Homemade Bug Killer for Roses

Written by elizabeth tumbarello
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Homemade Bug Killer for Roses
Create homemade bug killer for roses with soap. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Some insects view roses as a tasty buffet waiting to be eaten. Pesticide solutions kill these bugs and ensure your roses remain intact. Commercially produced bug killer for roses can be costly and full of potentially harmful chemicals. Homemade bug killer solutions offer a cost-effective, non-toxic alternative to these products. The most common homemade bug killer solution for roses is soap, which has been used in the control of insects for more than 200 years as noted by the University of Florida IFAS Extension Service. Create your own homemade bug killer in a time-honoured, cheap, and eco-friendly manner by using common household dishwashing soap.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Jar
  • Water
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Spray bottle
  • De-foaming agent
  • Water conditioner (optional)

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  1. 1

    Perform a jar test. Mix a 2 per cent solution of soap and water in a glass jar. Allow the jar to stand undisturbed for 15 minutes or more. Observe the results. If the mixture is uniform, the water is fine to use. If soap scum develops on the top of the solution, you need to add water conditioner to soften the quality before making homemade bug killer.

  2. 2

    Fill a spray bottle with one gallon of warm, but not hot, water.

  3. 3

    Add five tablespoons of dishwashing liquid to the water. Do not use dishwashing liquids with added degreasers, bleach or bactericidal agents. Do not use dishwashing liquid made for machines. Avoid powdered dishwasher products.

  4. 4

    Remove any foam.

  5. 5

    Mix the solution thoroughly. The solution is patent for one week from the date of mixing when stored in a refrigerator.


  1. 1

    Water the roses thoroughly at least one day in advance of spraying. This helps the roses maintain their strength to withstand the application of the insecticide.

  2. 2

    Apply homemade soap-based bug killer on roses in the early morning or early evening. Soap-based bug killers can burn leaves in full sun. Since most roses require full sun, applying the solution during these times reduces the risk of injury to the plant.

  3. 3

    Test a small area of the plant before spraying a full coat of homemade bug killer. Spray one to two leaves to test for potential harm to the plant.

  4. 4

    Spray the mixture directly on the bugs you wish to get rid of. Soap-based homemade insecticide is not effective for long-term control.

  5. 5

    Wash the rose with clear water two to three hours after spraying to reduce the risk of injury. Since homemade bug killer offers no long-term control, washing the solution off after use is not contraindicated.

Tips and warnings

  • Spray homemade bug killer on otherwise healthy roses. Avoid spraying young roses. Plants in these states are less likely to escape spraying unscathed.
  • Apply homemade bug killer on roses when the temperature is less than 32.2 degrees Celsius for the best results. Soap-based homemade bug killer only works when wet. Applying homemade bug killer to roses in heat greater than 32.2 degrees Celsius can reduce the efficacy.
  • Soap is phytotoxic. Signs of phytotoxicity in plants include yellow or brown spotting on foliage, marks that look like scorches or burns on foliage and blooms, and scorched leaf edges. Discontinue use upon observing signs of phytotoxicity.

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