Quassia Amara Wood
Chips as a
Natural Insecticide with Homemade Recipes
Quassia amara wood chips
or bark is used as a natural
for getting rid of
head lice, flies, ants, aphids, mosquitoes in your
ponds without killing your fish ... the list goes on. This is well
having in your home if you like natural insecticides and pesticides.
What is Quassia?
also known as
the Paradise Tree, Amargo, Bitter-ash and Bitter wood, is a small
tropical tree indigenous to the West Indies and South America
with red flowers and red
fruit, with the bark that has the useful properties. Because it is a
safe insecticide to use, without any harmful effects, it is very useful
to the organic gardener and farmer.
There are 2 species of this tree the Quassia Amara (Surinam
Quassia) and the Picraena
However, it is the amara tree that is of interest here. The Amara
variety of is more yellow in color and hardier and heavier than
Excelsa. Because it is a wood that is easy to split, the chips are
dried and then made into the various sprays and solutions for home and
of this medicinal plant is of interest to some. Back in the 18th
century, Rolander, a student of the then
famous naturalist Linnaeus
visiting a place called Surinam. While he was there came across an old
African American man who was known within the area for his fabulous
cures of an endemic fever using the bark of a local tree.
the bark back to Linneaus, who after doing several tests, verified how
good it was, and it was this tree that was then called Quassia,
honor of the old man who was using it for curing the locals.
The Quassia Amara red flowers
Medicinal Uses of Quassia
has also be used as a herbal medicine for
a large number of illnesses
and maladies both internal and external. However, of particular
importance, is that it can be used for head lice, digestive disorders,
worms, malaria, diabetes, and even some cancers, among others.
Using Quassia for your Organic Gardens
is ideal for any leaf eating insects such as caterpillars and
aphids, pumpkin beetles,
red spider mites and the like. In fact, any chewing or
sucking insect can be treated using this plant.
How to Make a Quassia Extract
can never go wrong in making
an extract from the wood chips. A simple
way of making the extract is to steep the wood chips in cold, soft
water overnight and then simmer them for a length of time. The
decoction is then strained off with the wood chips removed. It is then
diluted with water to a certain strength. 4 ounces of quassia chips
makes about about 2 1/2 gallons of wash.
A basic recipe
be used for a number of insects is to take 1 pound quassia chips and
steep in cold, soft water overnight. You need just enough water to
cover the chips. The next morning you want to simmer them for about 2
hours. The decoction is then strained off and 10 oz of soft soap is
added to the mixture, making sure that you mix it in well.
can now use the mixture, but you have to dilute it 1
part to 10 parts
water. You can use this on flowers as well are fruit
when using on fruit trees make sure there is no fruit on the tree when
you apply it.
Countryfarm Lifestyles Tip:
You will notice
that there are different
boiling times for the applications. Not only is this because of the
amount of chips used, but the boiling time is important to increase the
adhesive quality of the quassia itself. The better it sticks to the
leaves, the better for combatting the insects, as it means that even if
it rains, it will still
stick to the leaves if it has been boiled correctly.
A Quassia Recipe for Aphids
You can safely use this solution on your plants to get rid of green
2 oz quassia chips
1 gallon water
the wood chips in the water for 30 minutes and allow to get cold. Spray
your plant thoroughly, as well as the stems and under the leaves where
you will find most of the aphids.
Quassia is also recommended for the treatment of green peach aphid,
tomato fly, thrips, and the rose aphid. You can knock up a big batch of
natural insecticide for your orchards.
Quassia Recipe for Vine Caterpillars
If you find your vines and fruit are being attacked by caterpillars
then use this homemade insecticide recipe.
1 lb quassia chips
1 gallon water
1 lb soft soap
10 gallons water
the wood chips in the 1 gallon of water and simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the soft soap. Place in a large bucket or
container and add 10 gallons of water to the mixture. Spray your plants
leaf-curling plum aphids spray just before the flowers open or after
the petals have fallen, as long as it has done before the leaves start
If you want a bulk
recipe, here is another:
7 lb quassia chips
Enough water to cover
5 lb soft soap
100 gallons water
the quassia chips for an hour. Strain off chips and add the soft soap.
Stir well to dissolve. Add the water and spray when cold.
fruit trees can be sprayed, but it is particularly good for plums,
peaches, nectarines, apples, plums, damsons, filbert and cob nut trees.
Because the caterpillars don't all hatch at the same time, spraying
over a couple of days is necessary.
for Red Spiders
A mixture of equal parts of 1 % soft soap and 2 % quassia solution is
one of the best sprays against red spider.
for Cabbage Blight
rid of cabbage blight is a must if you are growing any type of
brassicas, such as cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, radish, mustard etc.
as they can all be affected by the blight.
2 oz quassia chips
2 oz bicarbonate of soda
for 10 minutes in 1 gallon of water, and then allow to stand overnight.
In the morning, spray your vegetables. Spray again a few days later to
make sure that you have covered all the affected areas. Usually, only 2
applications are necessary.
Natural Pesticide for your Homes
isn't just your gardens that quassia is effective. You can
in your homes as well. If you have fleas in the house you can use the
2 oz of Quassia Chips
Cover with water and simmer for 30 minutes
and add this to your cleaning water when you are moping the floors,
cleaning the woodwork such as doors etc. If you add a little carbolic
soap to this is is even more effective.
Quassia Recipe for Flies
4 oz quassia chips
1 pint water
2 tablespoons sugar or treacle
the wood chips in the water and then simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the
liquid and reserve. Add the sugar or the treacle to the liquid and
place in saucers in the areas where you want to get rid of the flies.
You can also keep flies of horses, cows, pigs and other livestock by
using the wood chip extract directly on the livestock. It is perfectly
harmless to them.
Quassia Recipe for Black Ants
4 oz quassia chips
1 gallon water
4 oz soft soap
the wood chips in the water for 10 minutes. Add the soft soap and stir
well. Sprinkle the solution where the ants are. Repeat whenever
Quassia Recipe for Mosquitoes
1 oz quassia chips
4 pints water
the wood chips in the water for 20 minutes. Strain off and use this
water to wash windows and window frames, doors and door frames.
Also sponge down the window sills. This solution will keep