Nov 1, 2012

Homemade Pesticides

warning: post ni dalam english. ampun ye.

Yesterday night, a friend of mine went on a cockroach (!) tour at the Science Museum. Being superbly sick as I am, I was unable to join him. Teasing him about fnding ridsect andsoforth reminded me of a mini project I made my students do during my year as a lecturer.

The title of the mini project is Homemade Pesticide (oh, fyi, the course was Chemicals in Agriculture). So what they have to do is try to find something (household items, etc) that can be made into pesticides.

Basically my students did a wonderful job. Even my beloved big boss (a.k.a the dean) loved the project so much. And this mini project truly helped them during their final exam, i kid you not. So hereby I assert that rather than emphasizing on theories and lectures, focusing more on hands on and practical works are so much better in guiding students to achieve the course outcome. :D (psst: that class achieve a beautiful bell graph for their marks)

Okay back to the topic. There are numerous items that you can turn into pesticides in your homes. Though we have to purify it at some point (which my students didn't do), and we have to test the potency of each substances (they didn't have time for it), their tests showed that most of them works. Though some smelled really bad, I think the insects will run away based on the smell itself. :p

1) capsaicin (pepper/cili)

This is an excellent source for a pesticide. What they did was they blended these, filter it and use the liquid. I really can't remember the exact aliquot, or water to capsaicin ratio. And i also don't actually remember if they checked the effect on plants, will it burn? i have no idea. but well, basically it works, so maybe needs to purify and adjust the concentration.

2) lemongrass (serai wangi)

Lemongrass or Cymbopogon is a natural insect repellent.  If i remember correctly there's already a commercialized product made from lemongrass in the market. I kinda don't like the smell though, I think there's added ingredient into it. But we can do it ourselves at home. As usual, just grind/blend chopped lemongrass, filter them and wallah, we can directly use it! It seems that lemongrass is good to repel flies and maybe cockroaches (you hear that, mr cockroach?). Again, the concentration plays a vital role, do be wary of too much or too little. play around with it.

3) Garlic (bawang putih)

I think this one has the worst smell among all. Garlic, or the scientifically known as Allium Sativum, is also a natural insect repellent. Well, if you ask me, its a natural human repellent as well. I think the smell alone is good enough to tell those insects (and humans!) not to come near. For this one I suggest you to try with a lower dosage, as the smell is really overpowering.

There are a few more (ginger, dioscorine, salt), but I'm running short of time. So in conclusion, there are many simple solutions for insect repellent, some of it are easily obtained. Do try them out, and let me know if it works. And to Mr Cockroach, beware!!!

Love from London,