julianna_il(z6 IL)July 5, 2007

Has anyone tried a product with this in it, such as Monterey?

It's considered organic, made from fermented soil or something. Relatively new and goes after chewing not sucking bugs. They claim it's safe for beneficials. (But I don't know about bees...they specifically say ladybugs and lacewings) I also don't know about praying mantises, and I've got an egg case out there that hasn't yet hatched. (That I know of...I haven't seen any guys)

It specifically is supposed to kill cuke beetles, vine borers, thrips and others. Lots of beetles (which is why I don't understand why it wouldn't hurt ladybugs).

I thought they had to eat a leaf with spinosad and then die, but then I read on Gardens Alive that they just have to walk on it. (So why not sucker bugs then?)

Sluggo has a new super sluggo with spinosad in it, but it's for bugs on the ground. Esp. good for fire ants, which are not a problem here.

I'm thinking of getting some and spraying the bases of curcurbits for the borers, and then to have on hand if/when the cuke beetles show up...if they start bothering anything but my trap plants. (Caserta and blue hubbard squash)

Has anyone used it, what do you think? It seems to be new enough that I can't find a lot of good info on it. Dirt Doctor seems to think it's going to be a great product, or at least much better than the pyrethrins and neem because it doesn't hurt the ladybugs.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Since the primary means of contact for an insect would be ingestion, it dries on foliage fairly quickly so absorbtion would not be a primary means, and the beneficial insects do not often eat foliage tells you why it has little affect on beneficial insects. This does appear to be one of those selective insect controls that, with juditious use can be another addition to the organic gardeners methods of control.
However, as with any other product, the precautionary principle should apply here.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 6:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I use Monterey. Where has this been all my gardening life?? It's excellent.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 7:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

julianna, you are correct in being cautious about this product. Insects do not have to ingest spinosad in order to be affected by it. I've used a spinosad ant bait product, but won't use something that has to be applied to the general garden area. I am concerned much less about neem, actually.

But all products need to be used with caution, thought, planning, and care. Good for you!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 11:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
julianna_il(z6 IL)

Thanks for such great replies, all!

I think I'll get some and keep reading up on it. I was kind of thinking a light application to the bases of the curcurbits in case there are more borers lurking around.

Even though my Blue Hubbard is probably going to bite the dust, there's a beautiful fruit hanging that I'll go ahead and eat (it's perfect, but still a bit small). It was a trap plant, but then I got excited about trying the squash.

But as my friend said, it's done its job. Had it not been there, the borer(s) would have gone after one of my cukes or melons.

So everyone, a moment of silence and a toast....to the blue hubbard that has given its life so the cukes and melons could continue on.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 12:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just got some Spinosad to use on the ants in my garden. I wasn't aware that there is a bait that it available! Has anyone ever thought about using Spinosad mixed with something like sugar or bread as an ant bait?

I actually mixed up a concoction of sugar and Spinosad this morning, and the ants seemed to be avoiding it. Now, I didn't dilute the Spinosad at all. So perhaps that was my problem. Or it might be that they don't like the sugar. I'm considering crumbling up some bread and treating that with Spinosad that has been diluted to the recommended concentration for spraying it. Any thoughts?

Where did you get spinosad ant bait, rhizo?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 7:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hitexplanter(8 a)

Spinosad ant bait made by greenlight is called conserve. In talking with one of the reps at greenlight it is a corn based attractant much like amdro is (protien based attractant). Let us know if you find other attractants that work and share it here.
Happy Growing David

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 8:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Squash vine borers don't attack cucumbers or melons, I thought.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 10:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I use both Spinosad and Pyola, by turns. They've done a better job than anything else I've used. I still get a little bug damage, but the plants can deal with it, and now they're finally growing big and healthy instead of looking like dead pieces of green lace.

