Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association

A Non-Toxic Japanese Beetle Spray

05/22/2017 3:56 PM | James Buratti TOFGA Secretary (Administrator)

By David Wall

Japanese beetles Every year, numerous horticulturalists and gardeners get angry when Japanese beetles start eating their roses and vegetable plants, particularly cucumbers and grapes. So, it’s off to the store for anything that’ll kill or repel the pesky critters. The problem with such a tactic is the spray may very well kill a lot more than the intended victims (as in beneficial insects) and spray remnants can get into the underground water table.

There is, however, an all natural spray you can make yourselves. All it requires is a small effort and time. You need several pieces of eastern red cedar wood, a five gallon bucket, water, and a brick or something similar. A smaller bucket will work, but the five gallon bucket gives you a lot more spray.

First, gather 5-10 pieces (you can add more) of red cedar wood a couple inches wide and several inches long. These pieces will be smaller if you’re using a smaller bucket. Place them in the bucket. Now, the literature varies a little here, so choose your option. You can fill the bucket with hot water plus a gallon or so of boiling water, or you can fill the bucket with boiling water. At least some boiling water is needed to start pulling cedar oils out of the wood. Put the brick or other weight on top of the wood pieces to keep them from floating on top of the water.

Now, except for stirring the mixture 3-4 times a day, you just sit back and wait. After 36 or preferably 48 hours, remove the wood, strain out any loose particles of dirt, and pour some of the “cedar” water into a spray bottle. Spray on your infected plants and watch beetles/bugs flee the country!!! Reapply every few days or after a good rain.


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