In the Garden: Clean Out the Pests with Insecticidal Soap

Organic Vegetable Garden (OVG), May 17th:

Flea beetles are going after our eggplant seedlings so we started applying insecticidal soaps in addition to using other methods of protection such as floating row covers and using arugula as a trap crop.  Insecticidal soaps kill insect pests while having few adverse effects on plants, animals, and the environment.  They are most effective on small, soft-bodied insects such as aphids, spider mites, thrips, whitefly, and mealybug.  To be effective, insects must come in contact with the soap before it dries so multiple applications may be necessary.  Soaps may be applied to edible plants and may be used the day of harvest.


  • Read the label to ensure that the soap is effective on the pests you are trying to get rid of and will not harm the plants you are spraying.
  • Apply soaps in the morning or evening when drying time is the longest.
  • Avoid treating plants in direct sun.
  • Don’t treat tender or drought stressed plants as the soap may burn the leaves.

Learn more.

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