Insecticide Plants And Their Use

Spring and summer period is the most troublesome time for gardeners. It is necessary to cultivate the soil, destroy weeds, feed, water and protect garden crops from pests and diseases. Chemical industry produces a large number of different products to help farmers, the purpose of which is to feed and protect. But, giving aid to plants, chemicals often cause intoxication of human body, which is accompanied by poisoning with subsequent diseases and sometimes quite severe.

Insecticide plants and their use
Simultaneous planting of vegetables and flowers, repellent insect pests. © Dorling Kindersley

The search for new forms of protective agents has led to biopreparations based on fungal and bacterial Effective Microorganisms (EM). Their distribution and use is constantly increasing. But they do not always work, and the reason is not in one or another biopreparation, but in the conditions of their "work": one must apply them several times (sometimes during the whole vegetation period up to harvesting), the optimal temperature for each type of biopreparation, correct dilution, because increasing of solution concentration will dwarf the plant, but not increase the yield (Baikal EM-1).

In connection with the increasing number of private farms with natural type of land use, more and more gardeners pay attention to the possibility of increasing soil fertility, plant protection from pests with the help of the plants themselves, without the use of chemicals. They are called natural insecticides or plant insecticides. When used correctly, they are very effective and harmless to humans. At the same time, the harmlessness of natural insecticides is rather conditional. Tinctures and decoctions from poisonous plants are also poisons for humans. Many of the natural insecticides are known to gardeners and even cultivated as garden plants, but they are destroyed, considered as weeds among other crops (e.g., dill).

Main groups of natural insecticides

Natural insecticides can be roughly divided into 3 groups:

  • plant insecticides of vegetable crops,
  • flower plant insecticides,
  • wild plant insecticides.

Horticultural insecticidal plants almost all secrete phytoncides, which depress pests, and decoctions effectively kill them. Vegetable garden insecticides include garlic, onion, celery, horseradish, bitter pepper, basil, mustard, fennel, ukrop, parsley, cumin, tomatoes, potatoes and other crops.

In the flowerbeds, squares, and mixborders at every dacha, barhats, calendula, chrysanthemums, mattiola, nasturtium grow, petunia, pelargonium, loverflower, sage and other flowering crops that are strong insecticides. Their cultivation among vegetable crops drives out pests, and decoctions are effective pest-killing preparations.

The list of wild plants used as insecticides numbers hundreds of species. And they generally do not drive out, but rather destroy pests. These include wormwood, wormwood creeper, chistotelia, bushberry, pigeonberry, chicory root, cherry, tobacco, common yarrow, lopuchus, wormwood, livestock and others.

Selecting insecticidal plants for crop treatment, it is necessary to avoid obviously poisonous plants, as they negatively affect (up to severe poisoning), people and useful fauna: borschtchievik, aconite, black whiting, dalmata (Caucasian) chamomile, durman ordinary, chemeritz Lobel, chistotelia and others.

There are a sufficient number of plants whose toxicity is deadly to harmful fauna and does not affect the health of humans and animals and beneficial insects (bees, bumblebees). At dachas, to avoid accidents, it is better to use only preparations of non-poisonous plants.

Insecticide plants and their use
Barkhammers are an excellent ornamental insecticide. © Tanja Pickrell

Periods of effectiveness of insecticidal plants

Only when properly harvested will insecticidal plants show their effectiveness in controlling pests.

The toxicity of insecticides is greatest during certain phases of growth and development. In the vast majority of natural insecticides, it is manifested from the phase of 2 - 3 leaves to the beginning of mass flowering. The second wave of increased toxicity takes place from the beginning of seed ripening to harvesting. At the end of the growing season the necessary substances are accumulated in roots, rhizomes, bulbs, which are used for decoctions and infusions.

The period from the end of mass flowering to the beginning of maturation the plant uses to accumulate substances for its own protection against pests. Thus, from the end of flowering to the beginning of seed ripening, it is impractical to use decoctions and infusions of natural insecticides. Their toxicity to pests will be minimal.

