Mint. Rosemary. Thyme. Clove. They are all well-known spices used in the kitchen. But for organic farmers, they are also becoming known as key weapons to help combat insect pests attracted to fruit and vegetables.
Studies by scientists in Canada have established the potential for these spices to be used as environmentally-friendly pesticides. Posing less risk to human and animal health, the “killer spices”, when mixed together and diluted with water, become natural insecticides that either kill insects outright or simple repel them.
Some spice-based commercial products exist already, used primarily to protect organic strawberries, spinach and tomato crops from aphids and mites, but they only make up a very small percentage of the insecticide market.
In the next few years, however, it is likely that there will be a growth in natural pesticide production as more and more people become concerned about the damaging effects of more conventional pesticides.
But before that happens, scientists will have to find a way to make them longer-lasting. Currently, these spice-based insecticides have a short life span and require more frequent applications.
These killer spices are also showing potential as eco-friendly repellants against such home invaders are mosquitos, flies and roaches.
Image: Kalle Svensson