Tips for Making Your Own Turmeric Pesticides & Insecticides

Make your own safe bug spray with turmeric.

Quick and handy tips:

  • Combine 4 milliliters (about ¼ tablespoon) of mustard oil with 20 grams (about 4 teaspoons) of dry turmeric powder per every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of rice to keep common pests away. Turmeric alone is over 63% effective at inhibiting insect reproduction; when mixed with mustard oil, effectiveness rises to over 92%. (xii.6)
  • To keep wheat grain (e.g., burghul) bug-free add 1.75 teaspoons (generously measured) of turmeric powder. (xii.6)
  • Do you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove? Try combining the wood ash with turmeric powder to prevent and treat powdery mildew on plants. Use a ratio of 4.5 pounds of turmeric to 10 pounds of ash and sprinkle over plants early in the morning. (xii.21)
  • If your plants have blackened stems with leaves and flowers that are starting to dry out, they could be suffering from bacterial blight. Try spraying them with a solution of water mixed with 10 parts of turmeric powder with 1 part baking soda once a week. To get the proper concentration of 1.5% for 1 liter of water, you will need 15 grams  of turmeric and 1.5 grams  of baking soda. (xii.22-23)
  • Try adding turmeric essential oil to an herbal skin cream — clinical trials show that turmeric is as effective as DEET in repelling mosquitos and black flies. (xii.20)
  • For medicinal purposes, black pepper significantly increases the bioavailability of turmeric. Turns out the two combined can also wipe out cutworm larvae. They are often found on plants they like to eat, such as Chinese cabbage and sweet potato. (xii.3, 11, 24)

Treat Bug Bites with Turmeric

Apply a paste made from equal amounts of turmeric and sandalwood powder (mixed with water) to relieve bug bites.

Natural Pesticide Sheets for Organic Gardening

In Israel, an agricultural researcher developed biofilm sheets made with turmeric oil as a natural insect repellant. Originally the BioPack film was designed to package dry foods (e.g., cereal) and prevent insect infestation safely — but consumers disliked turmeric's strong odor. Now the company makes large sheets of the turmeric-laced film that farms lay on the ground before planting. In studies on crops such as zucchini and watermelon, the turmeric biofilm sheets proved to be 100% effective in repelling all harmful pests. (xii.25)

Turmeric "Persian" Powder

Want to make a turmeric substitute for Persian powder — one of the first "green" pesticides?
Try mixing these ingredients:

  • ½ ounce wheat flour
  • 8 ounces powdered wormwood
  • 1 ounce tannin
  • 8 ounces turmeric
  • ¼ tablespoon tansy oil
  • ¼ tablespoon eucalyptus oil
Use as you would any granular pesticide.
Santalum album(ii.15)
Eucalyptus globulus(ii.15)
You can find mustard oil online or at specialty gourmet food shops.
Also called bulghur wheat
About 2 quarts
1 tablespoon.
Approximately ⅓ teaspoon

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