Ask a Question forum→Best Overall Insecticide?

Page 1 of 4 • 1 2 3 4
Views: 2003, Replies: 61 » Jump to the end
Zone 8a
Birds Salvias Roses Foliage Fan Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Dragonflies
Bee Lover Ferns Butterflies Irises
Image
OAP
Jun 3, 2020 8:00 PM CST
I have been using Safer Brand 3-in-1 spray on my plants. Something, possibly grasshoppers and some sort of caterpillars(?) have been wreaking havoc on my Salvia and my Cannas. Is there something better to use as a general insecticide to protect all of my plants?

I have a limited number of plants due to the size of my garden which is quite small:

Cannas
Several species of Salvia
Turk's Cap
Liriope
Red Columbine
Cedar Sage
Lyre Leaf Sage
Holly Fern
Japanese Painted Fern
Inland Sea Oats (they are especially healthy for some reason)
Frog Fruit

The plants that are suffering the most are the Salvia, Cannas, Ceder Sage, Lyre Leaf Sage, and Turk's Cap.
Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we never know which one is which until we've loved them, left them, or fought them.
~ Gregory David Roberts
[Last edited by OAP - Jun 3, 2020 8:08 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2262148 (1)
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Jun 3, 2020 10:26 PM CST
Welcome!

You are using the general insecticide. The problem with insecticides is the insects build up resistance quickly and then the insecticide no longer works, leaving you to find something stronger. And stronger.

The answer is find another way to combat the bugs. Or learn to live with them. Sorry I can't be more helpful.




Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Zone 8a
Birds Salvias Roses Foliage Fan Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Dragonflies
Bee Lover Ferns Butterflies Irises
Image
OAP
Jun 3, 2020 10:47 PM CST
I am not sure what else to do. I did not plant my plants to have them demolished by insects. I think I am mostly battling grasshoppers and caterpillars, though. Guess I will continue with the 3-in-1 for now. Thanks, Daisyl.
Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we never know which one is which until we've loved them, left them, or fought them.
~ Gregory David Roberts
[Last edited by OAP - Jun 3, 2020 11:35 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2262279 (3)
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
Image
sallyg
Jun 4, 2020 2:27 AM CST
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.
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Jun 4, 2020 4:39 AM CST
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!!!
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
[Last edited by BigBill - Jun 4, 2020 4:41 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2262372 (5)
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
Image
sallyg
Jun 4, 2020 5:09 AM CST
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
https://www.saferbrand.com/saf...

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.
http://npic.orst.edu/factsheet...
Sevin is an old standby, manmade and more toxic to pest and non pest- read label before buying and using.
https://www.gardentech.com/pro...
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Jun 4, 2020 5:40 AM CST
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.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
Zone 8a
Birds Salvias Roses Foliage Fan Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Dragonflies
Bee Lover Ferns Butterflies Irises
Image
OAP
Jun 4, 2020 7:52 AM CST
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.


Yes, I pulled a small green caterpillar off a bottom side Salvia leaf yesterday. I have seen grasshoppers here every year. Yesterday, I saw some tiny baby green ones, very immature.

I also have quite a lot of snails that I began treating with snail pellets a couple of weeks ago. I have not seen any of them. I normally only see them after a good rain shower anyway. The main reason I know they are there is because of old shells. I see what I think are brown Japanese beetles in the Summer months but only at night and only if I leave a porch light on. The light seems to lure them in.

What shook me is everything looked fine out there in the early afternoon (I check my bed several times a day if for no other reason than it gives me pleasure to look at them), and then I went out there early evening---plenty of sun left---and, it was clear that sevreral of Salvia had been attacked! I checked everything this morning, and the status quo has been maintained overnight, thank goodness.
Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we never know which one is which until we've loved them, left them, or fought them.
~ Gregory David Roberts
Zone 8a
Birds Salvias Roses Foliage Fan Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Dragonflies
Bee Lover Ferns Butterflies Irises
Image
OAP
Jun 4, 2020 8:00 AM CST
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!!!


Hi BigBill. Yes, I have no desire to use insecticides either, but if I must, I try to go with something like 3-in-1. I do practise hygiene, too. I am out there several times a day picking up dropped flowers, etc. If I have to turn to something non-organic, I do want to use it sparingly and only as needed. It is a dilemma. On the one hand, I hate to kill any life (mosquitoes, flies, and roaches excepted!), but on the other hand, I did not spend money to build a garden only to have the plants become an insect salad bar. Somewhere I heard that spraying with plain old beer helps. Anyone ever hear that before??

