All Natural Bug Spray For Our Garden

by DeeDee
Today i discovered this big meany and two of his buddies on the tomato plants. Does anyone know of something natural and non chemical we can spray on the plants to keep these guys and others away?
all natural bug spray for our garden, gardening, pest control, Big horned tomato worm YUCK
Big horned tomato worm! YUCK!
  36 answers
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jun 22, 2013
    I would get some Bt. (it is a stain of Bacillius bacteria used to kill some insects) This is a chemical free way to rid some pests

  • Caley's Culinaries Caley's Culinaries on Jun 22, 2013
    Yep. Bt. We use Dipel brand. It kills cabbage lopers and squash borers and those green worms that eat the basil. What you have there is a tomato horn worm. They can eat the whole plant in a day. Better get crackin'!

  • Genie Jennings Genie Jennings on Jun 22, 2013
    It is a tomato worm, and the adult looks like a cross between a hummingbird and a moth. It is a horn-something. I have never found a good repellant, just pick them off and kill them. There are some wasps that lay eggs in them and that kills them. If you find any that have what look like larva on the top, that is the wasps' work. They eat the tomatoes as well as the leaves...just chew a bunch of one and move on. They will totally strip a 'branch' of its leaves.

  • DeeDee DeeDee on Jun 22, 2013
    Thanks @KMS Woodworks, @Caley's Culinaries and @Genie Jennings! I was hoping there would be a household product or concoction I could use. Yes, I plucked them off the plants and squished them, they have green blood by the way! Eeew!

  • Nancy Hand Nancy Hand on Jun 22, 2013
    Just pick them off! Look under the leaves to find his friends. :)

  • Sharron Pittenger Sharron Pittenger on Jun 23, 2013
    salt will kill them Pick them off and sprinkle. Or just mash them.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 23, 2013
    Bt is the way to go if you don't want to pick them. Unlike some household concoction, which might hurt beneficial insects as well as the tomato caterpillar, Bt only affects caterpillars.

  • Mary Thorne Mary Thorne on Jun 23, 2013
    These turn into hummingbird moths. They're really cool, large moths. Too bad they love tomato plants as much as we do.

  • Frankie Laney Frankie Laney on Jun 23, 2013
    I've used the BT before, it's going to be your best bet. Other than hand picking and quite frankly, I can't stand to touch those little buggers!!

    • Kathleen Hoover Kathleen Hoover on Sep 01, 2020

      I use neem oil and always plant a lot of marigolds. I also sprinkle DE to kill the snails. Hardly any bug or snails this year!

  • Linda Stroney Linda Stroney on Jun 23, 2013
    My husband always picks them off, by the time you get around to spraying them, they have eaten a lot.

  • DeeDee DeeDee on Jun 23, 2013
    Thanks to all who've replied, I think we'll just keep picking them off for now. So far, no more have turned up.

  • Barbara Sherman Barbara Sherman on Jun 23, 2013
    I use a few drops of lemon dish soap and water...spray the plant....I have used this for years and it helps...once in a while one sneaks by

  • Karen Smith Karen Smith on Jun 24, 2013
    Would Dawn liquid soap mix with water and spray work?

  • Peggy Davis Peggy Davis on Jun 24, 2013
    I bet it would if it comes in Lemon.

  • Kat =^.^= Kat =^.^= on Jun 24, 2013
    Hey that big meany's brother was at my house today! I just "cut" off the piece he was eating and dropped in in a bag! lol I didnt know they (the meany's) are in the seeds! ick! anyway I hate these guys but he AND the birds had a field day this weekend! :( good luck! PS then there is always the shovel! lol

  • DeeDee DeeDee on Jun 24, 2013
    LOL! Thanks @Kat =^.^= !!

  • Wendy M Wendy M on Jun 24, 2013
    I fill a can with water and lemon dish liquid and drop them into it. I can't stand squishing them and I don't like spraying anything on my plants if I don't have to. Good Luck!

  • Rich Rich on Jun 25, 2013
    My father and next door neighbor used a powder called Rotenone. It's organic and you sprinkle it on the plants on both sides. When it rains it washes off and goes into the ground and becomes fertilizer.

  • DeeDee DeeDee on Jun 25, 2013
    Thanks @!

  • April E April E on Jun 26, 2013
    but rotenone is a broad spectrum insecticide and will also kill benificial insects and is not good for fish either I don't know who told you it is organic but the organic gardening forum say not to use it the bt in either dipel dust or thuricide spray is considered organic as it is a biological that only effects worms you spray it on and if a worm feeds on a sprayed area the bt causes its digestive system to bind up but will not do anything to the plant the fruit other insects animals or humans

    • Catherine Smith Catherine Smith on Jul 05, 2014
      @April E Rotenone is an organic pesticide, however, just because it's labeled organic does not mean it is not toxic. This stuff is the "nuke' in an organic gardener's arsenel and should only be used as a last resort for a really bad infestation. Bt is specific for worms and will do the job just fine.

  • DeeDee DeeDee on Jun 26, 2013
    Thank you so much @April E!!

