Salt as Pesticide.

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by kwhilborn, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. kwhilborn Banned Banned

    A friend with a smaller printing company was discussing summertime bug problems.

    I suggested salting any areas they could be accessing water or moisture.

    I know I have seen salt recommended as pesticide in the past.

    NOTE: This is an animal friendly building home to a three legged cat, some turtles, and with frequent dog visits (even mine) so real poisons are not much of an option.

    My reasoning is this. Insects could not live on salt water any more than humans could.


    A) Is this reason correct? Would making water sources salty kill bugs
    B) Is there other reasons why salt is not good for bugs.

    A quick internet search said spraying bugs with salt water can kill them, but that seems far fetched. I have seen people pouring salt into their carpets to combat fleas and on beds to combat bedbugs.

    I basically told my friend to dump baking soda/road or epsom salts/ or any salt in crevices or moisturized spots (under sinks, etc).

    Did I give bad advice?

    Will this help?

    I cannot see it hurting.

    Salt as a pesticide or pesticide aid?
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    I can't see it doing much good against the bugs. In fact, I wouldn't recommend trying it because the pets might ingest the salt.
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. kwhilborn Banned Banned

    There is plenty of people who say it works.

    I am interested in the HOW more than the IF actually. I did not really expect many to disagree based on the wide variety of sources saying it works.
    Read more:

    Article on homemade pesticide..
    Remember "Mother Earth News"...

    Everyone knows salting leeches beats ripping them off.

    There is hundreds of years of history with people saying this even back in Ancient Rome. We are now in a more Chemical age, but how and why does salt kill bugs?

    Does it stop them from hydrating, or just give them bad Cholesterol?
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  7. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    It's reverse osmosis at work - "sucks" the water out of them.
  8. kwhilborn Banned Banned

    Ouch. I did not think that would be the case, but sounds right.
  9. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    If it doesn't kill them outright, it might repell them - cause them to look for a cleaner source of water.

    If I'm not mistaken (and it's barely possible that I am

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    ) a fine powder like baking soda will clog an insect's spiracles.
  10. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    I thought we were talking about fleas and bedbugs. They don't drink water, they drink blood. And I don't think the salt is going to 'suck' any water from them either.
  11. kwhilborn Banned Banned

    Actually I was talking about a variety of bugs, and I doubt any of them were bedbugs. The situation is in a printing plant so the bugs more likely eat paper, food waste, etc. Probably not so much blood.

    However I have heard of people combating household fleas by pouring salt into their carpets since I started looking at this. I wonder if that works, because I bombed a house once for fleas and it was not cheap. It was an exterminator who did it so we had to leave for 24 hours minimum and not the usual 8 hours.

    What about bugs that do drink water? I think this counts for cockroaches and.... hmmm. I'm no insect expert. Do flies or spiders (not an insect I know) drink water?

    Anyways. I suppose the question was bugs in general. On leaches I can see the reverse osmosis thing working, but I don't think it would affect something with dry skin like an ant or fly.

    It was these kind of questions I was hoping to get answers to.

    In the OP I knew less than I do now as I have read some about it, but still am no insect biology expert.
  12. spot Registered Member

    i consider myself a backyard scientist and have over 15 years of hands on trials involving salt variants. first off the salt i speak of and use most often is an aquarium based salt used for coral and saltwater fish "high grade" unlike epsom. combined with reverse osmosis water to create artificial ocean water "saltwater" based on a salinity of 1.0225 ppm mq/l. so to sum up what my $ has shown me "salt" and manipulation of basic trace elements i.e. alkalinity, calcium, magnesium, strontium, iodides, etc. to water source can effect the bio organics "bugs" of a micro climate "back yard" greatly! in the relation to what is considered a "pest" applying general salts can change an organisms reproductive responses and larvae stages making it impossible for generations to continue repopulating not removing the existing problem but a preventative for young larvae. the simple example i teach is how a slug or snail shows an apparent low tolerance to salts,other "bugs' with exposed mucus and pores will also show immediate dislike, much like the larvae stage of most insects! more advanced was a black scale beetle infesting my 4 year old white sapota tree which was nearly cleaned of all bark and leaves within weeks, and with a last minute shot in the dark remedy to remove the "pest" i applied a leaf spray and perimeter spray 3 ft away from base of tree with water from my coral aquarium mixed with home extracted fish emulsion, within 3 days all black scale beetles gone!!!! 1 week the bark healed!!!! 3 weeks growth of leaves returned!!!! i did not expect this outcome and 2 years later now the tree is stunted compared to the others on either side surrounding it planted at the same time, but foliage is much denser. the sapota tree example was my 1st attempt to knowingly try but not try and kill a tree with these "saltwater" methods i theorized about! after years of learning from piers that "salt" kills plants and "salts" should not be used in the garden or orchard i have come to a conclusion that not only the type of salt but how its dissolved in water/ "applied" can change the personal conclusion and each persons story. my story is build a boat and let the world flood with saltwater thus removing "pests", this "salt" works!lol! i also might add that much of the tools we use now to measure "salts" has advanced greatly in just the last ten years allowing for a better over all understanding, imagine what's next

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

  13. spot Registered Member

    youtube "spotless aquariums saltwater farming" 3 videos there. im still sharing just with a more private group now based on individual problems really getting to the "root" of the problem!
  14. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Curious - why revive a nearly two year old thread? Also, wouldn't any level of salt capable of deterring insects also horribly unbalance the chemical makeup of the soil?
  15. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

    The thread may have come up in a Google search about salt-based pesticides.

    Isn't there an old saying about "salting the Earth"?

    Perhaps salt works as a pesticide by removing the insect's source of food... effective but probably not the desired method to achieve the result.
  16. danshawen Valued Senior Member


    There are few salt water marine insects. Dragonflies are, but also are not a particular problem with biting. Nonetheless, if you visit the Chesapeake Bay salt marshes anywhere near Wallops island during the month of August, better take a ton of mosquito repellent with you, or else a few liters of blood and an IV tube to restore the blood you will lose. The mosquito larvae survive in salt water just fine, and there aren't enough dragonflies around to take a real bite out of their numbers.

    Forget insects. I'm still recovering from either a BRS or a yellow sac spider bite (they are similar both in appearance and necrotic effect of their bites). It took a lot of scalding hot water and prescription strength antibiotic ointment, but its finally on its last leg of ravaging mine.
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Big open water of any kind is hard on mosquito larvae - first guess is they are living inside reed and rush stems. The mosquitos that hatch from cattail stems in my part of the world are particularly aggressive and vexing.

    Diatomaceous earth works as an insecticide by scratching away their waterproofing - insects are small, and dry out quickly if their surface seal is broken. That stuff does not poison the dirt or general environment (it's basically little shards of glass mixed in with limestone dust and clay etc)

    My sources tell me that Epsom salt - the kind to use - does not poison but rather slightly fertilizes plant soil. Unfortunately, it needs continual renewal in all standard formulations.
    Last edited: May 22, 2015

Share This Page