sallyg said:If you confirm caterpillars, you can use Bt for them. But it won't kill grasshoppers. Or are you even sure of the grasshoppers? Slugs and some beetles feed at night and you dont see them, only the destruction.
Spinosad is a general insecticide.
BigBill said:I won't use an insecticide of any kind if I can avoid it. It is a chemical, quick fix solution, and it is too easy to abuse it and use way too much.
You need to practice good plant hygiene. Clean up debris, spent flowers, leaves, etc. I have occassional beetles, caterpillars and the like but it is easy enough for me to pick them off. This is my third summer in Michigan and my plants do not seem to be drawing bugs.
I do however plant a lot of Marigolds in and among my flowers. 75% or more of what I grow are perennials, maybe they just do not draw the bad bugs?
For the occassional infestation of aphids I use alcohol and water. Half Isopropyl alcohol and half water in a spray bottle. You have to repeat spray, IF YOU DONT, you are just wasting your time!!!
If I have a plant that is acting like an insect magnet I try Neem Oil. AGAIN, REPEATED APPLICATIONS ARE A MUST! I never spray anything until the sun is setting or on a cool morning. In a gallon pump sprayer I use one tsp. Neem, 3 drops dish soap and lastly fill with water. I spray THE ENTIRE PLANT! You have to be thorough. If you don't get everything covered the buggies just slide over here and wait out the spray. Neem is safe to use as is alcohol.
I haven't used a chemical in over 45 years and I ain't starting now. I am beginning to think that they only make matters worse. I agree they build up, insects that is, build up a tolerance of sprays and it is like the bugs are begging you to spray them!! And we stupid humans happily oblige them!!!
sallyg said:With all due respect, I'm guessing Zone 8 garden bugs are more serious than Michigan garden bugs. From what I read from some zone 8 vegetable gardeners here.
Here s the info on Safer 3 in 1
So the insecticide part is 'organic' . (all labeled organic) The potassium acid salts.
You could post us pictures of the damage and any bugs you find for further opinions. Again, if caterpillars then Bt. Spinosad is a naturally derived more recently developed pesticide.
Sevin is an old standby, manmade and more toxic to pest and non pest- read label before buying and using.
BigBill said:Sevin is also much more toxic to humans as well!
I am not going to debate whether or not insects are worse in Zone 9 versus zone 6 versus zone 7. That would be a waste of time and effort. Of course, the warmer you are, the longer the growing season, the more likely you are to have bugs.
All I am saying is that gardening and insect control take time and concentrated effort. In today's world it seems as if everyone wants a "magic bullet", a quick fix. It doesn't exist!
So many people seem to want to plant flowers that grow into magnificent specimens by just using "Magic Fairy Dust". The Fairies come after dark and spread the dust.
It seems to me that no one wants to apply any time and effort.
You can grow a tomato that produces 12 fruits and be happy.
Or you can Grow A Tomato that produces 36 fruits and he Happier!!!
BUT, here is the rub, which way will most people go? I think that they will pick the easy road, the one with less effort, it is just the way we are now.
I use to use 3 in 1 but it has disappointed me lately. It is not nearly as effective as it was 4 or 5 years ago. Perhaps it was reformulated?
Beer doesn't do anything for me except to attract local drunks. You can place it in shallow pans to attract snails and slugs. They crawl in and drown.
Now when I was in Florida for 9 years, I was plagued by thrips. They caused a great deal of damage. I also started growing a lot of Catasetinae, a type of orchid with softer leaves. The spider mites just loved them.
What I used to control them and wipe them out was Neem Oil. I did one, three step treatment program and got them under control. Then I treated once a month as a preventative program. For my last four and a half years in Florida my pest issue was 2% of what it once was! Neem Oil is a systemic which helps greatly in its effectiveness. It also provides help in curing fungal and bacterial issues!
I still continue using Neem here in Michigan. I use it inside and outside. I spray once a month in the early morning. But I honestly have to say, knocking on wood, I don't really have insects. My coneflowers seem to suffer from a bit of overnight munching but the damage is very minimal!
gardenfish said:I use a combination insecticidal soap/Spinosad mix, but VERY sparingly, and only spray those certain insects I can't control any other way. For the most part I leave everything alone, except for hornworms, I hand pick them. I am having to use the combo spray because I am having a large infestation of aphids. I do everything right, my plants are healthy, I do proper cleanup, yet they are here in huge numbers. A retired horticulturist from the U of A told me he can't tell me the reason for the huge numbers I'm seeing. So I'm spraying them.
MsDoe said:Hello OAP,
Can you share with us the general area where you are located? Sometimes that can be helpful, and get you some local answers too.
Re ladybugs: insecticides, including neem oil, will kill them, their eggs and their larva. Also, they are ungrateful and tend to fly away. Insecticides will also kill any other insect predators that are trying to help you out.
Bt for caterpillars is less toxic and more specific than "all purpose" insecticides. Just remember that it will kill the monarch, swallowtail and painted lady caterpillars also, not just the pests.
I appreciate that you are trying to revive an old garden area, good work! Compost and mulch help a lot. You might also see about planting a green cover crop when the garden is otherwise resting. Your local county Agricultural Extension Office may be able to give you some suggestions. I think the earthworms will eventually turn up again, as conditions improve. BTW the red worms you can buy for vermicomposting (or fishing bait) are not the same variety and not as beneficial.
Some plants are more prone to insect damage than others. Native plants have evolved for a long time with native insects. A change in your selection of plants might give you less of a need to use insecticides. Native gardens can be spectacular, check out what does well in your area. (Or did, before it was paved over!)
Carry on, and happy gardening!
gardenfish said:I am a Master Gardner in my county, and my organization, as many MG organizations are, is affiliated with the local county office of the statewide County extension service, which here is the University of Arkansas. I can tell you from my years in this program that the county extension agent is someone you do NOT want to get advise from. Please remember that these agents do most of their work in the field with rural farmers in their area, and are much more likely to tell you to use a kill all product and to just spray away. You would get much better info and advice from the Master Gardeners themselves. In our group I would estimate that at least 30% are totally organic, 25% have large butterfly and pollinator gardens, as I do, and the rest believe in minimal spraying. We all use IPM. And our total number of members is 53. As for good bugs and bad bugs, if you already have a healthy population of beneficial bugs, as I do and as I have for years, and you do have to spray for a serious infestation, as I have had to do, then the beneficial bug population will quickly rebound. Even with as many lady bugs as I have present in my garden, the numbers of aphids are so large that they cannot control them.