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Homeowner Tips for Pesticide Alternatives

All pesticides sold or used in the United States must be registered by the EPA. Even natural or organic pesticides can be dangerous or toxic to humans and pets and should be properly used.

Below are some natural or less-toxic pesticides and ingredients.

Insecticidal soap spray

  • Go commercial.
    Look for commercially available insecticidal soaps and follow the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Family recipe.
    If making your own, you should use a liquid soap, not detergent. The soap spray should be diluted to about a 1%-2% solution (½ to 2 tablespoons of soap per quart of water).
  • After dark.
    Insecticidal soaps work only on direct contact with the pests. There is no residual insecticidal activity once the soap spray has dried. Therefore the best time to spray is during slow-drying times.
  • Do you have full coverage?
    Thorough coverage is vital for the soap to be effective. Depending on the pest, this includes the bottom sides of leaves. Spray thoroughly, but not to the point of runoff. Repeat applications may also be needed.
  • Soft or hard?
    Insecticidal soap works best on softbodied insects such as aphids, mealy bugs, spider mites, thrips and whiteflies. Depending on additional ingredients, it can also be used for caterpillars and leafhoppers.

Note: Like all soaps, insecticidal soaps can be mildly irritating to skin and eyes.

Boric acid

  • Go natural.
    Boric acid is a good alternative to stronger pesticides. Boric acid is made from borates, a naturally occurring mineral.
  • Danger, poison.
    Pesticide products containing Boric acid can act as stomach poisons in ants, cockroaches, silverfish and termites, while others abrade the exoskeletons of insects.
  • Get in the tight spots.
    Boric acid can be applied to cracks, crevices, etc., preferably as a light dust.
  • Safety first!
    Follow directions when using Boric acid, including avoiding skin contact and possibly using a dust mask. Always wash your hands after using chemicals.
Back to Top Page Last Edited: Wed Jun 5, 2013 4:37:09 PM

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