Thanks for the tips!
Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we never know which one is which until we've loved them, left them, or fought them.
~ Gregory David Roberts
Zone 8a
Birds Salvias Roses Foliage Fan Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Dragonflies
Bee Lover Ferns Butterflies Irises
Image
OAP
Jun 4, 2020 8:06 AM CST
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.


That is a good idea, sallyg. I will post some snaps a little later today, and I will look into the other suggestions. I have been thinking for a while that I must purchase a sprayer. The Garden Safe and Safer Brand insecticides I have used are already in spray bottles, but the sprayers leave A LOT to be desired, especially the 3-in-1 bottle. I am loathe to shop locally given the pandemic and the protests, so as is often the case for me, I am on my way to Amazon again. I try to read tons of reviews before I buy anything. I forgot the name of the snail and slug bait I purchased recently, but I do not believe it was synthetic either. It was some sort of iron compound that they love but is deadly to them, sort of like ice cream and chips to me. Smiling

I am in zone 8a (insofar as I understand this), and we have a lot of aggressive bugs here. I am trying to build a garden here from soil that has been neglected for many years---it is dead soil really. You can dig for two feet and not see one earthworm! I have looked around to buy live earthworms for the garden beds to no avail. Why does no one sell worms anymore? I am also looking into Ladybugs. I read that they also eat a lot of pest bugs without harming the plants. I add well rotted compost as often as I can. Does anyone know if adding compost will "bring"earthworms to the garden?? I mean, I can hardly imagine earthworms in another part of the city saying "hey, let's catch a taxi over to OAP's garden an set up house there; I hear she loves us!" Big Grin I would love to bring some earthworms to my garden, though. As a child growing up, I could dig less than 6" in the soil anywhere on the property and come up with a ton of earthworms. Never thought I would say I miss earthworms, but I do!

Watching over my plants is like watching over small children!

Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we never know which one is which until we've loved them, left them, or fought them.
~ Gregory David Roberts
[Last edited by OAP - Jun 4, 2020 8:20 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2262548 (10)
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Jun 4, 2020 8:29 AM CST
Sluggeta?
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. Rolling on the floor laughing 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!
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
Zone 8a
Birds Salvias Roses Foliage Fan Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Dragonflies
Bee Lover Ferns Butterflies Irises
Image
OAP
Jun 4, 2020 8:47 AM CST
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 take your point, and I assure you, I am seeking modest results only. Last year was the first year I worked on any of it. It is a long story as to why I have not done more in previous years, so I will skip it, but I started to build a garden, such as it is, last year. I used plants, compost, and mulch from an organic nursery and did not use anything other than Garden Safe and Safer Brand products to combat pests. I pick up fallen leafs and petals daily. I am doing my best, but I must be honest and say that if I keep using organics to no avail, I will eventually have to turn to something synthetic as a last resort. Otherwise, all I will be doing is providing an insect salad bar for the various bugs.

Here are some snaps from this morning. I have these two Black and Blue Salvia in pots that I have yet to move into larger, nicer pots (I am out of space in the beds and am beginning some container gardening). Then, there are these Skyscraper Salvia that developed some spots on the leafs yesterday. Maybe that was from the spray I used on them? Then, you can see the really bad leaf damage on this purple Salvia. That literally occurred sometime between 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. yesterday, and that plant is the one where I found a caterpillar on the underside of one of the leafs.


Thumb of 2020-06-04/OAP/71153e


Thumb of 2020-06-04/OAP/b6c2cb
Thumb of 2020-06-04/OAP/1b2152


Thumb of 2020-06-04/OAP/ac04e9

Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we never know which one is which until we've loved them, left them, or fought them.
~ Gregory David Roberts
Zone 8a
Birds Salvias Roses Foliage Fan Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Dragonflies
Bee Lover Ferns Butterflies Irises
Image
OAP
Jun 4, 2020 8:55 AM CST
BigBill said:Sluggeta?
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. Rolling on the floor laughing 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!


Everything seems to be reformulated every 4-5 years. I hear this complaint about other areas of interest besides gardening, too. Maybe it is inevitable given the availability of individual components and evolving laws?

