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Some useful pesticides

I was hunting for some information about pesticides, then came across this email (sent as part of an email group). I found this information useful, and hence decided to post this so that other people might find this useful as well:

BT Bacillus Thuringiensis

1. Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) is a naturally occurring, soil borne organism that paralyzes and destroys the stomach cells of insects that consume it especially larvae of flies and months. At present Bt is the only “microbial insecticide” in widespread use of insect control. Bacterial agents are effective in controlling insects in the larva stage only. The larvae is usually a caterpillar or worm and you must get it early at this stage both to eliminate the pest and to avoid too much damage to the leaves. This type of Bt kills many leaf-eating caterpillars–including those that will become butterflies. If butterflies are desired, try to use Bt only on the foliage of plants infested with a leaf or needle-eating larva. You’ll usually find the pests on the undersides of leaves and are usually the same color as the leaf so as not to attract predators. Therefore Bt should be applied to the UNDERSIDES of leaves because Bt must be ingested to be effective.

2. Bt is broken down faster in sunlight. Application to the undersides of the leaf surfaces will prolong Bt’s activity. High temperatures do not encourage Bt’s breakdown.

3. After the Bt spores are ingested, they grow and reproduce, producing crystalline toxins. The crystalline toxins paralyze the digestive tract of the larvae causing it to cease eating. Time of death can range anywhere from 12 hours to 5 days after ingestion. This depends on the amount of Bt ingested, the size and variety of the larvae and variety of Bt used for control. There are different strains or varieties of Bt available that have been selected for the control of specific insects. For roses use Bt variety kurstaki (BTK). This controls the European corn borer, tomato hornworms, fruitworms, cabbageworm, cabbagelooper, spring and fall cankerworm, spruce budworm, and other caterpillar-like larvae. Other Bt varieties like San Diego (BTSD) controls early larvae of the Colorado potato beetle, Bt variety tenebrionis coeopteran (BTT) has been developed for the control of the Colorado Bean Beetle while in its larvae stage and Bt variety israelensis (BTI) controls mosquitoes,
black flies and fungus gnats.

4. Bt has gained well-earned popularity because of its distinct advantages over other pesticides such as:

(i) Hazards to humans are negligible (avoid inhalation or contact with eyes or open wounds).

(ii) Bt can be used right up until harvest on vegetables, this allows for a longer-term control. There is no waiting period from time of application before re-entering the field.

(iii) Beneficial or non-target insects are not harmed.

(iv) Insects that ingest the Bt and later die from it are not dangerous to birds or other animals that may feed the dead insect. (v) Not known to cause injury to plants on which it has been applied and is not considered harmful to the environment.

Other Pathogens: The only other possible pathogen I was able to find is the Pheromone Mating Disruption. It lures the insect to it where they feed on a Pathogen that affects their ability to mate, in turn reducing insect population.

*Note: Relying on any one pesticide can lead to the build up of resistance in the pest population. Use of other insecticides and cultural control methods should be used to slow down or eliminate the possibility of resistance developing.

CORN GLUTEN – You may have heard the product “Amaizing Lawns” which has a pre-emergent herbicide effect on lawn weeds in the early spring when they are germinating and is also a fertilizer based on corn gluten. It works on the more common turf weeds and crabgrass. Corn gluten, a protein found in poultry feed, is a by-product of the corn milling process. If you can find source of corn gluten (feed mill companies) you can try it yourself. Here’s how:

Apply 20 pounds of the powdery gluten substance per 1000 sq. feet of turf area, using a fertilizer spreader with the setting adjusted as needed. When you are done water the gluten lightly into the surface, which will help it latch onto the germinating seeds.

DE (DIATOMACEOUS EARTH) is a non toxic flour-like powder made from fossilized skeletons of micro-organisms called diatoms. The sharp edges of the powder cuts the bodies of the insects, causing them to loose their waxy coating, dehydrating them, causing death. Wear a paper mask and gloves. Commercially available products may contain chemical pesticides so read the labels carefully.

DORMANT OR MISCIBLE OILS/SPRAYS mix with water when heated or agitated. Used as smothering agents for- larva, adults, pupae and eggs. Sucking insects such as thrips, scales and aphids are primary targets and also work to control spider mites. The oil forms a thin layer over the eggs, the insect and suffocates them. Only use dormant oil when temperatures are above freezing for at least 24 hours; spray each plant and the ground as well. Spraying should be done immediately after pruning in spring -plants should not have started to grow or bud out; and again in late fall when the leaves drop (usually late Oct.). Dormant oils do NOT control diseases and can be used every two to three years to provide the same control as yearly applications. This application is essential if you are having spidermite problems.

1 cup of liquid dish soap 1 cup of chewing tobacco juice 1 cup of antiseptic mouthwash Mix in 20 gallon hose-end sprayer, filing the balance of the sprayer jar with warm water. Apply this soap solution to the plants, and then use a dormant spray oil over the top. In early spring, before the buds swell up and open, repeat these steps.

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