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jun 26, 2013
    A little more info on Rotenone from Wiki Rotenone is classified by the World Health Organization as moderately hazardous.[14] It is mildly toxic to humans and other mammals, but extremely toxic to insects and aquatic life, including fish. This higher toxicity in fish and insects is because the lipophilic rotenone is easily taken up through the gills or trachea, but not as easily through the skin or the gastrointestinal tract. Rotenone is toxic to erythrocytes in vitro. [15]The lowest lethal dose for a child is 143 mg/kg. Human deaths from rotenone poisoning are rare because its irritating action causes vomiting.[16] Deliberate ingestion of rotenone can be fatal.[17]The compound decomposes when exposed to sunlight and usually has a lifetime of six days in the environment.[18] In water, rotenone may last six months.[citation needed]Parkinson's disease[edit]In 2000, injecting rotenone into rats was reported to cause the development of symptoms similar to those of Parkinson's disease (PD). Rotenone was continuously applied over a period of five weeks, mixed with DMSO and PEG to enhance tissue penetration, and injected into the jugular vein.[19] The study does not directly suggest rotenone exposure is responsible for PD in humans, but is consistent with the belief that chronic exposure to environmental toxins increases the likelihood of the disease.[20]In addition, studies with primary cultures of rat neurons and microglia have shown low doses of rotenone (below 10 nM) induce oxidative damage and death of dopaminergic neurons,[21] and it is these neurons in the substantia nigra that die in Parkinson's disease. Another study has also described toxic action of rotenone at low concentrations (5 nM) in dopaminergic neurons from acute rat brain slices.[22]This toxicity was exacerbated by an additional cell stressor - elevated intracellular calcium concentration - adding support to the 'multiple hit hypothesis' of dopaminergic neuron death.The neurotoxin MPTP had been known earlier to cause PD-like symptoms (in humans and other primates, though not in rats) by interfering with Complex I in the electron transport chain and killing dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. However, further studies involving MPTP have failed to show development of Lewy bodies, a key component to PD pathology. Therefore, the mechanism behind MPTP as it relates to Parkinson's disease is not fully understood.[23] Because of these developments, rotenone was investigated as a possible Parkinson-causing agent. Both MPTP and rotenone are lipophilic and can cross the blood–brain barrier.In 2010, a study was published detailing the progression of Parkinson's-like symptoms in mice following chronic intragastric ingestion of low doses of rotenone. The concentrations in the central nervous system were below detectable limits, yet still induced PD pathology.[24]In 2011, a US National Institutes of Health study showed a link between rotenone use and Parkinson's disease in farm workers.[25]

  • Georgianna Hughes Georgianna Hughes on Jun 27, 2013
    PLANT marigolds around your tomato plants. .... you can also make a mixture of Dawn dish soap and water and spray it on your plants.

  • DeeDee DeeDee on Jun 27, 2013
    Oh WOW @KMS Woodworks, thank you for that! @Georgianna Hughes, we do have marigolds planted, but I guess they don't bother the little meanies!

  • Liz C Liz C on Jul 13, 2013
    They are usually in the soil you buy your tomato plant in and hatch. So they probably didn't just show up. That's why the marigolds didn't work. They were already living there. You don't notice them until they eat enough.

  • Liz C Liz C on Jul 13, 2013
    Oh, and I like April E's garlic pepper tea

  • DeeDee DeeDee on Jul 13, 2013
    Oh I never knew that @Liz C. Thanks for that.

  • Shirley Jones Shirley Jones on Jul 04, 2014
    I planted dill and basil in the same area as my tomatoes this year. I understand they are great deterrents to tomato worms. So far it seems to be working!! .

  • Maggie Maggie on Jul 05, 2014
    Hand picking daily and dropping into dish soap water is the best way to go...I wear gloves for this process :0)

  • Dorothy Dorothy on Jul 06, 2014 This is some good info.... turns out these big (rather pretty when you look at and with diagonal slash marks and those impressive "horns") nasty tomato eating things are the caterpillar form of the hummingbird moth which is a fascinating critter...a daytime moth that is nearly hummingbird size and has the same flight characteristics and long nectar sipping tongue. Not happy to find them on the tomatoes but one thing you can do in the future is plant one or two fairly common type tomatoes (indeterminants that will grow all summer) a week or two earlier than your others and at some distance away from your main plantings....sort of a distraction/sacrifice plant...let any hornworms that show up on it stay...and move any you find on your main plantings to those sacrifice plants rather than destroy them. That way the moths and you and your tomatoes live in relative harmony. (same sacrifice plant strategy works with squash plants for the problem bugs with them).

  • Deb Deb on Jul 06, 2014
    Pick them off and use for fishing bait. They work GREAT

  • Patti Nicholas Patti Nicholas on Jul 06, 2014
    Marigolds do actually work once they are blooming, the scent of the flowers confuses the bugs, in the mean time, we spray the leaves with soapy water, but we only use castile soap since it is vegetable based and has no chemicals like most (yes even blue Dawn) dish soaps. We also sprinkle food grade diatomaceous earth around all our vegies and most flowers as well to prevent soft bodied insects like tomato horn worms and cabbage worms, but be careful because that can also damage earth worms.

  • Linda Hinchey Linda Hinchey on Aug 19, 2014
    Btk is an organic solution to caterpillars. It won't harm bees, either! Here is a link that talks about it...

  • Terry Berich Terry Berich on Oct 27, 2018

    Tobacco dust works great

  • Barbara Burnett Barbara Burnett on Apr 09, 2019

    Use 1/4 cup blue Dawn dish washing soap to 1/2 gallon of water and spray the leaves all over.