The Q&A Archives: Pest control??

Question: I have been applying Seven dust to my tomato plants to help control the spider mites. I also have noticed that I am getting worms in them as well. Is there something else out there that I could use instead to help control all insects? I would like it to be in a liquid form since dusting only seems to get on the tops of the leaves.

Answer: I would be very careful with Sevin. It kills bees and if your tomato plants are flowering and bees visit, they will die. We need bees in our gardens to transfer pollen. So, hold off on the Sevin and use something a little friendlier - something that will specifically target the destructive pests but leave the beneficials alone. Some suggestions: Insecticidal Soap: Insecticidal soaps are potassium salts of fatty acids. They control insects that they contact by disrupting cell membranes. They are most effective against soft-bodied pests, such as aphids, mites and thrips. Thorough coverage of the pest is necessary in order to achieve control. Insecticidal soaps have a short pre-harvest interval and are labeled for use on most vegetables. Safer Insecticidal Soap is an example of one brand name.

Neem Oil: Neem oil is a botanical product that is primarily useful against aphids, mites, and whiteflies. It is labeled for use on most vegetables and is sold under several brand names (Monterey 70% Neem Oil is one example). Thorough coverage of the pest is necessary in order to obtain control.

Bt: Bacillus thuringiensis is a bacteria that produces compounds that are toxic to
certain insect species. There are different species and strains of this bacteria that produce different toxins. Bt produces a compound that is toxic to certain caterpillars but has no effect on other insect species. Thuricide is one of the more common brand names under which this product is sold. It is most effective against leaf-feeding caterpillars, such as loopers, diamondback moths, etc.

Best wishes with your garden.

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