Natural insecticides quickly lose their toxic effects on pests because they do not accumulate in plants and are easily washed away by rainfall. Repeated crop treatments are necessary, which means a decent supply of plant material. It is possible to prepare concentrates with certain period of storage (up to 1-2 months) or to dry grasses, haulm, roots and rhizomes and use them as dry biological preparations. Working solutions are used on the day of preparation. They should not be stored. Only healthy plants should be used for making infusions and decoctions. Otherwise you may not get the protective effect.

Dry material can be prepared in advance and used in the form of powdered pollination of plants and soil, powder or additives in holes and furrows while planting seedlings and sowing seeds.

Rules of collecting and storing insecticidal plants

To preserve the insecticidal properties of plants, they must be harvested only at certain phases (see above.

Collect material in sunny weather after dew melting and before the beginning of midday heat or after 15-16 hours in the afternoon.

Healthy aboveground mass, roots, rhizomes, onion and garlic husks, bulbs themselves dry in the shadow and pack in breathable bags (not film bags) or nets. Store in a dry room, avoiding mildew. Some plants are tied up in loose sheaves and hung in a prepared dry room.

In spring and summer prepare working solutions or finely crush leaves, inflorescences and flowers, stems and contribute to planting furrows, holes during planting seedlings or sowing and planting seed material (flowers and leaves of chrysanthemums, pyretrum, dry celandine, tobacco dust, powder string bitter pepper and others). Some are used to powder the soil (tobacco dust, powder of pyrethrum, pigmas).

If possible, prepare a concentrate from the fall. It is stored until used as working solutions. For example, autumn fallen walnut leaves to 2/3 or completely fill a barrel (wooden, galvanized) and pour boiling water. Close tightly. Over the winter the leaves ferment. The resulting liquid concentrate. 1-2 liters of concentrate diluted in 10 liters of water, you get a working solution that sprays plants from aphids, mites and other pests. Initially, the working solution is tested on 2 - 3 plants, so as not to burn when spraying the entire culture. If necessary, water is added to reduce the concentration of the working solution.

The tomato and potato leaves are used only healthy, fresh and dry. Prepare working solutions in the form of decoctions from above-ground mass, which are used immediately for treatment of plants. It is possible to prepare concentrate and dilute it as needed to the working solution (see "Preparation of solutions" below).

It is inexpedient to use working solutions of several insecticidal plants to kill the same type of pests (for example, aphids). It is possible to prepare tank mixtures of different insecticidal plants used against different types of pests (biting and sucking). The tank mixes will reduce the load on the plant and reduce the number of treatments.

Insecticide plants and their use
Aliessum's fragrant flowers will attract beneficial insects. © Tanja Pickrell

Compatibility of vegetable crops and insecticidal plants

To keep a garden, berry or vegetable garden absolutely clean is to condemn it to constant treatments with pest repellents. Therefore, on the one hand, weeds, flowering and vegetable garden plants with insecticidal properties, just need to grow together. On the other hand, when insecticidal plants are used in garden and vegetable plantings, their "good neighborliness" must be monitored. Some plant insecticides depress the crop or, conversely, are depressed by the crop, so they are useless in joint plantings.

For example, cumin and sage do not tolerate the proximity of wormwood. Mustardis a good defense for peas. Celery effectively protects cabbage from cabbage moths. Horseradish, bush beans, coriander, beans planted near or between potato bushes will effectively protect the crop from Colorado beetle, potato moth, aphids, potato moth and other pests.

Spraying with decoctions basilica, pigmata, black poplar leaves, mint is used on all pest-infested plants from the beginning of mass shootings to the phase of budding and after flowering.

The ideal neighbors are tagetas (marigolds) and calendula (marigolds). They reliably protect cabbage, strawberries, phlox, gladiolus and many other plants from root damage by nematodes. They can be planted in the row, between the rows, planted on all sides of the bed. The nematodes will go away, but not die.

Slugs and snails do not tolerate the smell of parsley. Aphids do not tolerate the scent of pelargonium. Bulbs and garlic in plantings of tall flowering plants will rid them of aphids. Dill, parsley, fenneland other umbrellas attract beneficial entomophages that kill many types of pests. They are attracted to flowering plants with flowers and inflorescences of yellow and orange colors. Useful sagebrush next to carrots. Under fruit crops and between berry bushes, it is useful to propagate bushes of pigeonberry and wormwood. Their unpleasant smell will drive away the aphids of scatterers and moths, whose larvae and caterpillars can destroy most of the crop. Potatoes will be saved from wireworms by predecessors - s beans or peas.

