Homemade Non-toxic Bug Spray

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The following recipe (original published in the USDA's Agricultural Research Magazine, November, 1992) works very well for control of mealybugs and other small insects on houseplants.

  • Add one tablespoon of dishwashing detergent to one cup of vegetable oil (peanut, safflower, corn, soybean, or sunflower).
  • When ready to use, shake this solution well and mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of it into 1 cup of water.
  • Spray the mixture directly on insects, using a pump sprayer like the one that comes with plastic bottles of window cleaner.
  • Check plants for insects every 7 to 10 days or so, and spray again as needed.