It worked better than Bug-B-Gone, btw.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 11:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It is the only thing I have found that will kill stink bugs. It is the strongest insecticide in my arsenal.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 9:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Don't forget...these are both broad spectrum pesticides, so use with care. They kill on contact.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2007 at 1:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

where can you find these 2 products (spinosad and Pyola)

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 10:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Let me add that I don't use pesticides when my squash or melons are blooming. Usually by that time the flea beetles are gone, so I don't need to. I don't want to bother the bees.

backyardgardener.com has both Spinosad and Pyola. That's where I ordered them. I believe Amazon.com also sells them.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 11:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
julianna_il(z6 IL)

I got my spinosad last year from Gardens Alive:

I actually haven't used it yet. Last year, didn't need it. I either got super lucky or my companion planting program really worked. Not a single cucumber beetle showed up. (Knock on wood!)

I did have one squash vine borer, but it attacked my trap plant. This year, I'm going to take a preventive and inject the squash vines with the spinosad. If any larvae get in, they'll die.

In fact, last year, the only bug killer I ended up using was slug bait (the safe iron phosphate kind) and some diat. earth for flea beetles when my eggplants were still young.

You can also pick up that Sluggo Plus at a variety of places. I've seen it at a couple of our nurseries. I'm contemplating getting some for pillbugs, but havent decided. I have a lot of pillbugs, but they've never actually bothered anything and I like them in my compost pile. I may just stick to killing the slugs and leave the pillbugs alone.

I had a good day outside today. After way too much rain, I finally was able to get out and get some things done, and am pleased at how my hard organic gardening work is really paying off in a big way.

THE WORMS LOVE ME and I love them back. I have so many beautiful worms and when I started with this place, I was lucky to see one in a day.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 11:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hilery(8A Nevada)

I got my Spinosad from a local nursery. I was fighting a thrip infestation in the greenhouse and this stuff worked great -- and it didn't kill my beneficials. I really dislike spraying but since it is organic, very low on the toxicity scale and targets the pests, I was very happy with it.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Experience with Spinosad and Thrips

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 4:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The people that make up the Organic Materials Review Institute seem to have reservations about Spinosad, " Because the reviewers considered spinosad to be nonsynthetic, it could only be added to the National List as a Prohibited
Nonsynthetic with precisely defined exceptions to permit limited use. One reviewer suggested this course of action.
Another reviewer felt there should be clear guidelines to restrict spinosad applications around water bodies, and that
formulations should be restricted or adapted to have minimal impact on bees. The third reviewer suggested that spinosad
should be used in production systems rich in microbial activity to ensure that the pesticide does not build up in soil. The
third reviewer also suggested that the primary breakdown products should be more fully studied and researched as to their
Âecological toxicity and impacts to beneficial organisms"
Spinosad should only be used with due care and under very strict guidelines and is one of those things that should be reserved to be a last resort thing to use.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 7:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alouwomack(Zone 7)

Hello all,

The only GardenWeb information I can find on Spinosad is a year or more old.

Has anything changed? Are people still using this product (or not using this product)???

I purchased some a few days ago (Natural Guard is the brand) and I'd like to use it for control all the nasty little caterpillars I've already had throughout the garden.

Will this spray help with spotted cucumber beetles and flea beetles too? I've also spotted what looks like eggs from Squash Vine Borers! I'm seeing a lot going on early in the season. I keep smashing them all any chance I get but I can't do this all day every day . . . I'm afraid they'll win the battle on Monday thru Friday while I'm at my paying job!

My tomatoes are trying to be taken over by aphids too!!!

I'm in a Bad Bug Nightmare!!!

Thanks for anyone's input.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 5:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If your garden is infested with "bad" bugs then you probably will need to use some stuff that many of us would not, keeping in mind that anything you do spray will also kill off the beneficials that would be populating your garden. If you are having a major problem with "bad" bugs then you need to take a good look at your soil to see what needs to be done to make that into a good, healthy soil that will grow strong and healthy plants that can better resist insect pests.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 7:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alouwomack(Zone 7)

Thanks Kim. The plants are doing great holding their own thankfully; the soil is a brand new mix that I placed in raised boxes this spring.

