Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Using Natural Insect Controls


June can bring a number of insects to the garden and one way to be ready for them is to learn more about biological insecticides. Each insect control works a little differently and knowing the differences will help you make a decision on which ones to use and when.
Insecticidal Soap uses potassium salts of fatty acids (insecticidal soap) to control a wide variety of insects in the garden and indoors. Potassium salts are made from palm, coconut, olive, castor and cottonseed plants. The fatty acids weaken the insect’s waxy protective outer shell and causes dehydration. Insecticidal soap doesn’t leave a residue and can be used up to the day of harvest.
Neem oil will also control sucking and chewing insects. Neem works by entering the insect’s body and disrupting its system. Neem is not an instant knock-down insecticide. It takes time for it to work. Meantime, the insect stops feeding and other insects are repelled from the treated plant.
Thuricide is a biological insecticide with Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (Btk) for use on vegetables, fruits, trees and ornamental plants. Btk will control tent caterpillars, cabbage loopers, tomato hornworms and budworms. If your petunias and geraniums suddenly stop blooming, you’ve got budworm and Thuricide is the product to use.  Once the worm eats on the treated leaf, it will stop feeding and die within 2-3 days.
Dipel is Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki in powder form. You dust it on the affected leaves. Both Thuricide and Dipel work effectively to control worms.
Spinosad is a broad spectrum natural insecticide made from specific microbes first discovered at an abandoned rum factory. It only works if the insect actually eats something that has been treated with Spinosad such as a leaf. It does not affect insects that merely come in contact with a leaf that has been treated and has dried. Spinosad is an all-purpose insecticide for organic gardening. Always read the label thoroughly and discuss any questions you may have with us.

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