If you properly compose crop rotation, some treatments will not be needed. Plants themselves will "banish" pests.

To rid the garden of pests, to protect vegetable crops, you need more effective measures, which are treatments of plants in order to destroy them. Treatments use decoctions, infusions, powdered preparations of plants-insecticides.

The following field and flowering plants and crops will help maintain a natural positive balance between the number of pests and beneficial insects in the vegetable garden and garden: donberry, pigeonberry, thyme, garden buckwheat, calendula, fennel, butterhead, lavender, mattiola, sage, cicory, nasturtium, wormwood, cumin and many others.

Insecticide plants and their use
Dill is also an active insecticide. © rain

Types of natural insecticide preparations

There are 3 ways to independently prepare natural insecticide preparations:

Working solutions based on soap or other adhesives. To the prepared working solution of natural insecticide from grasses and insecticides 30-50 grams of finely grated laundry soap or green soap, which is an adhesive agent, are added per 10 liters. Stir the solution until the soap is dissolved. You can use dish detergent as a clinging agent. Washing powders are not recommended to use, especially those containing bleaching and other ingredients that negatively affect plants.

In recent years, special solutions of adhesives, so-called surfactants or surface active substances are used: EPAA-10, liposam, OP-7, OP-10, BIO glue and others. Using surfactants as adhesives

  • stops insecticide solutions on the leaves of vegetative plants for up to 30 days,
  • does not allow insecticidal solution to drip from leaves covered with waxy coating or smooth,
  • prevent fast loss of moisture on the leaf surface.

When preparing working solutions using surfactants, it is possible to prolong their storage in the refrigerator up to 1-2 weeks without loss of activity against pests.

Solutions based on Neem oil(Neem) or its ingredients. Neema oil is a natural insecticide that effectively destroys more than 400 species of insects (scale, moth larvae, cabbage caterpillars, whiteflies). The oil itself is a bioinsecticide and does not affect human or animal health. Neem oil is obtained from the above-ground and underground parts of the Indian Margosa tree, also known as the Indian Tulip Tree.

To obtain an oil-based insecticide solution, 30 ml of the oil is diluted in 10 liters of warm herbal insecticide solution with 30 ml of detergent added, stirred well and sprayed on the plants.

An insecticide solution from Neem oil with added lavender and rosemary essential oils can be prepared. Use 50-60 ml of Neem oil, 5 ml of essential oils per 8 liters of warm water, add 30 ml of any detergent and mix thoroughly. When spraying, use a fine sprayer. The solution in the container is constantly shaken so that there is no separation of oil and water. The working solution is sprayed on all the plants in the garden every 5-7 days for 2-5 weeks. The solution kills larvae and adults of pests. Use the solution before the culture blossoms.

Purchase Nima oil or its ingredient Azadiractin, other special insecticidal liquids based on Nima oil, you can in herbal store, pharmacy, specialized supermarket departments, other retail outlets.

Powder insecticides based on pyrethrum. Pyrethrum is also called Dalmatian chamomile. This flower is also known by the names Caucasian or Persian chamomile and is referred to as chrysanthemum by some taxonomists. Real chrysanthemums are also natural insecticides. All pyrethrums contain pyrethrins, which cause paralysis of insect muscles. It should be noted that the action of pyrethrins is short-term and if the concentration of the powder is insufficient, the duration of fumigation, the paralysis passes and the insect remains alive. Therefore, when applying pyrethroids, it is necessary to act strictly according to the recommendations. Pyrethroid powders and solutions kill ants, mites, various flies and other gnawing (roots and leaves) pests. Chemical production produces a biopreparation Inta-Vir. Many gardeners call it mildly effective. Low toxicity to pests in most cases is due to its improper and untimely application.

Insecticide plants and their use
Chamomile for use as an insecticide. © Mary Ellen Graybill

Pyrethrum is used in powder form for pollination, sprinkling soil, adding to wells when planting and sowing. During vegetation period you can treat soil around plants as well as treat manure and compost heaps against flies.

