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Homemade Bug Killers?

September 29, 2008

Hi i have some strange Bugs on my noid dend and i cannot get rid of them, they come and go. they arent scale but look like it they move! they show up in clusters then they scatter accros the new growths and then cluster back up again. they leve a sticky sap too... SO GROSS! i was wondering if you guys know about any Homemade insect killers or a cheap solution to rid my plant of this pest?

Bug Pics



Comments (16)

  • mehitabel

    Hey, Sam. I read somewhere that plain old dishwashing liquid (like Ivory liquid) in a high enough concentration will kill any bug, even wasps.

    So I mixed some up, app 1/4 cup ivory to 1 qt of water, and sure enough, dropped a wasp like a rock. It crawled around a little, but was clearly done for. I could hardly believe it, because wasp killer poisons are pretty potent. But it really did work.

    Peter Lin also recommends washing a plant with soapy water.

    Your picture looks a little like aphids to me. Aphids tend to cluster on tender new growth. They can give birth to live *pregnant* young, so if there's one, there's going to be thousands.

    I've used soapy water sprayed on to kill aphids. You have to be *persistent*. Repeat the treatment every 5 days or so for maybe four treatments. You should start seeing fewer and fewer, and then none.

    I may be sadistic toward bugs on my plants, but I actually enjoy watching the little nasties drop off when sprayed. For aphids, I don't think you need 1/4 cup (I didn't want to just get the wasp mad at me). A couple of tablespoons to a quart will be plenty.

    Peel off the dried sarongs so you can get in there with the soapy water in case there are a few inside.

    PS I also use pure ivory liquid on a Q tip to get scale or mealies hiding in flowers. Kills the pest and spares the flower.

  • orchidguyftl

    looks like aphids
    1 part 409 cleaner
    1 part rubbing alcohol
    2 parts water

    kills them every time
    3% hydrogen peroxide will work fine too

  • stitzelweller

    mehitabel, I think that your suggestion of aphids is "right on"! I'm a little puzzled by the amount of Ivory that is in your mix. Waay back in olden times, I recall something about a formula change to the Ivory product. "Rumours" were that Ivory wasn't as effective as a bug killer any longer.

    Maybe, the newer, improved formula helps to loosen dirt, grime and grease better? Instead of buying products for my orchids, I'll buy them for what they're designed!


  • mehitabel

    Stitz, I do not explain, I only report. Fair and balanced. I had been wanting to test the theory, but wasn't brave enough to try it on a nest of wasps. When one wasp was dumb enough to come in my kitchen, I had the perfect experiment.

    What can I say? It worked. Sam asked about home-made bug killers, and there it was: soap and water, easiest thing to find in anyone's bath or kitchen.

    Obviously any liquid soap would do. I've even used handsoap when I wanted something fast and handy to get a scale or two off a flower. Anyone phobic about "poisons" should at least try it on a wasp or two before writing it off.

    As for rumors of formula changes that work better-- I don't try to keep up with the features offered by new products unless they're orchids. :)

  • ttkidd

    I can confirm the soap and wasp thing. I had a nest of wasps invade my bedroom in 2005, with about 50 new visitors every day when I got home from work... I was not pleased. A spray bottle with lots of soap and water worked well. Tilex worked in seconds, though I don't reccomend you use it for the aphids on your orchid.


  • chris_johnson_searchlaboratory_com

    Wasps are a real nuisance! Our shed was jam packed of the things. We had no idea how to get rid of them but we were told to have a look at the things on offer at the site I've linked to and we found the lantern worked really well. I'd check it out if anyone else is having problems with wasps, especially with the summer approaching once again.

    - Chrissy :)

    Here is a link that might be useful: Kill Wasps

  • richardol

    The soap doesn't kill them as much as help the water and/or alcohol get into the breathing tubes. Mealy bugs have a waxy coating. I like the soap/alcohol mix for most bugs I can see. Some scale needs a systematic, but not necessary for most bugs.

  • ifraser25

    I no longer use soap as it has damaged some plants I used it on. Why don't you invest in a bottle of Neem Oil? OK, it's a little more expensive but you don't need to use much and the effect lasts for months, so it's very cost-effective and completely "green".If you saw the amount of pollution due to over use of detergents in Brazilian rivers you would not use it unless there was no option.

  • venicebill

    Alcohol + Dawn (or other liquid soap) dehydrates insects. They can become immune to organophosphates but none, in my experience, have become immume to being dehydrated.
    Damage can occur because the soap forms a film that causes the burn. Spray the plant thoroughly and keep it out of the sun. Rinse before it gets hot. My prefernece is to spray in the evening and rinse in the AM.

    Wasps are predators and help to control insects. If they are not a danger, protect them.

    Ants are evil. They literally farm and protect scale, aphids, etc to live off their feces. If you have ants on your plants, you have other problems.

  • ginnibug

    What is the ratio of soap and alcohol? Sounds wonderful. Watching the little uglies shrivel up and die. Neem oil has been a little hard for me to come by at most of the hardware stores, not quite certain why? ginnibug

  • larrylwill

    I can find neem oil but nowhere can I find out how much to use. Is it concentrate or use full strength, if concentrate what is the mix?

  • lori51

    I have aphids on my tomato plants and where I live it is against the law to use any insecticides... I am also concerned that if I spray my plants with the mentioned cures it will affect the bees pollinating the flowers on the plant. Does anyone have an idea that will get rid of the aphids, but not hurt the bees or flowers? I'm desperate...

  • James _J

    Try garlic, I don't think it kills them but it's supposed to repel them. Some people plant garlic with roses to control aphids. You can also soak garlic in water to make a spray.

  • olympia_gardener

    I don't recall aphids is shiny and dark colored. It leaves sticky sap, I suspect it has something to doing with scale. To be on caution side, scale is very hard to get rid of, I would recommed applying fish emulsion, a capful in spray bottle and spray the plant as often as you mist your orchids. Orchids love to be misted. Fish emulsion is low N fertilizer, will fertilize your orchid as well. You orchid will love to get low dose of N often too. Oil in fish emulsion will sufficate young scales. if you continue use it, eventually you will get rid of them all. I have habit of using fish emulsion on all my plants just to give a small dose of fertilizer and protect plants from getting new bad bugs. If it is aphids, fish emulsion will take care it too.

    Fish fertilizer is wonderful organic stuff, however, there is draw back... It smells like anchove. You need to spray it outside and let the leave dry before you bring it in, or you just leave the plant outside, orchids loves sun too.

  • LoboGothic

    Our gardening guru recommends 1 part liquid detergent in 40 parts water. Spray thoroughly, make sure to cover undersides of leaves too. Wait 10 minutes, rinse with clear water. Repeat 3 times over 10 day period to get hatching eggs. This works like a charm, even on big ugly tomato worms. For the veggie garden, I actually use my hose end sprayer filled with liquid detergent and as soon as I've finished spraying, begin rinsing where I started. It works out to about 10 minutes all round. If I spray before actually seeing tomato worms, often there are hardly any later on. It's excellent for aphids but you really have to do the repeat spraying for it to work.

    This is all I ever use in the garden for spray. This year I tried using wood ash for my squash beetles and it worked fairly well, at least kept the bugs down long enough for the plants to get going. Just put some in a flower pot and shook it over the plants to spread it around on the leaves, especially in the centres.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Gardening With Ed

  • grandy3

    I have found that pepper spray does a good job and doesn't hurt veggies but haven't had to use on orchids, yet. soak 2 tablespoons pepper, I use Jalapeno, in gallon of water. Heat the water and put in pepper overnight, drain and spray. You can also add garlic to the water, 6 cloves. Works for me in Florida.

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