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Safe, Effective, Almost-Free Bug Spray


A few days ago, my husband came inside asking, “What do we do for tent caterpillars?”  He was worried because one of our apple trees was covered with them. 


Well, first of all, I should be inspecting our trees every day or two.  This is no chore, since the trees are so beautiful and it is a pleasant little walk.  I should also be inspecting our entire garden every day, not just the little area I’m working on that day…and I should walk around it even on rainy days.  It is very important to find plant bugs and diseases early rather than late, but even though I know that it is difficult to remember to do it.  Sigh.


Aside from these inspection tours, what can I do about those tent caterpillars…and about the cutworms threatening our brassica (cabbage family) seedlings as soon as they come up, and about the asparagus beetles we will get again this year?


Well, several years ago, a local newspaper gave us a wonderful recipe. 


25 ml (~1T + 2t) molasses

1.5 l (~6c) hot water

10 ml (~2t) liquid dish soap


-mix the molasses and hot water well

-add the dish soap

-pour into a spray bottle (e.g from the dollar store)

-spray thoroughly


We have used this successfully for cabbage butterfly larvae,  asparagus beetles,  cutworms (although we’ll be sprinkling cornmeal around, too, this year),  and tent caterpillars.  The tent caterpillars need their tents torn open as well.  We do this with our hand in a plastic bag, and then we turn the bag inside out, tie it tightly shut and put it in the garbage.


Our bug spray recipe does not harm the plants at all, and after a good rinsing to remove the soap, vegetables are perfectly safe to eat.  We have never tried it on flowers, however, and it may discolour the petals.


Happy gardening!


If you are interested in other frugal tips, check out Tightwad Tuesdays with Canada Girl.


On Thursday I’ll share what I learned about an often-neglected but crucial factor in the life of a high school student.  It greatly influences learning, creativity, and moods … and it affects moms as well.  Curious?  See you on Thursday for Tea Time with Annie Kate!


God bless you all. 



  1. solidrock says:

    Oh thank you! We have problems with these pest and I will not use pesticides of the unnatural nature.

  2. Canadagirl says:

    Hi sweet friend !

    Better late than never. I love your tip. I need to show this to my hubby and MIL. We have one that we need to take care of. I hope to get around commenting as I can. I love all your wonderful tips. I am learning lots from you.

    Praying blessings and ((hugs)) on your Lord's Day

    In Him<><


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