Bob Vila Radio: The Secret Solution to Your Garden Pest Problem

Get rid of the bad pests in your garden without harming the good guys. Learn more about the benefits of using insecticidal soap in the garden.

If garden pests are bugging you, but you’d rather not nuke them with toxic chemicals, maybe you should give insecticidal soaps a try.

Insecticidal Soaps For Garden

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Listen to BOB VILA ON INSECTICIDAL SOAPS or read below:

Rather than noxious chemicals, they rely on so-called “soap salts” to keep the bugs at bay. Soap salts are formed when natural alkali compounds are mixed with fatty acids found in natural oils, such as castor oil, coconut oil, or olive oil.

Insecticidal soaps kill soft-bodied insects— such as aphids, mealy bugs, and mites—on contact, but they won’t harm hard-bodied beneficial insects like ladybugs and beetles. Plus, they leave no residual toxins either on your plants or in the soil. One catch, though: Insecticidal soaps only work when they’re wet.

They come pre-mixed or in concentrated form. Check ingredients carefully. True insecticidal soaps will list either “potassium salts of fatty acids” or “potassium laurate” as ingredients. If you choose a concentrate, be sure to follow mixing directions so you don’t harm your plants.

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