Ask a Question forum: Insecticide spray

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Name: Heath
sevierville TN (Zone 7a)
Composter Beekeeper Houseplants Region: Tennessee Bee Lover Frugal Gardener
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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plantcollector
Oct 4, 2017 9:47 AM CST
I'm looking for a good insecticidal spray so I can spray all my house plants before I bring them in for the winter. I do not usually use any insecticides or fungicides or any of the sprays and I hate the thought of useing them but there are a lot of different kinds of bugs in my plants. My wife said I can't bring them in until all the bugs are dead. Please no systemic.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Oct 4, 2017 10:33 AM CST
Hi Heath

I use Insecticidal Soap - the real stuff, not home made. Although it will kill EVERY insect it touches, its less harmful to you and the environment. Because of the way it works, insects never build up any resistance.

Mix Insecticidal Soap as a spray (1/3 cup per gallon) and also use it as a soil drench. I would do this a couple times over about 10 days so you catch anything that hatches.
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
Name: Heath
sevierville TN (Zone 7a)
Composter Beekeeper Houseplants Region: Tennessee Bee Lover Frugal Gardener
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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plantcollector
Oct 4, 2017 2:01 PM CST
Thanks @Daisyl that's what I usually use but I wasn't sure if there was something stronger sometimes I have a few stragglers get in the house. I would hate for my plants to be evicted. That being said I think you are right it is the safest to use and I really hate the thought of using chemicals.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Leftwood
Oct 4, 2017 7:34 PM CST
I think insecticidal soap that you buy is your best bet, too. But follow the directions on the bottle; one third cup per gallon of water may or may not be correct. The soil drench mix is usually slightly less concentrated.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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purpleinopp
Oct 5, 2017 5:20 AM CST
Are you talking about pests of the actual plants, or just critters that have found the soil & made a home there?
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The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
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Name: Heath
sevierville TN (Zone 7a)
Composter Beekeeper Houseplants Region: Tennessee Bee Lover Frugal Gardener
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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plantcollector
Oct 5, 2017 7:39 AM CST
Just insects in general spiders I got a few aphids. And other little insects that have decided to make my house plants their summer home.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Oct 5, 2017 9:39 AM CST
I usually have an ants nest in my potted plants by the end of summer. Smiling
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
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Oct 5, 2017 9:44 AM CST
Heath - I generally spray the plants down with a garden hose, let them dry off and then thoroughly spray with Azamax (a derivative of Neem). Depending on the plant or the pest (especially spider mites or aphids), I may spray it down a second time a week later. Remove dead leaves or plant debris from the surface of the soil before you spray. And I wipe the outside of the pots with a alcohol/water solution before bringing the plants indoors.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Leftwood
Oct 5, 2017 11:43 AM CST
I was going to suggest a neem product as an alternative, but didn't know if it would smell in the closed environment inside the house. Azamax is a particular formulation neem, and it's good to know there is no odor (I assume, then).
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Oct 5, 2017 1:30 PM CST
No detectable odor with Azamax when dry. And only very faint when spraying. Azamax treats pests while neem handles some plant diseases/afflictions.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Oct 6, 2017 9:57 AM CST
I don't like using pesticides and I am not a big believer in wholesale or preventive spraying. I would recommend treating only those plants that have critters that you can actually see and identify. All of the other plants can be closely monitored when indoors and treated, if necessary, before your wife spots them.

Not all plant pests can be treated the same way. Spider mites and aphids can be treated with a soap solution alone. Mealybugs and scale insects will require neem or alcohol added to the spray solution. Soil-borne pests require other treatments altogether. Some outdoor pests will not survive for long indoors. So this is why I recommend individualized treatment rather than casting a broad net.

Whatever you choose to use as a spray, its effectiveness depends on the thoroughness of coverage. Some tiny insect babies survive between spray droplets, then reproduce and come back to haunt you. Spray until all leaf and stem surfaces are literally dripping wet.

I know that folks like to move their plants outside in summer, but I am not convinced that the benefits always outweigh the problems with pests and forcing plant to acclimate twice per year.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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purpleinopp
Oct 6, 2017 10:31 AM CST
Totally agree about the dubious merits of prophylactic treatment.