Pick up all kinds of daisies during flowering and dry them in loose sheaves, including colored ones growing in the countryside. Grind the dried inflorescences into dust. The finer is the grinding, the higher is the effectiveness of the remedy. You can treat with powder from a sprayer or prepare an insecticidal solution. Add 50-60 g of powder to 8 liters of warm water, add 6-8 ml of sesame oil or up to 10 ml of detergent. Stir the mixture, infuse for 3-4 hours. Spray the plants in cool weather. In hot weather pyrethrins decompose quickly and become ineffective.

Treatments and infusions of natural insecticides

The aboveground part of plants in fresh or dried form, collected before flowering or in the period from the beginning of seed ripening to harvesting, are used for infusions and decoctions. The underground part is always harvested from the fall and also used fresh or dried. A few examples of hot and cold potions and infusions are given below. Using other insecticidal plants for decoctions and infusions you may use the indicated quantities of ingredients.

For preparing 10 liters of working solution by hot method from fresh above-ground parts of insecticidal plants, finely chop 300-400 g of plant mass, add boiling water to a bucket, insist from 4 hours to 24 hours. Sometimes the mixture is boiled under a lid for 20-30 minutes over low heat. The cooled solution is filtered through a coarse and then a fine sieve, and 1-2 plants are sprayed. If in a few hours (sometimes wait a day) did not manifest burn plants, spray the prepared solution of the entire culture. If the leaves become attached or spots appear, add 2-3 liters of water to the solution (reduce the concentration of the solution). When preparing solutions from dry mass, its amount is halved.

Can be prepared a decoction of celandine for treatments of all plants against gnawing pests. 400-500 grams of fresh celandine or 200-250 g of dry pour water and boil for 20-30 minutes under a lid over low heat. Cool, filter and spray the plants. Repeat the spraying in 4-5 days. Work with celandine should be very carefully. All parts of the plant are poisonous. Attention! In home conditions it is better not to use poisonous plants.

Cold extracts or infusions can be prepared. For the concentrate, the mixture is prepared as follows. For 10 liters of water use 500 g yarrow, 250 g of dandelion and tansy, you can add 250-300 g of milkwort with roots, 250-300 g of nettle. The mixture of herbs insist, stirring, for 5-7 days. The resulting concentrate is filtered. Dilute 1-2 liters of concentrate in 10 liters of water and spray the culture. It is possible to prepare another composition, but the collection must be chosen so that to embrace as much as possible different types of pests.

Insecticide plants and their use
Preparation of the solution from the insecticides plants. © Ric Bessin

All kinds of decoctions and infusions have soap or other adhesives added before treating plants.

Some plants as live insecticides can be used in intercrop plantings. For example, root secretions of tagetes (marigolds) or marigolds (marigolds) protect the root system of vegetables from nematode infestation.

In the row between vegetable crops, plant 2-3 plants per square meter or in the inter-row. You can plant a bed of calendula. In autumn collect, dry and use as decoctions for the next year.

Cold infusions can be prepared from one type of plant-insecticide.

Crush nettle (0.8-1.0 kg), collected before flowering, finely chop, pour 10 liters of water and insist 5-8 days. Fermented mass strain, add 5-8 liters of water. Use against aphids.

Before the summer (flight) of moths, cabbage moths, cabbage moths prepare infusion burdock. Fill 1/3 of a bucket with fresh burdock leaves and pour water to the brim. Insist 3-4 days. Strain and the resulting solution to treat cabbage every 2-3 days for 3 weeks.

Weedflies, aphids and mites are killed by infusion of roots of horse sorrel. 250-350 g of roots finely chop and pour 10 liters of water. Infuse 3-4 hours, strain. Treat plants 2-3 times in 3-4 days.

From general recommendations. Before flowering, garden and vegetable crops are treated with working solutions in 5-7 days, sometimes more often. During the flowering period the treatments are not carried out so as not to interfere with pollination. From the second half of the warm season, during the beginning of fruit sprouting and until harvesting, the treatment frequency is reduced by half. It is better not to use decoctions and infusions of poisonous herbs in dachas and household plots.

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