Sumo Gardener

Homemade Bug Spray: How to Use Vinegar for Pest Control

Vinegar serves many purposes when used around the house; you can clean with vinegar, use vinegar for baking, use as homemade bug spray, and distill vegetables, all of which make this tangy liquid a pantry necessity.

In addition to vinegar’s culinary and cleaning attributes, vinegar can also be used as a powerful deterrent against pests, both inside and outside of the home. 

This is great news if you are looking for ways to manage problematic pests without having to turn to harsh and toxic insecticides. Although vinegar will not necessarily kill pests, vinegar’s harsh acidity and potent aroma works well to keep insects off of crops and flowers, as well as out of the inside of your home. 

Read on to discover how vinegar works as a pest control agent and to discover how to make homemade vinegar bug spray. 

Homemade Bug Spray How to Use Vinegar for Pest Control

How Does Vinegar Work as a Natural Pesticide?

Vinegar is powerful enough to repel a large majority of insects

Vinegar has actually been used as a pest control agent for decades once it was discovered that the acidity in vinegar is powerful enough to repel a large majority of insects. Wiping down indoor countertops with vinegar is extensively used to repel ants, just as wiping vinegar on the corners of walls can repel spiders. 

Flies and other flying insects are also susceptible to the strong aroma of vinegar. By putting a bowl of vinegar out in the open, flies will land in the liquid and subsequently drown. Even if the vinegar does not kill flies directly, the liquidity of vinegar consumes their small anatomy resulting in death. 

With this in mind, vinegar has also been known to kill termites, due to the strong acidity of the substance attacking a termite’s central nervous and digestive systems respectively. It is important to point out that although vinegar works wonders at repelling pests, vinegar is not a feasible alternative to natural pesticides, which can effectively kill pests. 

Are Mosquitoes Attracted to Vinegar?

Mosquitoes fall into the category of pests that detest the smell and taste of household vinegar

Mosquitoes likely pose the biggest threat to both human and animal health than any other pest. Numerous diseases in humans and pets are attributed to mosquito bites, yet the threat from the toxicity of powerful insecticides is also concerning. 

Thankfully, mosquitoes fall into the category of pests that detest the smell and taste of household vinegar, yet the aroma of the substance is also alluring to mosquitoes. Since a primary base ingredient of vinegar is alcohol, flying insects find the smell attractive.

Apple cider vinegar also has a fruit as one of its primary ingredients, which apart from blood-seeking female mosquitoes, is one of the insect’s favorite sources of nourishment due to the sugar content. Proving that once again, apple cider vinegar has a large array of uses. 

This is great news, but can vinegar actually kill mosquitoes?

Does Vinegar Kill Mosquitoes?

When it comes to adult mosquitoes, the same process that works with flies is also what you can expect when using vinegar to kill mosquitoes. The vinegar repels mosquitoes and does not necessarily kill the insects based on the chemical structure within the substance. 

Although it will require a more potent substance to effectively kill adult mosquitoes, vinegar is effective at killing mosquitoes when the insects are in the larvae stage. Since mosquito larvae must be submerged in water to thrive, adding vinegar to bodies of water with active larvae is one way to kill the insects before they are able to evolve into adult mosquitoes. 

Apple cider vinegar has the highest rate of acidity, which you can add directly to larvae-infested water. Simply pour enough apple cider vinegar into the water to ensure an adequate kill rate, which is roughly 20% of an entire bottle. 

Even though vinegar is not outright effective at killing adult mosquitoes, this method will ensure that you are one step ahead of the mosquito reproductive life cycle. 

Adding vinegar to a spray bottle in a half and half mixture with water is also a great way to keep mosquitoes from landing on your skin. This method also works well when sprayed directly on foliage and crops within a garden to keep mosquitoes away. 

A vinegar spray solution for pest control is easy to make and is a great alternative to contact spray insecticides. 

How to Make Homemade Vinegar Bug Spray

Apple cider vinegar as homemade bug spray

Source: Amazon

Follow these steps to make your very own homemade vinegar pesticide:

1. Purchase a vinegar that contains a strong potency. Apple cider vinegar is one of the strongest types of vinegar available, especially concentrations containing the “mother”, such as Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. This type of vinegar is also well-tolerated on skin and foliage.

2. Mix spray bottle with half and half dilution. Always aim to fill a bottle with 50% water and 50% vinegar. This will ensure that the vinegar has a mixing agent to bind to and decrease some of the powerful potency of the vinegar. It does not take much for vinegar to be effective. 

3. Optionally Add Lemon Juice or Rubbing Alcohol. Although this is completely optional, both lemon juice and isopropyl alcohol will take the repellent and killing properties to a much higher concentration. Be careful using rubbing alcohol around fire. 

And that is it, easy and quick homemade bug killer vinegar extract. 

Wrapping Up Vinegar Used In Homemade Bug Spray

So, using vinegar as a viable homemade bug spray is certainly doable. In fact, vinegar works very well at repelling a large variety of pests, rather it is within your home or in your garden. 

Since pests are problematic both inside and out, consider using a natural product for either area and add that to our list of ways to get rid of pests to keep your home pest-free.

About the Author

Mike Henderson is a pest control specialist and shares his knowledge regularly on Pest control is needed for both a healthy home and garden in equal measure. He has dedicated his career to practicing effective pest control solutions and providing informative information on both entomology and pest-specific eradication techniques based on scientific analysis and practice.

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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