Farmgirl School

"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." -Tolkien

flea beetle

Today I was going to write about how I beat the flea beetles.  The itty bitty cruciferous eating machines.  Creating lace wherever they go; eventually decimating delicious crops, and then without even a thank you or a how do you do, they fly off to their next unsuspecting victim.  I tried the diatomaceous earth and the organic pesticide and then felt very guilty about using them as lady bugs and other beautiful insects were not who I was trying to kill.  After the rain, the bugs came back anyway.  I sat out there frustrated and just started spraying them with my homemade bug spray that I sell in my shop.  It keeps mosquitos and flies away, I imagined it would make the flea beetles head for the hills.  And it did!  For the past week I have been strutting around, blowing kisses to the cabbage and kale, imagining them stir fried in butter, not a care in the world.  Ready to brag to you of my incredible discovery!

As I strutted by yesterday, they laughed.  They scoff at me in their ignorant bliss from their perches.  Their only concern themselves.  The flea beetles are back.  I will regain my composure and re-hit them with my bug spray and laugh back.  We shall see who has the last laugh, my friends, we shall see.  I want that cabbage!

In the meantime, you can easily keep bugs away from you without the use of dangerous chemicals.  Here is my super secret recipe for Quit Bugging Me (a bug story). 

In a 2 oz. spray bottle ( add an ounce of witch hazel and a half ounce of water.  Then add 60 drops of citronella oil (you do not need multi-marketing, ridiculously expensive oils, just go to the health food store or order online (, 10 drops of lavender, 4 drops of geranium, and 2 drops of clove.  Top off with water or witch hazel.  You only need a few spritzes.  Sit bug free for several hours on lawn chair.  Have the last laugh.

10 thoughts on “The Last Laugh (and bug spray)

  1. Kay Aichess says:

    Thank you for that recipe. I’m anticipating a flea beetle infestation as soon as they start harvesting canola. What are your thoughts on getting rid of potato bugs naturally? I am also feeling bad about diotomaceous earth but just picking them by hand isn’t working as well as I’d like.

    On another note, I’ve nominated you for the Liebster award. Check out this link to read more about it.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      I have found that planting potatoes early (early April here in Colorado) or really late (late May) tricks the little buggers! I am wondering if my fall crop of cruciferous veggies will avoid the flea beetles….we shall see!

  2. Emma says:

    I will have to whip up a batch of the spray and give it a try. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      One of my best sellers, it works amazing!

  3. Claudia says:

    Great recipe! I’m all for “eco-friendly” whenever it’s possible to do so, plus less noxious fumes to breath in while spraying the buggers. 🙂
    Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Took me awhile to get the perfect blend. It works great!

  4. debweeks says:

    I am going to try this bug spray. I’ve been fighting squash bugs and just when I think I’ve gotten rid of them I find little eggs on the leaves. UGH!!!!

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Let me know how it works! It will at least keep the mosquitos off of you while you are outside cussing out the squash bugs!

  5. Bill says:

    Flea beetles attack and decimate our eggplant every year. That seems to be the only thing we grow that they really like. They’re very difficult to get rid of (as you know).

    But I’ve learned that it’s not necessary to do anything. They’ll strip the eggplant leaves but eventually they’ll go to whereever flea beetles go and the eggplant will recover. I’ve seen plants that looked hopeless turn into vigorously producing plants by August. The eggplant just outlasts and outgrows the damage.

    I’ve made a note of your recipe though and will try to remember to try it next year. This year we had a double whammy, as the potato bugs joined in with the flea beetles in attacking our eggplant. They all survived the onslaught, but they were stunted and are a few weeks behind normal.

    Thanks for the tip on the spray.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      I am watching, and I think you may be right. It seems like the vegetables are rebounding on their own! Thanks for the wisdom!

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