is immune to nicotine."

    Bookmark   August 20, 2003 at 6:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
captaincompostal(z7 AL Bham)

Well, what about rotenone? Isn't it organic too?
It's acceptable by Rodale and other certified organic experts. It kills Japanese beetles too. And as I said, experts claim that diluted nicotine sprays are less toxic than rotenone. We are not talking about nicotine sulfate, when it comes to diluted 30 minute chewing tobacco teas.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2003 at 9:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
captaincompostal(z7 AL Bham)

I just read recently on the Garden Alive! website, and in their organic/natural garden magazine, that they are selling a spray that is a combination of canola oil, pyretheum, and rotenone for killing bad grub larvae, including Japanese beetle adults and larvae.

Check it out if you like...

    Bookmark   August 21, 2003 at 9:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
MikeR_(z5a CO)

I'm not questioning the safety of tobacco tea vs. other naturally derived pest control products. I don't know how it compares. Personally I use only hand-picking, water blasting or biological controls (including some that are sprayed such as Beauveria) to control pests, but then again we don't have japanese beetles here. I was only questioning your statements that the chewing tobacco didn't harm the beneficials.

I do however, have a rather low opinion of rotenone after seeing it used to kill "trash" fish by the Division of Wildlife. It is not a pretty site, believe me.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2003 at 10:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
captaincompostal(z7 AL Bham)

I agree totally MikeR. I don't like using any natural pesticides either, unless it's my last resort to save my crops.

My favorite mode of pest management is cover cropping, extensive organic mulching, and companion planting all over my no-till beds.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2003 at 12:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Thanks for the tip. I've been looking for a non-systemic method of killing JBs. We are talking about regular chewing tobacco, right? If it eases anyone's mind, I've known a couple of people who accidentally drank from someone's spit cup and they lived through it :)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2003 at 4:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
byron(4a/5b NH)

dawnsearlylight

A package of Redman Chewing tobacco is $2.50
The package I purchased and still using was $1.59 in 94.

Capt Compost,

I was trying to find the LD 50 rating of tobacco dust.
The only thing I can find is that it is >5000, asprin has an LD 50 rating of 1200

5% Rotenone is the deadliest garden pesticide available to home gardeners with an LD 50 rating of 162. Kills bees, amphibs and fish.

Meredith_E

A few years ago some gal tried to blame Jerry Baker because her 7 YO brother drank some of the bug spray. It wasn't Jerry Baker that left the mix where the kid could reach it, It was her parents. Lets work safe in the garden.

MikeR

Take a moment to look at the difference between benificals and pests. Benificials eat other live insects, aka meat eaters. The pest are vegetarians. They eat the leaves, fruits and roots. If a benifical lands on a leaf that has been recently sprayed it wouldn't make a difference.

Again Tobacco tea is a contact poison You must spray it on the bug to be effective. A dry residue doesn't kill a thing.

Byron

    Bookmark   September 2, 2003 at 11:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
woodviolet

I'd like to weigh in on the milky spores, they work great for us, we applied them last year and this year we've had very few grubs or mature JBs. Some may want to try it before deciding what evidence to believe.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2003 at 3:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
MikeR_(z5a CO)

"Take a moment to look at the difference between benificals and pests. Benificials eat other live insects, aka meat eaters. The pest are vegetarians. They eat the leaves, fruits and roots. If a benifical lands on a leaf that has been recently sprayed it wouldn't make a difference.
Again Tobacco tea is a contact poison You must spray it on the bug to be effective. A dry residue doesn't kill a thing."

If you can spray J.beetle with tobacco without contacting anything else then your comment is valid. If this is the case, then I would say hand-pick them instead.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2003 at 11:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
captaincompostal(z7 AL Bham)

Thanks, Mike! That does make a lot of sense about the behavior and diet of vegetarian and carnivorous bugs.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2003 at 12:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
MikeR_(z5a CO)

