The Witch’s Cupboard

Herbal Insecticides

Natural Herbal Insecticides

This page is designed to help with bug control safely. Man-made
insecticides is burning up the very Earth we hold so dear to our
survival. The more that is made, the more the bugs become immune. Then
man makes stronger pesticides.

We eat these pesticides in and on our food, we drink water from the run
offs that are seeping into the ground. And at this time there is more
health problems then there ever has been. It tends to make you wonder!

House and Garden Natural Insecticide

2 tablespoons liquid soap
1 quart water
Spray bottle

Mix soap and water; add to spray bottle; spray plants evenly, aiming directly at pests whenever possible.

All-Purpose Insecticide

1 bulb of garlic
1 small onion
1 tablespoon cayenne (red) pepper
2 tablespoons liquid soap
1 quart water
Spray bottle

Finely chop onion and garlic; mix with tap water; add cayenne pepper;
let sit for one hour, then add soap. Mix well. When foam subsides,
strain into spray bottle. Keep refrigerated. Good for 1-2 weeks.


Orange peels
Grapefruit peels
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon rosemary, (optional)
1 pint water

Combine ingredients in blender; blend until liquified. Heat mixture on
low heat for 15 minutes. Strain liquid into spray bottle. Spray on pet,
and massage thoroughly into your pet’s coat, avoiding their eyes.

Note: Feed your pet brewers yeast and garlic, as a diet supplement.
Vacuum furniture and carpet frequently (store vacuum outside of home–in
shed or garage–during problem periods); clean your pet’s favorite
sleeping spots regularly and sprinkle with fennel, rue or rosemary. .


The most effective insecticide that instantly kills flying and crawling
insects on contact but does no harm to mammals or birds is the dried
and crushed flowers of the Pyrethrum Plant. This brown powder will kill
or stun the insects the moment it touches them but does no harm to pets
when sprinkled on their coats. This member of the daisy family is a
beautiful ornamental and will compliment any garden or flower bed. While
very effective, the dried powder only lasts for a few days. You can
prolong its use throughout the year by freezing fresh flower heads in
zip-lock bags and drying and crushing them as needed

Cedar Oil

Try a cedar oil spray. I get it at PetSmart & use it on the dogs,
cats & kids – it may seem a bit pricey but one bottle lasts for
awhile. There may be another source for it among herbal shops, natural
food stores, etc. One tip for anyone using it for fleas – it’s a
REPELLANT and works best if used before you see any fleas. If you’ve
already got fleas, the same company makes a shampoo.

Marigolds in the Yard

There are several things to do when trying to protect yourself and kids
from those nasty bugs in the yard during the summer. One thing to do is
plant marigolds around the yard, the flowers give off a smell that bugs
do not like, so plant some in that garden also to help ward off bugs
without using insecticides.
Try putting a bounce dryer sheet on your belt or in your sock, the sheet will mask your smell and ward off the bugs.

Marine’s Choice

I don’t know how “organic” you want to go, or if it’s just DEET you’re
trying to avoid. But here in Jacksonville, NC, home of Camp Lejeune
Marine Corps Base, our “tough guy” Marines who spend a great deal of
time “camping out” say that the very best mosquito repellant you can use
is Avon Skin-So-Soft bath oil mixed about half and half with alcohol.
I’ve tried it, and I have to admit it works just as well if not better
than the commercial sprays. Actually, I just saw an ad on TV this week
for Avon’s own Skin-So-Soft insect repellant. I’m assuming it’s made
about the same way — but it may turn out to be less expensive in the
long run to mix your own. An added plus — it smells great too.

Homemade Recipe

20 drops Eucalyptus oil

20 drops Cedarwood oil

10 drops Tea Tree oil

10 drops Geranium oil

2 oz. carrier oil ( such as Jojoba )

Mix together in a 4 oz. container. Apply to skin as needed avoiding the
eye area. Keep out of reach of children. Test on a small area of skin
for sensitivities . Experiment with different percentages of essential


One of the best natural insect repellants that I’ve discovered is made
from the clear real vanilla (not the grocery store vanilla extract which
is mostly alcohol). This is the pure vanilla that is sold in Mexico.
It’s cheap there if you know of someone that lives there or in the US
close to the border. If not, health food stores usually carry it or can
order it for you. I use it half vanilla and half water and find that it
works great for mosquitoes and ticks, don’t know about other insects.
It’s nice that you don’t smell like a chemical plant but a cookie! I
cannot use chemical insecticides, so I love the way this works and I
hope you and your kids will also.

from HGTV

I am testing a preparation suggested by HGTV’s Paul James. “Finely chop
a dozen garlic cloves into 4 ounces of mineral oil. Soak for a day or
2, strain it and add 4 drops of dishwasher liquid. Dilute with half cup
of water and pour into sprayer.” I used a coffee filter to strain it
(sort of messy) and it smells out loud. So far I have used it on two
plants and it appears non-damaging. Incidentally, I planted garlic
cloves next to each rose bush and that appears to have repelled insects.
That is a widely known practice, I gather. Incidentally, I use old soap
and garden spray bottles with no harmful residue.

Catnip Concoction

Make your own by filling a quart jar with some herbs from the mint
family – catnip, spearmint, pennyroyal and then cover with apple cider
vinegar. Shake twice a day for 2 weeks. Strain and either rub on or
spray on.

Bug-Proof Your Yard

There are many insect repellents that contain ‘pyrethum’ which is
actually a natural extract of the marigold plant. It is very safe for
use around children and pets but it is quite expensive.
You may also want to regularly spray your plants and grass with a soap
and water solution. This will have 3 effects: 1) it will dehydrate most
bugs and kill them without chemicals, 2) it will help to keep your grass
and plants clean of pollution and make them healthier and 3) it will
soften your soil which mean you won’t have to water as much.
Use a hose-end sprayer filled with 1 cup of any cheap dishwashing soap
for your grass or 1 tablespoon of soap in a hand-held sprayer for your


Mosquitoes are very sensitive to certain scents, Chamomile and
Citriodora especially. Both are easy to grow and both are used in dry
flower arrangements. Citriodora is also used in potpourri. To make The
Great Mosquito Repellent, take one oz. of green leaves from both plants
and boil in a gallon of water. Strain and place in the refrigerator.
Before going outside, splash the mixture liberally over your face and
exposed parts of your body. You will enjoy the fresh, citrus smell but
the mosquitoes will stay far away.

Paint Sticks.
To repels bugs from your plants, Pick up paint sticks from your paint
store. You can get them for free. Spray paint them florescent yellow.
Then spray them with a spray adhesive. Put near all your plants. The
bugs will be attracted to the color, they will fly or crawl on the
sticks and get stuck!