There are natural methods to halt pests such as thrips, aphids, caterpillars and armyworms from attacking your crops
The best time to spray is early in the morning and evening to avoid disintegration from the sun and to killing predators and beneficial insects.
Crush a handful of mature blackjack seeds, add water and boil for 10 minutes then leave it to cool. Alternatively, soak the ground seeds in water for a day. Filter and dilute with an equal amount of soapy water. Use as a general spray for aphids, ants, beetles, cabbage root flies, caterpillars, crickets, mites, termites and whiteflies.
Collect leaves of lantana, dry them and spread at the bottom of the storage facility to control storage pests. Place the crop to be stored on top. Helps control cassava weevils, grain weevils and potato weevils.
Crush leaves (about 3kg) and put in four litres of water. Leave for five to eight days or boil for 20 minutes then leave to cool. Filter the liquid and dilute in an equal amount of soapy water made by using bar soap. Spray on the affected crop. Use the large decomposed remains to mulch your vegetables.
Inter-planting marigold with crops helps in repelling pests such as ants, caterpillars, cutworms and nematodes
Marigold with chili pepper: Take 500g of the whole marigold plant and 10 hot chili pods. Soak in 15litres of water and leave overnight. In the morning, dilute in the ratio of 1:2 with water. Add 1 teaspoon of soapy water per litre of the extract. Useful in managing aphids, (Colorado) beetles, grasshoppers, grubs, locust, scales, snails, thrips, weevils, whiteflies.
Neem/ Azadirachta indica
Neem leaves, fruits, seeds, bark and roots have insecticidal, anti-feed and pest growth inhibiting qualities. The tree takes minerals from deep within the soil.
Anti-feed: Neem repellent does not kill pests immediately, but after tasting it they stop eating and eventually die.
- Make a solution from the Neem seed cake powder. Use 500g (three handfuls) of Neem powder and mix it with 10 litres of water and bar soap. Soak it for 12 hours and stir it regularly. Then spread it out on the crops, not forgetting underneath the leaves. Spread it twice a week particularly when pests are rampant.
When there are fewer pests, spread every 7 to 10 days. However, don’t spray four days before harvesting. This is used on all vegetables to control all pests.
- Mix Neem leaves with the crop to be stored. These leaves can also be laid between books or clothes.
- Mix Neem powder with sawdust and termite clay. Put the mixture in a funnel and throw it in the heart of the maize plant.
The rain will spray it. Repeat every eight days. This will help in containing the maize stalkborer.
- Use this method 10 to 15 days before sowing seeds or planting seedlings. Make the soil loose with a rake. Mix 2kg of Neem powder (eight handfuls) with 10 litres of water. NO SOAP. Leave it overnight. Stir it regularly and apply it the next morning with a watering can on the loosened soil. This helps in killing nematodes in the soil.
- Use 50g of Neem powder per 1 litre of water. Stir for 10 minutes and add bar soap. For the next six hours keep stirring regularly. Before applying stir for 10 minutes. Spray early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Dip banana suckers overnight in this solution before planting to avoid attacks from the banana weevils.
- Extract Neem oil from seeds or bark by using a pestle and mortar. Smear seeds with this oil to curb aphids and whiteflies. The oil can also be used to cure skin diseases and is equally good for rheumatism.
Onions, Garlic and Leeks
Useful against many pests, especially: ants, aphids, armyworms, caterpillars and codling moths. Crush leaves or bulbs of the plants, mix in water and allow to stand for two to three days. Filter and dilute in an equal amount of soapy water. Apply on the crops as a spray. These plants have a strong smell, which repel most pests. Intercrop with tomatoes and carrots against carrot fly.
Pyrethrum kills most insects including mealy bugs. Boil about half a kilo of pyrethrum flowers in four litres of water to make a ‘strong solution’. Leave to cool and filter. Dilute with an equal amount of soapy water. Apply or spray directly on pests over affected plants. Spray late in the afternoon to avoid killing useful insects, eg bees. Dry flowers and grind to a powder and dust over insect pests.
Red peppers and Chilli peppers
Ants, aphids, beetles, caterpillars, cutworms, slugs, snails, mealy bugs, white flies. Crush a handful of pepper fruits (100 gr.) and add 1 l. of water. Leave for one to three days or boil for 20 minutes. Dilute the mixture in an equal amount of soapy water made by using bar soap. Filter and spray on the crops. Apply powdered chillies around the base of crops to repel pests.
Aphids and thrips. Boil water and put the leaves of the rhubarb into the water. Leave it to cool down. Spray by adding 1:3lt of water. Use against soft bodied insects.
Collect about 50-100 ripe Sodom apple fruits. Extract the juice by squeezing the pierced fruit in 2lt. of water. Then spray immediately. Note: Sodom apple extracts cause irritation so avoid skin contact. Do not spray natural enemies. Put a stick in the apple and then press it in the ground between the pumpkins. The insects which attack the pumpkin flowers, will be attracted to the apple and suck the juice. They will die.
This is a fungicide and contains a lot of iron. Use against ants, aphids, armyworms, caterpillars, cutworms, slugs, snails and thrips Take 500 gr. of the plant and 10 hot chilli pods. Soak them in 15lts of water.
Leave them in water for a night. The next morning dilute 1:2 with water. Add 1 teaspoon of soap per litre of the extract. Apply the solution as a general spray.
Sun hemp is a trap plant
Plant in a field known to have nematodes. Its roots produce a substance which attracts nematodes and traps them.
Tobacco is poisonous because of its nicotine content. Care must therefore be taken when using it. Against beetles, cabbage worms, caterpillars, cutworms, maize stalk borers, mealy bugs, slugs, snails, thrips.
Crush a handful of fresh leaves (250gs) and add 4litres of water. Boil for 20 min. and allow to cool. Filter and dilute the liquid with 5 equal parts of soapy water. Use as a spray. Crops should only be harvested after 4 days from spraying. Alternatively, crush tobacco leaves to form a powder which can be dusted on plant leaves. Tobacco leaves can also be placed below the crops as mulch to kill or repel pests.
Tobacco should not be used on crops of the same family, e.g. tomatoes, Irish potatoes, egg plants etc.
Cabbage butterflies, caterpillars. Crush a handful of tomato leaves and add 2 litres of water. Leave to stand for 5 hours, filter and add an equal amount of soapy water. Spray the crops every 2 days. Scatter tomato leaf/stem prunings in cabbage garden or intercrop tomatoes with cabbage.