When bugs infest houseplants, they cause the plants to wilt or drop their leaves, as well as make the home feel dirty. If you don’t want to add handling dangerous chemicals to your list of problems, there is a choice. Create your own natural homemade bug killer.
When bugs infest your houseplants, they don’t just stay beside the plants. They can spread throughout your home. The most common problem insects, such as fungus gnats or thrips, aren’t a danger to your family. They don’t bite or spread disease. They are irritating, moving outward from an infected to plant to hover around lamps, windows or congregating by your kitchen sink. Because they infest houseplants, it is more likely that whatever you use to get rid of them affects your family members. Using a natural bug killer can prevent accidental poisoning.
Start by chopping up two or three large hot peppers. Put them in a glass bowl and bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Pour the water over the peppers and let them sit until the water is cool, and then pour the contents of the bowl into a spray bottle. The peppers infuse the water to capsaicin, the compound that gives them their heat. Capsaicin oil penetrates an insect’s body, burning and killing it. Store the solution in a cool, dark area.
First, vigorously shake the spray bottle mixing the contents. Spray the solution directly on the problem bugs. It kills them on contact. Lightly spray it over infested plants. The solution also works as a repellent, keeping them away from the plants that sustain their lifecycles. Use the spray whenever you see insects. Reapply it to plants every five days until the infestation clears.
This homemade bug killing solution is nontoxic, but can cause skin or eye irritation with direct contact. Don’t spray it at another person or at a pet. Houseplants are often easier to treat if moved outside to a porch or patio. This reduces the risk that the bugs will infest other plants inside your home. If you have any of the mixture left after four weeks, dispose of it. It loses potency after a month.
- “How to Be Successful with Houseplants from the Plant's Perspective” Jane Perry;” 2008
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images