Actually I was quoting Byron. And I shouldn't have said that his comment wasn't valid. He makes a good point about nicotine being a contact and not affecting beneficials after it dries. I just didn't think it applied in this case, but as I say we don't have j. beetles here. If you can spray them individually without contacting nearby beneficials then I would think you could just hand-pick them. They're pretty big after all.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2003 at 6:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cornelius(se MI)

i grew about fourteen white burley plants this year, happily with success, and without pesticides or any other poisons. however, the nicotine produced by these 'naturally' grown plants is considerable, and is not always the best insect control possible. ironically, the high-alkaloid flowering tops and new leaves attract huge colonies of aphids, which don't look like they suffer for the experience. also, the ladybugs on the plants stayed quite healthy (as opposed to the confused claim in the posting above) and were my primary aphid predator--some ants helped, as well. As they crawled all over the plants for hours each day, there was clearly some contact. And there were the occasional leaf-cutting caterpillar (or whatever) that chewed up foliage, in some cases obviously getting pretty far, so instant nicotine death wasn't likely there. on certain other insects, i'm sure the nicotine is a good control, but i would not want cats or birds (or anything else) to suffer its toxicity. if a person were using commercially-grown tobacco, they'd be enlightened by checking out the reprinted article on the uses of radioactive materials in fertilization, as reprinted in the book The Emperor Wears No Clothes, by Jack Herer. It's primarily a cannabis book, but has other info of value like this. Best natural-type control? Pyrethrum works fine for me.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2004 at 8:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
moonwolf23(8)

ok i have to ask. why is tobbacco bad and milkyspore good? milkyspore itself is deadly to humans. i read the information posted on the back. I've tossed mine after consulting with a few people who pointed out it will die in my zone 5 zone because of really really cold winters. Plus the darn thing is expensive as heck. And doesn't do much(gardens alive info on their virussed grass seed that kill jb's and the other grass eating grub).

captain compost your on the east coast. you may want to import some lightning bug larvae. they apparently go to town on jb's and other grubs. Apparently if your west of the mississippi you don't see them though.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2004 at 2:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
captaincompostal(z7 AL Bham)

Thanks for the info!
Happy Gardening!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2004 at 10:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardengal48

Moonwolf, lots of organic controls CAN be toxic to humans - even table salt and pure water in sufficient quantities. However, IF USED ACCORDING TO PACKAGE DIRECTIONS, milky spore is of very low toxicity to humans and other mammals and has a very restricted target range - Japanese beetle larvae only. OTOH, nicotine based pesticides are broad spectrum pesticides making no distinction between pests and beneficials and pure nicotine in even very small quantities is extremely toxic to any mammals.

As a matter of course, IPM protocols suggest cultural controls first and formost, biological controls (milky spore, beneficial nematodes, Bt, etc) second and any chemical control - organic or not - (ie., nicotine) as a last resort.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2004 at 11:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
reesemoose

hello,
i found this thread while researching tobacco sprays. i recently purchased some organic rolling tobacco to make a spray that will rid my belladonna plant of its whitefly infestation. captain compost, you mentioned that you don't use tobacco on any nightshades because of the tobacco mosaic virus. i read that this is a virus that tobacco PLANTS get. are other nightshades at risk of getting it FROM the tobacco used in the spray? also, i noticed everyone is talking about CHEWING tobacco. will rolling tobacco work also for sprays?

In the meantime, i'm going to try your spray recipe for nightshades, captain compost.

thanks for your help!!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 5:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
captaincompostal(z7 AL Bham)

I'm glad I could help!
Check out my website if you have time too:
www.captaincompostalabama.com

Happy Gardening!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 7:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Michael

lazygardens: I enjoyed your July 15th post, we think alike, analytically. The question you posed in it wasn't answered subsequently, I don't have the answer and would avoid using any concoction of unknown hazard for that reason.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 3:30PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Do I use an Industrial Diatomaceous Earth or a Food Grade for pests?
Do I use an Industrial Diatomaceous Earth or a Food...
pectin232
What animal is digging this?
Saw this a couple weeks ago and it wasn't that bad,...
JackOfSomeTrades
boric acid v. 20 Mule Team borax
My beds, yard, and walkways have been invaded by colonies...
Pirata
What is this bug? Help!
They're on my apricots and my tomatoes, sucking the...
MsMaximus
Chipmunks in the walls!
I've discovered chipmunks that are getting into my...
dadofsixj
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™