Gardening Hints for May

  • Bugs and beasties part II

Last week I mentioned using an insecticide called Bt spray. It contains Bacillus thuringiensis which is toxic to pests but won’t harm bees; they’re immune according to Most shop-bought chemical sprays, even some of the ones purporting to be organic, kill bees. Homemade insecticides can sometimes be harmful too so what is the solution? Well recommends using a solution of kaolin clay sprayed onto the stems and leaves (avoiding the flowers) which dries to form a film. Kaolin clay (also called China clay or White clay) is available on some online shopping sites. Neem oil is highly effective at repelling a variety of pests such as aphids and greenfly as well as some fungal diseases. Epsom salts are completely safe, nontoxic and bee-friendly in addition to being rich in magnesium. Sprinkled around the base of plants, they are effective at keeping slugs and snails away, or mixed with water and used as a spray they will deter beetles. Pure soap (also called Castile soap) is a very effective pesticide when mixed with water and some essential oils such as rosemary, eucalyptus or peppermint in a solution will also deter hungry insects.