Pest Control: EM Insect Repellent

This post is a part of our collaborative research project with the Karmi Initiative on different methods for pest control in farming.

A more nuanced method to control pest in farming, in urban context and otherwise, is the augmented use of EM Solution. Effective Microorganism (EM) solution – available in the market for NRs. 100 (USD 1.25) per litre – contains several bacterias such as photosynthetic bacteria, lactic acid bacteria, yeast, and other microorganism.

For the EM insect repellant, I used the following combination mix*:

EM Solution                                     500 ml
Whisky                                             500 ml (alcohol content)
Molasses                                         500 grams = 1.1 pounds
Warm Water                                    3 liters
Dried Nepali Hog Plum                   500 grams (acetic acid content)
Total                                               5 liters

The basic idea for the combination mix was taken from the standard EM Insect Repellant mix, which is elaborated here by the Garden City Composting team in Christchurch, New Zealand.

I bought old whisky, sugar molasses (sakkhar), and dried nepali hog plum from a general store around the block. Just to clarify, bacterias produce alcohol, and subsequently, sour vinegar when they ferment sugar molasses; whisky and dried nepali hog plum (lapsi) were just added – I assume – to catalyze the fermentation. Warm water also helps the fermentation by increasing the base temperature. Further iterations of the solution mix will attempt addition/removal of components to locate the exact utility for each component.

The resultant 5 liters of EM insect repellant mix was mixed thoroughly, and then put in five one liter reused drinking water bottles. The solution will be kept at a temperature range of 15 – 25 degree Celsius. Most importantly, the lids of the bottles are opened for 30 seconds each, two times a day. This is crucial as the undergoing fermentation is an aerobic process, and opening the lids allow the release of built up carbon dioxide and lets in the required oxygen. The resultant mix should be ready for use in 2-3 weeks when a sweet fruity odor is observed.

Based on internet research, I found that one can also add ginger, garlic, pepper, and other food items that have strong bitter, hot, and sour taste. One can just ground these food items and drop them into the mix.

Over the last week, I have observed that there is a tremendous effervescence of carbon dioxide each time the lids are opened. The effervescence is comparatively quite weak in the control experiment, where the solution does not have whisky and dried hog plum. This seems to corroborate the hypothesis that addition of alcohol (whisky) and acetic acid (Nepali hog plum) increases the rate of fermentation.

Some images:

Calibrated scale to measure the quantities of the components.

Calibrated scale to measure the quantities of the components.

Warm water and sugar molasses. Warm water dissolves molasses faster because of the raised temperature.

Warm water and sugar molasses. Warm water dissolves molasses faster because of the raised temperature.

Mixing molasses and warm water.

Mixing molasses in warm water.

The cheap 'outdated' whiskey used.

The cheap ‘outdated’ whiskey used.

The resultant mix of EM Solution, warm water, molasses, and whiskey.

The resultant mix of EM Solution, warm water, molasses, and whiskey.

Mixing the dried nepali hog plum. Called lapsi locally, this fruit has acetic acid content.

Mixing the dried nepali hog plum. Called lapsi locally, this fruit has acetic acid content.

All three bottles show effervescence that is characteristic of the release of carbon dioxide.

After three days, all the bottles show effervescence that is characteristic of the release of carbon dioxide.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s