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Organic pesticides for sustainable agriculture
6/7/2020 12:04:23 AM
Dr. Parveen Kumar, Dr. D. Namgyal

Insect pests cause serious damage to crops and livestock. We commonly use the term insect pests together, but there is a difference between the two. The main difference between pest and insect is that pest is a destructive creature for the crops and livestock whereas insect is a small creature which may or may not be harmful. A pest is an animal or plant which has a harmful effect on humans their food or their living conditions while insects are arthropods that may or may not harm. Pests include vertebrates, plants, and invertebrates while insects are always arthropods. Today all our policies and programmes revolve around sustainability and organic methods of doing agriculture are at the core of sustainable agriculture. The organic methods largely avoid the use of toxic chemicals which have already caused irrepairable damage to the ecosystem. The philosophy of today is to use chemical control methods like insecticides and pesticides on plants only as a last resort only after other cultural and preventative measures have failed. If an insecticide or pesticide is required to be used, the least toxic option should be used first. A number of pesticides can be made at home using ingredients’ that we can commonly find in our home, neighbor or village. Using homemade organic pesticides to manage insect pests offers several advantages, including the accessibility of the ingredients, low cost and low toxicity to humans and other mammals. In addition, pest sprays made using these products can be used to curb infestations from a range of insects and as a disease control agent for all kinds of plants, such as ornamental, vegetables and soft fruit. Another bonus to using these home remedies is a minimal risk of insects developing resistance, as they often do to commercial pesticides. Some of the home made organic pesticides includes:
GARLIC SPRAY: Garlic works in several ways. Its odor is a repellent to some insects; concentrated garlic is fatal to soft-bodied insects; and it has antibacterial properties that prevent diseases. Garlic, oil and soap can be used separately or collectively in plant protecting sprays. The basic mix that can be used as a fungicide comprises four to five heads of garlic homogenized in a blender, 1 quart of water and a couple drops of liquid soap. Remove any solids by straining with cheesecloth, and then store the remaining liquid in the refrigerator. An oil and soap-based pesticide is made using 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, half teaspoon of mild detergent and 1 gallon of water. Mix all well before spraying on plants.
COOKING OILS: Cooking oils as well as mild soap and organic detergents, also offer effective protection against many insects by suffocating them or destroying the protective coats of soft-bodied insects. Homemade insecticides containing mixes of garlic, oil and soap are particularly effective at controlling soft-bodied insects like aphids, mealy bugs, thrips and
Whiteflies, corn earworms, leaf rollers, fall armyworms and leaf miners.
SOAP SOLUTIONS: A simple soap solution is to add 1 teaspoon of an eco-friendly detergent to half a bucket of water, and then transfer to spray bottles. Soap solutions also provide fungicidal protection from diseases like black spot, canker, powdery mildew and rust, and oil sprays are used to prevent powdery mildew infection of roses and fruit trees.
HOT PEPPER SPRAY:
Capsaicin, the substance that makes hot peppers hot, also deters a variety of garden pests. A hot pepper spray can be made by chopping several hot peppers of any variety, the hotter the better and steeping them in 2 cups hot water. Once the liquid cools, strain it into a jar with a squirt or two of liquid soap for a hot pepper concentrate. Mix 2 teaspoons of the concentrate into 2 cups water for a spray.
GARLIC ALL-PURPOSE SPRAY
An all-purpose garden spray combines the heat and bitterness of hot peppers, onions and garlic to create a potent repellent for leaf-eating pests. The mix combines one garlic bulb and a small onion, finely chopped, 1 quart. of water and 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder. Steep it for an hour or more. Strain it into a spray bottle and add a squirt of dish soap. The soap both kills insects and helps the spicy solution stick to plant leaves. This mixture keeps for up to a week in the refrigerator, so mix only what you think you'll use in that time.
NEEM OIL
Neem oil is a powerful, all-natural plant for warding off pests. Neem juice is even one the most powerful natural pesticides on the planet, containing over 50 natural insecticides. This extremely bitter tree leaf can be used to make a natural pesticidal spray. To make neem oil spray, add 1/2 ounce of high-quality organic neem oil and 1/2 teaspoon of a mild organic liquid soap to two quarts of warm water. Stir slowly. Add to a spray bottle and use immediately.
SALT SPRAY
For treating plants infested with spider mites, mix two tablespoons of salt (crystal salt) into one gallon of warm water and spray on infected areas.
MINERAL OILS:
Mineral Oils also work as organic pesticides against insect/pests. These oils dehydrate insects and their eggs. They can be made by mixing 10 to 30 ml of high-grade organic mineral oil with one liter of water. The mixture should be stirred well and then added to spray bottles.
SOAP, ORANGE CITRUS OIL, & WATER:
To make this natural pesticide, simply mix 3 tablespoons of liquid organic Castile soap with 1 ounce of Orange oil to one gallon of water. Shake well. This is an especially effective treatment against slugs and can be sprayed directly on ants and roaches.
EUCALYPTUS OIL:
The Eucalyptus oil is also a great natural pesticide for flies, bees, and wasps. Sprinkling a few drops of eucalyptus oil where the insects are found makes the insects to go even before we come to know.
CHRYSANTHEMUM FLOWER TEA:
These flowers hold a powerful plant chemical component called pyrethrum. This substance invades the nervous system of insects, rendering them immobile. One can make own spray by boiling 100 grams of dried flowers into 1 liter of water. Boil dried flowers in water for twenty minutes. Strain, cool, and pour into a spray bottle. It can be stored for up to two months. Addition of some organic neem oil enhances its effectiveness.
TOBACCO SPRAY:
All of us know that Tobacco is hazardous to human beings but there was a time when tobacco spray was once a commonly used pesticide for killing pests, caterpillars, and aphids. To make Tobacco spray, mix 1 cup of organic tobacco (preferably a brand that is organic and all-natural) into 1 gallon of water. Allow the mixture to set overnight. After 24 hours, the mix should have a light brown color. If it is very dark, add more water. This mix can be used on most plants, except those in the Solanaceous family (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc.)
RED PEPPER SPRAY
The red pepper powder can also be used to create a homemade pesticide by mixing 1 tablespoon of red pepper powder, 6 drops of dish soap and 1 gallon of water thoroughly. Pour the red pepper mixture in a garden sprayer and thoroughly cover the vegetables with the spray. If needed, reapply the spray once a week to keep garden pests such as leafhoppers, spittlebugs, beetles and loopers off the plants.
PRECAUTIONS AND CONSIDERATIONS
Pesticides that are made using pepper should be avoided spraying near your eyes or face, as it may cause irritation. Always test a bit of any organic spray mixture made on a leaf before spraying the entire plant to make sure it doesn't burn or damage the foliage. This should be done the day before planning to use the mixture on vegetable plants. It's also best to spray plant early in the morning before the sun is hot or late in the afternoon. Some products especially those containing oils can burn plants if used during the sunny and hot portions of the day.
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