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Pest Concoction (long)

Posted by susan_on (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 22, 13 at 13:19

As requested by Jel48:

I had some greenhouse pests (whiteflies, aphids and fungas gnats) and then I had a minor mouse problem. I HATE mice, and I would freak if one got into our living area. Anyway, after having unsatisfactory results with two exterminators I did some research.

I had previously sprayed an alcohol, dish soap and water solution on my g/h pests, which worked instantly on the pests that got hit with it. However, it didn't always kill eggs or pests under the soil. I tried to let my soil dry out some and that did help with the fungus gnats, but my plants would suffer from dehydration before the pests would be eradicated.

Some of the stuff I read about helped with mice, some helped with plant pests and some helped with both. I decided to simplify things by using one solution for both purposes. For the most part, the plant pests hate orange or citrus oils and cinnamon, and the mice hate rosemary, hot peppers and chilli powder. Both hate garlic. Mice also hate mint, but I haven't had to use that.

So what I do is I dice orange peels, and put in a big pot with diced garlic, chilli powder, hot pepper flakes, cinnamon and rosemary. I bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes and when cool enough I put it in the downstairs fridge for a day or so. When ready to use, I filter first with a paper towel, and then with a coffee filter. If I don't filter like this, it plugs up my sprayer.

I've read that you need to spray where the mice are getting in once a week, and after any rain. I use a pressure sprayer and it only takes a minute. I would suggest spraying more often in the beginning when the mice are entrenched in the habit of going in there. There hasn't been a mouse come into the house since I started this. When the weather warms up.. I will be placing a pots of rosemary and mint where the mice seem to be getting in. I have it narrowed down to a general area, and I'm still working on finding the exact spot so I can plug it up.

In the g/h, I had immediate and wonderful results. I spray anything that moves, and I water the plants with the solution also. You do have to be careful with the cinnamon- it's effective in killing pests, but the oil can be harmful to some plants. I haven't had any trouble, but be careful. Oh, and the cinnamon is also good for fungus and any mold problems as well. I've read that the citrus oils stimulate the plant roots, not sure if that is true, but my plants seem happier than ever. Most of my plants are showing nice growth, and the plants that used to have problems with yellowing not due to overwatering (hibiscus, some of my dahlias and mandevilla) are no longer having these problems. I add fertilizer to this solution as usual.

Apparently when you water with the solution, the plant tissues also become unpalatable to pests as well. This is also how neem oil works, and I have had good luck with neem oil, but it is expensive. I will be trying my solution in the summer with my plants- spraying them with it and occasionally watering with this solution. I sure wish I had figured this out sooner! Oh, and it's important to pick up any dead, diseased leaves etc and dispose of them in the garbage rather than the compost.

Speaking of compost.. I'm a bit of a compost fanatic and I find this solution/process helps my compost too. After using the fluid from the mixture, you can add more hot water and reheat and use the solids in this way for about a week. When you finally discard the solids into the compost, you then have components in the compost that repel mice as well, along with the paper towels and coffee filter.

It takes a bit of time to filter, etc, but I just keep at it while I do other stuff. And as I said to my husband.. it doesn't feel like I'm doing more work to deal with plant pests, I'm just doing more of it in the kitchen with my preparations. I hated using chemical treatments and they didn't work nearly as well. I don't have to obsessively work on my plants to keep the pests off, and they are happier and healthier than they have ever been!

If you have any questions.. just let me know. I have no science background, but I have been reading and experimenting and this is what works for me.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pest Concoction (long)

fantastic info! i wonder though if it affects other critters besides mice? we feed a variety of critters(spill over from the bird feeders...including squirrels, our mallard duck couple,a rabbit, and yes even a deer or 2 have left footprints...

i assume if we sprayed the exterior foundation, it would help?


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RE: Pest Concoction (long)

Oh, I think it works on all rodents. Keep in mind that squirrels who have a deeply entrenched habit of going to certain places are hard to deter. I learned that when my son had a squirrel problem at his house. Today I drenched the area where a squirrel goes to our feeder, and I'll let you know tomorrow how it worked (or didn't). I think I'll try it in the front garden where someone's cat keeps leaving "surprises". I did notice that my dogs didn't go to sniff the area under the feeder where the squirrel goes.


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RE: Pest Concoction (long)

Great idea, Susan. What are the amounts of the spices you use, and how many oranges? And can you use other citrus like grapefruit, limes or lemons?


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RE: Pest Concoction (long)

I'm really informal about it and I probably use more than I need. And mostly I just dump stuff in. But I use the peels of 2 oranges, about a tablespoon of dried rosemary, 1 or 2 cloves diced up, maybe 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and I just sprinkle some rosemary, chilli powder and hot pepper flakes on top. The first batch from these "solids" are ready within a day, and then when I add fresh water and reheat, it's weaker so I let it steep for a couple of days at least. I usually freshen up the chilli powder, cinnamon and hot pepper flakes a bit.

You can use any citrus, I used lemon before when I didn't have oranges. We just always seem to have oranges.

I probably make it stronger than I need to, and I'm starting to dilute my solution with plain water for watering g/h plants. And I don't water with it every time- I do it as needed.

I should caution that if you use the spray on fruit trees or fruiting plants, do not use it when the blossoms are coming out or the bees will stay away too.

This post was edited by susan_on on Sat, Mar 23, 13 at 11:39


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RE: Pest Concoction (long)

Thanks! I'm printing this out.


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RE: Pest Concoction (long)

I'm wondering if I spray it on the ground where a cat has been pooping, if it will chase it away!


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