I only see pests on my plants when they are inside. Spider mites and aphids are the ones I've seen, and I've not used anything more strong than water and sometimes rubbing alcohol, over the 30+ years I've been taking plants in & out. Once plants go back outside, neither issue persists. There are countless voracious predators scouring for a meal outside and spider mites just don't thrive in the high humidity outside, so are only a seasonal concern for me during the colder months.

If a plant had a more serious pest like scale or mealybug, I would not be waiting until time to bring them inside to treat. That would not be acceptable on any day of the year. I check plants often, at least weekly, and very occasionally find some critter to manually remove.

I asked about plant pests vs. soil dwellers because soil dwellers are so easy to thwart by submerging pots in water. Anything that breathes will either be drowned or forced to evacuate.

👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Oct 6, 2017 11:52 AM CST
Tiffany - Have you had success treating gnat larvae by submerging the pots?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Oct 6, 2017 12:16 PM CST
plantcollector said:I'm looking for a good insecticidal spray so I can spray all my house plants before I bring them in for the winter.
My wife said I can't bring them in until all the bugs are dead.


Tell her that you checked the plants and couldn't find any bugs?

Put her out, and bring in the plants?

Build or claim a dedicated plant room?

I'm with the people that tell you not to drench the plants with toxic poison.

Kinda defeats the purpose of bringing in plants, if they're freshly covered in poison.

Bring in plants for health benefits... Clean air and such....

Any bugs like aphids or whatnot... I think they find the plants.... I don't think they come in on the plants.... Wasps and squash bugs and lady bugs find their own way inside the walls, and I suspect that the same holds for the aphids.

What bugs is she concerned about?

Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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purpleinopp
Oct 6, 2017 12:22 PM CST
Since I stopped having peat moss in pots, I haven't had a gnat issue. I would try submerging though if I did. AFAIK, gnat larvae need to breathe. Changing the water for each plant that gets dunked is probably a good idea, so if there is something living in 1 pot that is not killed, it can't be spread to subsequently dunked pots.

When I do this, it's because there are ants in a pot, or occasionally, slugs or centipedes.

Where I am, gnats are relentlessly annoying for most of the year, flying up nostrils, tickling exposed skin on all body parts, and even getting inside loose clothing. IDK if these are the same gnats as fungus gnats but if they are, they prefer to go outside. There are very cold and hot days here, but at some point during about every week of the year, our windows are open. Gnats can come & go as they please easily during those times but I am only bothered by them outside.

If anyone tries dunking soil for a gnat issue, please let us know how it goes!
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
[Last edited by purpleinopp - Oct 6, 2017 12:31 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1561795 (15)
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Leftwood
Oct 6, 2017 1:54 PM CST
Wondering how eggs can be killed by submersion......
Name: Heath
sevierville TN (Zone 7a)
Composter Beekeeper Houseplants Region: Tennessee Bee Lover Frugal Gardener
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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plantcollector
Oct 6, 2017 4:01 PM CST
I'm really only concern about the big bugs that can be seen. I keep any mealybugs in check with alcohol. I also hate useing chemicals and that includes fertilizer. But for some reason I was going to make a exception this year. I think everyone one is right and I will stick with insecticidal soap. Thanks
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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purpleinopp
Oct 7, 2017 4:46 AM CST
Rick, gnat eggs might survive. Might need to repeat a week later.

👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Oct 9, 2017 7:37 AM CST
purpleinopp said:

When I do this, it's because there are ants in a pot

Where I am, gnats are relentlessly annoying for most of the year, flying up nostrils, tickling exposed skin on all body parts, and even getting inside loose clothing. IDK if these are the same gnats as fungus gnats but if they are, they prefer to go outside.

There are very cold and hot days here, but at some point during about every week of the year, our windows are open. Gnats can come & go as they please easily during those times


Dunking the pots in water is my solution for fire ants too....

Those "eye gnats" are apparently "fungus gnats", but not the same as people that don't live in the sand have.

I think that more people should use the windows to regulate the temp indoors....

All that air conditioning adds to the climate change problem....

As bad as the hurricanes have been this year..... Possibly only a harbinger of years to come?

Also, the fires they are seeing out west....

As dry as it usually is here in the Sandhills.... I've been clearing the brush back away from the house.... Which is a shame.... The quail seem to really appreciate the underbrush....

You know.....
In the winter.... At my house, anoles come indoors.... And eat those pesky insects....
Too cute!


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