Sunday, December 20, 2009

Organic mealy bug repellent

In the previous post I identified the Papaya mealy bug - Paracoccus Marginatus on our papaya.

So - I checked out what are the possible organic responses and found some good resources:

PAN Germany: Describes the uses of chili

Golden Harvest Organics: A list of insects and pests, and appropriate organic repellents

Canadian Country Woman: Describes various bug sprays

The Urban Gardener, and A Canadian in King Parakramabahu's Court recommend neem oil, which I haven't tried yet.

So - I decided to use chili, as we have a regularly producing organic chili plant, and garlic (from the market).

This was the harvest
organic chili garlic insect repellent

chopped up with garlic - it smelt nice! :)
organic chili garlic insect repellent

and put in a jar to steep in the sun (because I was too lazy to boil it, which would probably be more effective)
organic chili garlic insect repellent

and then I strained it, and diluted with some water and biodegradable washing up liquid. I used an old surface cleaner spray bottle (WW's idea, instead of buying a new one) to spray it on.
organic chili garlic insect repellent

One papaya was too far gone already,
papaya attacked by mealy bugs malaysia

so we pulled it up and burnt the top :( For the other ones, we first sprayed off the bugs with water, then sprayed on the repellent.

James Missier commented on a previous post that some ants can bring mealy bugs onto plants.
ants with mealy bugs papaya malaysia

I don't know if these ants brought them, but they certainly were found wherever there were mealy bugs
ants with mealy bugs papaya malaysia

I know that ants are perhaps the only other species, apart from humans, that have 'domesticated' other animals for their own purposes. And it's pretty fascinating. But not on my plants! Argh! :/
ants with mealy bugs papaya malaysia

Anyway, I'm happy to say that after spraying every two-three days for about a week, there don't seem to be any more bugs (touching wood).


Autumn Belle said...

I think putting the jar under the sun to steep the 'potion' is a brilliant idea. You are saving energy and harnessing from free energy provided by our heavenly Sun. Touch wood, the pests are gone for good this time. Have a wonderful New Year 2010!

lotusleaf said...

Chili and garlic do work wonders. You can put the residue of the chili-garlic potion at the bottom of the papaya tree to repel any more mealy bugs. I plant garlic all round my papaya trees. Wish you a fruitful New Year!

julian said...

*Autumn Belle* - hehe well that wasn't really my intention, but you have a point! :) Hope 2010 is all you want it to be :)

*lotusleaf* - Planting garlic is a good idea. But I think I overdid the chili as the tree has now died! :(

James Missier said...

I was amazed that you managed to kill all those bugs.
But you commented that your tree had died?
How? I don't think chilli could have killed it.

tim said...

I used to do this too, until I needed the chili peppers for cooking. Recently, I started using Safer End All insect spray. Check it out if you want to save some time and chili peppers:

julian said...

*James* - thanks for dropping by and sorry for not answering earlier.
Actually, we sprayed off the bugs, and removed leaves that were too infested already, and put the repellent to stop them coming back. It was not a total success, but I was not consistent putting on the repellent...

*tim* - thanks for the tip :)

Antigonum Cajan said...

I use a similar concoction with dish soup and capsicum. The proportions are
the usual. However, even when it is effective to kill white flies also,
some plants are not tolerant of it and lose their leaves...However, it does not matter since the culprit dies,and
the plant survives....
In my case I bought a spray with a filter, thus avoiding the irritating

julian said...

Thanks, I guess capiscum and chili are the same family.

I think i overdid the chili though...

Keystone Sourcing said...

I just discovered a great natural repellent for bugs. It contains cayenne pepper and paraffin wax to help the spray stick to the plants. It works great as a bug repellent and deer repellent. I have been using it in my vegetable garden and it keeps insects and rabbits from eating all my plants. I found the spray at a site called Organic Repellent.

noel said...


great post, i enjoyed reading about issues and how people solve them, organically is the best...fortunately i don't have the issue with my papayas, but i think i may use your spray on other greens that the slugs just love

julian said...

noel - thanks for dropping by, hopefully you never have to deal with mealy bugs! :)

julian said...

noel - thanks for dropping by, hopefully you never have to deal with mealy bugs! :)

Nicola Jan said...

Great idea about the organic spray. I've been having problems with mealy bugs too. They were attacking some bulbs in particular. I was so frustrated with trying to keep them off them that I took the bulbs out and soaked them in bug killer for half an hour before putting them back in a washed out pot. So far so good. What I was also interested in was your comment about the ants 'farming' them. I had wondered that myself as ants were always near them.

Lively Garden Supplies said...

I have been battling aphids with Dr Bronners soap and water (1% soap to water). I've also heard onion and garlic works.

Thanks so much for this blog - I have been searching everywhere for a trusted link to more organic insecticide websites. Cheers!

jalu said...

wohhhhh nice

Anonymous said...

Some people add a few drops of cooking oil to the chilli and soap mixture. Also good for scale insects. However, don't spray the plant when it is hot, only spray in early morning or late evening as the mixture can kill the plant. Maybe too much chilli? Ha, ha... You should prevent the ants from climbing the trees as they help to spread and nurture the bugs. Marina.

limecity said...

google up for "White oil" recipe. this is very effective in combating those stupid mealy bugs.

the white oil is basicaly a mixture of dish washing detergent, oil and water. it suffocates those bugs completely while it's still safe on your plants and doesn't cause leaf burns under the hot sun. it works. spray 3 days in a row and they all die.

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