Garden plants being treated by man for lawn pests

Garden Plants Pesticide. Caucasian Professional Gardener with Fertilizer. Seasonal Garden Maintenance.

Do you want to try natural plant based pesticides?   From cow urine, to vinegar, to various ground plant powders, this post might give you some ideas on creating your own plant based pesticides as well other historical pesticides to try. Controlling the pests in your home is important.

Humans have existed for thousands of years and so have pests.   Have you ever wondered how people dealt with pests throughout history?  

In this post I will provide examples of pesticides used over the past thousand years across the globe.  While people have used all sorts of gross and weird things to keep pests at bay, this post will focus on the more successful historical pesticides.  


There are different types of pesticides which have been used for the past thousand years.  Plants have developed defenses against pests over millions of years. Plant based pesticides take advantage of these defenses.  

Additionally, it is important to understand how complicated selecting, mixing and applying a pesticide can be.  


The chrysanthemum is not just a pretty flower.  It also contains a toxic substance for many insects.   It was noticed that insects died near crushed up chrysanthemum flowers.  

 Over the past few hundred  years it has been used as a pest deterrent and pesticide. The active ingredient is a chemical named pyrethrum.

How to work with it:

Create dust by crushing up dried Chrysanthemum flowers.  Apply 


Nicotine is one of nature’s most potent insecticides.  It is the basis for the neonicotinoid pesticide in wide use.  Nicotine is found in the tobacco plant and in milk weed.   It is found to work on beetles.  Nicotine is absorbed into pests easily.

How to work with it:

From the book, A History of Pesticides: Mix 2 handfuls of tobacco plants, 2 handfuls wormwood, 1 handful of rue, and 2 pails of water.  Strain your mixture and spay where you want it. 

Unfortunately this recipe is not very standardized and your results may vary.  

Copper Sulfate

Copper sulfate has been used for hundreds of years in pest control.  With the chemical formula CuSO4, copper sulfate was mostly used to prevent pests (including children who would eat the grapes) from damaging the wine grape crop.  During the 1800s in Italy, It was applied by paint brush to grapes.  The grapes became bright blue. 

It is not recommended that you try to use copper sulfate as pest control.  

Paris Green

While we don’t recommend you use this pesticide as it contains arsenic, it has an interesting history.  Paris Green first saw use as a pesticide in the 1800s to kill rats in Paris.  Before it was used as a pesticide, it was used in art as a paint because of its green color.  It was used in the US to kill mosquitoes and beetles.   

Formulating it into a pesticide against moths was difficult, as it had to mixed with other substances and turned into a dust.  

Boric Acid

In the late 1800s and 1900s boric acid was used in bait traps.  Boric acid has been used on ants and roaches.   Boric acid has to be ingested to work as a pesticide.  Due to being toxic to children, boric acid must be handled with care.   

Insecticides have been in use for thousands of years, and they can be difficult to work because of their toxicity, difficulty mixing, and application.  If you need pest control, and you don’t want the hassle of producing your own pesticides call Infinite Pest to take care of all your pest control needs!

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