Ask a Question forum: Squash and Orthene

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Shess6
May 12, 2016 2:01 PM CST
My husband helpfully was poisoning ant beds in the lawn, and threw Orthene on one of my squash mounds that had a big ant bed in it. Do I need to throw out the plant and remove that mound of dirt, or can I just remove the top layer of dirt with the powdered poison and wait a certain number of days for the poison to gradually leave the plant and soil? I know it's not for vegetable garden use....but it's too late now...
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
May 12, 2016 3:27 PM CST
Hi Shess. Welcome to the NGA!

Usually I remark that some insecticide, though slightly toxic, is nowhere near as bad as the old, nasty organophosphate 'cides that used to be common.

Well, Orthene looks like one of those nasty old organophosphates! If you ever worry about any chemical, worry about this one. They make nerve poisons (war gasses) from other organophosphates.

Here is the MSDS sheet. Those are not alarmist by any means: when the MSDS says "toxic", they mean "toxicologist LD50 toxic", not "organic gardener potentially harmful in some people's minds if it builds up over years of exposure".

http://www.kernred.com/kern-agcomm/products/ORTHENE%2097.pdf

I haven't found average dwell times in soil, so MAYBE you can wait long enough before harvesting squash that sufficiently little will remain.

And maybe experienced farmers know that there are ways or reasons WHY it isn't as likely to give you convulsions as the MSDS makes it sound. Or someone with lots of fire ants may have used it near the veggie garden and not noticed symptoms.

But if no one has a surprisingly reassuring answer, trust your first reaction:

This is not for vegetable garden use.

Maybe hint to your husband that if he wouldn't dip a finger into the bottle and lick his finger, he shouldn't be dropping it in the vegetable garden!


Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 12, 2016 3:38 PM CST
This is an old Extoxnet page for acephate, the active ingredient.

http://extoxnet.orst.edu/pips/acephate.htm
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
May 12, 2016 3:51 PM CST
Thanks for the link, Sue! I was wrong, it WAS used on crops (if instructions were followed).

It sounds like it breaks down fairly quickly:

"Acephate dissipates rapidly with half-lives of <3 and 6 days in aerobic and anaerobic soils, "

Bad for bees.
"Acephate is considered a fetotoxin (can poison the fetus) "


Shess6
May 13, 2016 12:08 PM CST
Thanks for the info, makes me less paranoid now - I tossed the top layer of dirt that next day, and threw out the first round of squash off it a week later - we've had like 10 inches of rain since, too. I figure I'll give it 22 days before we actually eat anything off of it...chickens still alive & well and they've eaten bugs off of it already!!!

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