I cannot recall the gentleman's name, but it was on a snippet from an old PBS gardening programme where I heard the gentleman say that using beer was highly effective for....(cannot recall for what now!) and also spraying with diluted washing up soap. I have not tried either. The soap suggestion seemed scary to me. Somehow spraying the garden with diluted washing up soap sounded like it would do much more harm than good, but this gentleman was a very experienced gardener. I wish I could recall his name. Shrug!

Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we never know which one is which until we've loved them, left them, or fought them.
~ Gregory David Roberts
[Last edited by OAP - Jun 4, 2020 8:57 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2262592 (13)
Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
Eat more tomatoes!
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Container Gardener Lilies Cat Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Zinnias
Organic Gardener Heirlooms Bee Lover Hummingbirder Echinacea Tomato Heads
Image
gardenfish
Jun 4, 2020 8:57 AM CST
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.
Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
Mother Teresa
Zone 8a
Birds Salvias Roses Foliage Fan Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Dragonflies
Bee Lover Ferns Butterflies Irises
Image
OAP
Jun 4, 2020 9:02 AM CST
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.


I think you are doing the right thing. I feel exactly the same, gardenfish. I am going to order a sprayer, some organic neem oil, and one or two other things. I hope to get this under control without synthetics. I am old enough to vividly recall the widespread use of chemicals that caused so many problems and motivated Rachael Carson's publication of "Silent Spring." I do not want to be trigger happy with synthetics, I promise!
Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we never know which one is which until we've loved them, left them, or fought them.
~ Gregory David Roberts
[Last edited by OAP - Jun 4, 2020 9:03 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2262602 (15)
Southwest U.S. (Zone 7a)
MsDoe
Jun 4, 2020 9:13 AM CST
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! Hurray!
Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
Eat more tomatoes!
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Container Gardener Lilies Cat Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Zinnias
Organic Gardener Heirlooms Bee Lover Hummingbirder Echinacea Tomato Heads
Image
gardenfish
Jun 4, 2020 9:42 AM CST
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.
Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
Mother Teresa
Zone 8a
Birds Salvias Roses Foliage Fan Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Dragonflies
Bee Lover Ferns Butterflies Irises
Image
OAP
Jun 4, 2020 9:49 AM CST
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! Hurray!


Hello MsDoe! Yes, I am in zone 8a where it is boiling hot for about 5 months of the year. I think it is very humid here, too. Although this is only early June, and although my beds are on the east side of the house, the morning sun is already hot enough that I must water the plants at least twice a day to keep them from wilting.

I did not know neem oil would kill Ladybugs. I did know that anything that would kill caterpillars would not discriminate amongst caterpillars, and that has been a gut wrenching idea to mull over. Luckily or not, depending on how you look at it, there are no Monarch or other rarer butterflies around here. In fact, I see few of them over the course of a season. I live in a relatively old area of town where the properties were mostly built in the 50s and 60s. As time passed, more and more of the properties became rental properties, and sadly, most tenants will not put a penny into a rental property. I know my next door neighbour is that way. He will let everything die. Anytime I even mention watering the grass to him he balks. "Let the owner pay for it" is what he always says. I have tried pointing out that he lives in a house, not an apartment complex where landscaping and upkeep of beds, etc. is included in the rent. In a house, you have the responsibility to do these things. Besides, the owner does not live here and benefit from the quality of life you create for yourself. He has lived in the property for 25 years, or so he claims, and adamantly refuses to do anything to add to his own quality of life there. It literally looks like urban blight there. A few years ago, after his neighbour moved away, he literally went into the beds where she had planted a lot of Agave plants (presumably because they need little water and little care), and pumped poison into the soil until he managed to kill everyone save one of them which he plopped into a pot and put on the side of his property where it just sat for a few years not dying but not flourishing either. Time and time again I have pointed out that it is he who benefits from a good quality of life here, not the landlord, but my entreaties fall on deaf ears.

