safe insecticide for fruits trees

marcantonioMay 7, 2014

my peach and cherry trees are at petal fall, soon i would like to apply an insecticide to protect from fruit worms and other insects. i've already applied fungicide. i've heard that malathion and sevin are very toxic. does anybody know of a less toxic efficent insecticide. either organic or synthetic.
i have rotenone powder but don't know the ratio to mix it for a hand sprayer. any suggestions?

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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Rotenone I think is also very toxic. I think it's organic, but deadly stuff! Didn't Jerry Brown the Governer of CA drink Malathion to show how not dangerous it is? Yes, i think he did! A couple I can think of are spinosad, not sure how good a product that is? It's bacteria. Also kaolin clay can be used as a protective coating. Surround is a brand named pesticide with the clay.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 11:00PM
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You could try pyrethrum (Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium). I believe its basically made from soaking the dried flowers (but dont take my word for it look it up).

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 11:56PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Spinosad and Surround in combination is your best option if you want low toxicity; thats what I use. Pyrethrum is not particularly effective against the two pests you need to control, plum curculio and oriental fruit moth (plus possibly cherry fruit fly).


    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 8:15AM
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austransplant(MD 7)

If you don't mind synthetic insectides, I would recommend permethrin, a synthetic pyrethroid. It is the active ingredient in a number of readily available Bonide products. I use the product called 'Eight'. Spinosad is faily effective against fruit moth, but I doubt its effectiveness against plum curculio, which is a very tough insect (this may be why Scott recommends using Surround along with Spinosad -- that's too much work for me). I've tried both Spinosad and permethrin and permethrin seems to me to be more effective. It's also cheaper and I think it is registered to allow for more sprays, which may be necessary in a bad fruit moth year.

All of these things will kill honey bees and native pollinators, so they should not be sprayed if there are flowering plants nearby -- this includes clover and dandelions in the lawn.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 9:42AM
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The real question is what the OP means by "safe". Safe for whom or what?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 1:20PM
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alan haigh

I'm surprised by the answers because you stated you would be willing to use something synthetic. I suggest, and members of this forum repeatedly suggest, that for the grower who is not devoted to growing free of man made insecticides and wants to use a product with very little risk to the user should run with a pyrethroid such as Spectracide's Triazide, Once and Done (for fruit and vegetables).

You need to spray very very soon (probably late next week) and again in about 2 weeks. I manage orchards not far from you and know that the odds are good that's all the insecticide you will need. E-mail me if you want a detailed description of my spray sched. You will probably need at least a single fungicide ap as well- probably in early to mid July for peaches- maybe just a couple weeks before fruit is ripe for cherries.

Order Montery Fungus fighter for that.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 2:13PM
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There really is no such thing as a safe pesticide ... safer yes, but safe, no. OK now that I said that BT, insecticidal soaps and WP Surround are pretty safe. Pretty sure the former is NOT registered to use for your pests. Surround likely is but how effective it is unless soaked on a nylon stocking....

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 8:45PM
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alan haigh

FN, I believe safe is a relative term, not an absolute one- Some poisons are harder on insects than mammals and thereby drastically reduce the threat of accidental poisoning- the pyrethroids fall in this class.

But poison is poison. Surround offers decent protection here without being a poison, but this doesn't make it the ideal solution for most growers of fruit in the humid regions. It encourages mite outbreaks, is messy to apply and requires more applications than synthetic alternatives- and it is less affective while requiring more than double the labor.

Follow the label and keep your pesticides away from children and pets and the odds of any problems are abysmally low.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 5:41AM
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