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The ecosystem in your garden is a beautiful thing, and a nice balance of plant, animal and insect life can make for a beautiful place to be.

You can run into problems, however, if you’ve got some insects that are a little bit too keen to enjoy the party. Insect pests are a part of every garden to some degree, and how you deal with them can be the difference between maintaining that healthy equilibrium, or letting the little terrors run riot through your backyard.

At first sight of a potential problem, it can be tempting to bolt out to your nearest gardening store and fill you cart with bottles of commercial pesticide. And that sort of attack will certainly do the job – that’s why the concoctions were invented.

But you may be interested in trying something a little more salt-of-the-earth. There are a host of potential pesticides that may be sitting on your pantry and cleaning cupboard ready to go. It’s just a matter of getting the know-how.

Here are 4 easily made pesticides that may just do the trick in your backyard.

Insecticidal Soap Spray

What you need:

Spray Bottle
1 ½ tablespoons of liquid soap
1 litre of water
A couple of drops of lemon or orange essential oil

An easy spray to whip up and keep lying around, this natural pesticide works great for your most common garden pests, such as aphids and mites. It acts to suffocate the insects by covering their skin, eventually killing them. The added citrus oil – while being a great ant insecticide in its own right – help the spray adhere to the plants and insects.

Simply combine all the ingredients in the spray bottle and shake well. Once mixed, spray your plants thoroughly, ensuring you cover the underside of the leaves as well. For best results, and to ensure no damage to your plants, use biodegradable liquid soap.

All-Purpose Chilli Garlic Spray

What you need:

A measuring jug (or something similar)
The insecticidal soap spray mentioned above
1 tablespoon of chilli powder
5 crushed garlic cloves
For a more well-rounded spray that, on top of the pests that the standard soap spray deals with, will also do well against slugs, beetles and leafhoppers, this chilli garlic recipe is just the ticket.

Combine all the ingredients into a measuring jug (or any receptacle with a spout at the top) and allow it to sit overnight. The next day strain away any chunks that haven’t dissolved and pour into a spray bottle. Again, a thorough coating covering the entire plant is the way to go. The mixture will be good to use for up to a fortnight.

Anti-Fungal Spray

What you need:

1 tablespoon of baking soda
½ tablespoon of oil
2 litres of warm water
This spray is great for plants with fungal diseases. There’s nothing worse than when you see your beautiful plants and veggies breaking out into unsightly spots. If you spot a breakout, act as quickly as possible.

Add the baking soda and the oil (vegetable or canola is fine) to 250ml of the warm water, and stir until all of the baking soda has dissolved. Dilute the concentrate into the rest of the warm water. Before spraying the plant, remove any of the severely affected leaves. Spray your solution every few days until the spots disappear. It’s best to make this mixture as you need it.

Slug and Snail Bath

What you need:

A can of beer
A shallow bowl
For snail and slug infestations, it can be as easy as offering them a drink! The slimy customers are quite fond of a beer – more specifically the yeast within – and can’t resist the offer if someone else is shouting.

Simply fill a little bowl with the least tasty beer in your fridge, and leave it near your leafy, snail and slug attracting plants. The waft of a fresh brew will have them rolling in from everywhere. Be sure to place the bowl in a shaded area to avoid evaporation.