Insecticidal Soaps – What is it & How to use it

Do you know what an insecticidal soap is? Does it differ from regular soap? Insecticidal soaps are specifically formulated to have insect-killing properties, while being safe for most plants. All regular soaps are made with a long chain of fatty acids.

Insecticidal soaps kill susceptible insects by washing away the protective coating on the surface of the insect and by disrupting normal membrane functions inside the insect. The insects must come into direct contact with the spray droplets for the material to be effective. Good coverage is essential and doesn’t affect your health.

The soaps have no residual activity toward insects. Note that repeated applications can sometimes have damaging effects on some types of plants. I normally dilute the insecticidal soap by matching the contents with water.

As with all pesticides, you should always follow label instructions carefully. Remember, with insecticidal soap, make sure you spray the insects. Spraying the leaves will not provide as a protective agent.

This is an organic way of controlling pests. More and more growers are turning to chemical free every growing season. Just remember, as with any chemical, too much is never good. Be sure to always follow the directions. Diluting is a good way to maintain, but on the side of caution.

Between my husband and I, unknowingly, we sprayed our potato plants in the spring with insecticidal soap for approximately four days out of a total of seven because the Colorado potato beetle was so prevalent. I didn’t know he sprayed and he didn’t know I had been spraying. Well, can you guess what happened? Our pretty potato plants went to potato heaven.

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Happy Gardening from the Master Gardener Girl!!

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One Response

  1. I am looking for an organic homemade recipe to make an insecticide to take care of our ant problems. We have children and I want to find something that will keep them safe as well as take care of our ant situation. Please let me know what you would recommend.

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