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Tobacco as a pesticide?

Posts: 25
Location: southern germany
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Hi there!

Does anyone have any experience or profound knowledge about tobacco plants as a pesticide? I already know that nicotine can be absorbed transdermal and can be very dangerous if handled careless; so please don`t tell me this. I have read lots of times that tobacco was used as a pesticide in gardens but I cannot find any information on how exactly. I am wondering particularly if the nicotine would be incorporated by the plants it is used on? (not even thinking of using it on any food plant near harvest time)

I also know that you should not use commercially grown tobacco, because it could introduce the tobacco mosaic virus into your garden. Mine would be self grown and I would know how to deal with infested plants. So please don`t tell me that either.

Maybe you could use leaves as a mulch? Or make a nicotine solution to spray on bugs?

Thank you in advance for any helpful information.

Posts: 754
Location: Porter, Indiana
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I believe tobacco is applied in a dust form to the leaves of a plant. The use of tobacco is one of the interesting case in product labeling where something that is 100% natural is not considered "organic." For example, if you were to grow a tobacco plant, free of pesticides, in a hugelculture, at Sepp Holzer's Kramaterhoph, and then grind it up and spread it on tomato plants, those tomato plants would no longer be considered "organic" by USDA standards.

Posts: 1600
Location: northern California
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For years I've used tobacco tea as a pesticide of last resort, when other measures prove futile. I make it with cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or home-grown exactly as one would make any tea....bringing it to a boil in water and letting it steep. I like to make it strong and steep it overnight, then dilute with water and a bit of soap to encourage it to stick to plants and insects. It is quickly lethal to just about any insect, and, as you surmise, is not for use for quite a while pre-harvest of food crops, nor for plants susceptible to tobacco mosaic virus.....all nightshades, at least.
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Alder Burns has the right idea listed. It takes 4 weeks from last spray to harvest, you should also wash the produce before storage just to be sure the nicotine is removed.
Don't spray it on things like greens, or the nightshades, they will adsorb the nicotine which makes it impossible to remove.
Nightshades are also likely to be poisoned by the application, defeating the purpose of spraying.

Tobacco dust has many more hazards than the spray, namely inhalation, skin irritation by being adsorbed through the skin, eye irritation and on and on.
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