I am afraid this man's attitude is par for the course around here. The owner occupied properties are often well cared for, but the rental properties, which dominate, are eyesores. They think nothing of parking vehicles on lawns, putting bulk waste on the street out of cycle, ignoring occupancy limits, leaving bins on the streets days after collection, parking commercial vehicles in a residential neighbourhood, etc., etc. It wears you down if you are trying to create any sort of quality life for yourself. As a result, I took the course and became a Code Ranger more than a year ago. I flag violations as I find them, and I can easily find 30-33 violations a week across a 12-14 block radius. Anything that is beyond my scope is passed on to Code and police officers. I am blessed to have a really good Code officer for my area. Police are not so helpful, though. I have less than 20 years left on my docket. I want the time I have left to be filled with beauty, joy, and nature. Most people around here do not even understand the concept. I was thinking this morning that with a lot of work (and expense) over the coming few years, I could build a really nice little garden, but once I pass, whoever follows me here will let it all go to waste. It makes me sick to think of it, but I cannot allow that certain knowledge to dissuade me from building something for myself and for the wildlife here.

Most of the plants I have planted are natives that have evolved with the insects and are more naturally resistant to drought and to bugs. My Inland Sea Oats, for example, are positively thriving right now with little more than watering as needed. The "flowering" plants, however, like the Salvia, require more attention, but the honeybees, Hummingbirds, and butterflies love the Salvias, which is one reason I planted them. I know the Hummers are in the area now. I hung my feeder a few weeks ago, but so far they have not spotted it. I change the nectar regularly to keep it fresh for them. Sooner or later, I know they will find it. I have selected my plants to help attract the Hummers. I love birds, especially songbirds and the charming little Hummingbirds. I love honeybees, too, but there are far more yellow jackets and other wasps here than honeybees. So, I selected my plants to attract the birds and the bees. After visiting several nurseries, I fell in love with Salvias and Ferns! I wish I had a lot more room to plant, but maybe it is a blessing I do not have more room given my budget!

One thing is certain, and that is that I will not give up on my garden! :)
Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we never know which one is which until we've loved them, left them, or fought them.
~ Gregory David Roberts
Zone 8a
Birds Salvias Roses Foliage Fan Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Dragonflies
Bee Lover Ferns Butterflies Irises
Image
OAP
Jun 4, 2020 10:07 AM CST
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.


Yes, I take your point! I have relied on the extension office for soil analysis, but that was all. A friend's son does landscaping, and I have asked his advice. He was the one who suggested most of my plants. It has only been the Inland Sea Oats that have truly done well, though. I realise the importance of matching soil, weather conditions, and bugs to achieve the best garden. I think the more I work at this, the more systematic I become.

I am impressed you are a Master Gardener, gardenfish! I am a tenderfoot gardener. How does one become a Master Gardener, pray?! Does it require the completion of coursework?

I am doing my best to understand my plants and pests. I find it more difficult to identify and understand the pests than the plants at the moment, though. There is a Botanical Garden less than two miles from my home, but I have not visited it. I know it is lovely, and I may visit in November once it cools off a bit here. I cannot tolerate heat well at all and will not shop or run errands during the day if I can help it. The heat makes me ill, so I only go out very early in the mornings or after 10 p.m. at night, especially from July through September. Just 5 minutes in the courtyard (which is laid to grass) during the hottest mornings or afternoons will cause me to become dizzy and develop a bad headache. I am a prisoner in my home for at least three months of the year because of the heat. I am trying to add plants indoors,, too, but I am focusing more on the outdoors for now. Once the beds are thriving, I can turn my attention indoors. At least that is my plan. :)
Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we never know which one is which until we've loved them, left them, or fought them.
~ Gregory David Roberts
central ohio (Zone 5b)
PlantingOaks
Jun 4, 2020 10:19 AM CST
Personally, I am very happy with spinosad. It only kills things that actually eat it, not on contact, and I think only soft bodied critters like caterpillars (I'm not 100% sure on this, I only use insecticides on asparagus beetles larva and columbine sawfly, and those are both soft-bodied). It works impressively well, and I never see damage on parts I have sprayed as long as I make sure to reapply it after the rain.

I did research before I started using it, since insecticides, even organic ones, can be pretty scary. Apparently in places with malaria problems spinosad is considered safe enough to put in the well people drink from Blinking . While I don't know that I would be comfortable with that extent, I am definitely comfortable spraying it on ornamentals and asparagus past the eating stage. It is rated for edibles too as long as you follow the label.

Page 1 of 4 • 1 2 3 4

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by ge1836 and is called "Monkey Flower"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.