The Spinosad is supposedly not too harmful for the good bugs. Can anyone say for sure?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 11:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
julianna_il(z6 IL)

I'm the original poster and wanted to give some follow up.

I use spinosad with FABULOUS results in one specific area: squash vine borers. Holy cow. But you've got to go on the defense and get em before they start. I used to have devastation on squash from these borers, and I have not had one since, even though I've seen the mother moth flying around and laying eggs.

Here's what I do: get some insulin needles from the pharmacy (easier said than done), fill a needle with straight spinosad, and inject it into all my squash vines. I just inject starting at the very base where the stem comes out of the ground, and go about every two inches. I inject and squirt in probably half a teaspoon.

I had to sing and dance and give my drivers license to get a bag of syringes at the pharmacy, but they gave me a bag. If you have access to any kind of syringe, even horse syringes, that's all you need.

I swear by this.

And I've got a treatment for flea and cucumber beetles, but this really requires diligence. Kaolin clay. If you want to do it, get it NOW and get started asap. Spray down the plants that will be affected - follow the instructions on the bag, shake it often as you spray, and coat the leaves, underside of leaves, and stems well. Reapply after hard rain or about once a week or so.

It puts a coating on your plants and makes them look dusty, but I HAVE BEATEN THE FLEA BEETLES. And I'm not having the trouble with cuke beetles like I did.

I swear by both of these products. The kaolin clay is very safe, won't hurt any good bug. I don't think they know exactly how it works, but maybe by making the leaves taste bad, or making their feet sticky. Whatever, it repels the bad guys (and the good guys, but it won't hurt them) Brand name is Surround WP...a five-pound bag cost me about 25 bucks three years ago, and I still have plenty left. I think I got it at Gardens Alive.

Get a separate sprayer for this only, as it can clog up your sprayer. Rinse the spray tube after using.

The spinosad is good stuff, but it WILL kill the bees, so right now I only use it for the borers.

These are the products I use, plus that wildlife safe slug bait (iron phosphate?), and very sparingly, diatamaceous earth, although I favor the clay over that.

Now if someone would invent something that really worked on groundhogs and squirrels, I'd be all set.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 1:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
julianna_il(z6 IL)

I also still question how a product can kill so many types of beetles and not kill ladybugs. That just defies logic.

But I think Spinosad has its place if you're very careful with it, read up on it and use it cautiously.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 1:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

from what i have heard not bee friendly either, it's primary use around where we are is for the control of tropical fruit fly the female in particular (the male very easily caught with other methods), also not recommended it be sprayed onto the fruit, if i recall correctly? how it works if by suggestions above then makes it amazing as the tropical fruit fly only stings the fruit doesn't eat it or any part of the plant, their diet is probably nectar?

also the favoured way of using the spray is to screw a yellow plastic bucket to the fence and apply the spray to the inside of the bucket? seems to be some evidence that the t/f/f likes the colour yellow.

anyhow we don't use if for the sake of the bees we get very few honey bees, as bee keepers take their hives out into the bush due to colony losses related to insecticide applications in home gardens. we do have native bees and don't want to take any chnaces with them as they are few and far between.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 1:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Spinosad needs to be ingested in order to be effective. That's why it has little effect on most 'beneficial' insects. It has shown to cause problems for some of the highly beneficial parasitic wasps, however. And can be deadly for bees who may forage on sprayed flowers. The contaminated pollen is the problem.

Spinosad is one more good tool in a versatile IPM program, but should be used with caution. Just like anything else we may use.

To answer your concern, julianna, all about the USE of a product. Bleach is a bio-cide, right? But it won't kill us unless we drink a lot of it.

The kaolin clay product is a good one, and has been used by professional orchardists for quite some time. I've not used it, but it is apparently a great repellent. Julianna, since you have experience with it, can you tell us how long the coating lasts on the plant?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 2:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
julianna_il(z6 IL)

Rhizo, I haven't really paid attention to the timing - I just reapply after a good rain, or when it starts looking like it's wearing off. I'd guess with no rain, about 5 to 7 days.

From experience, though, it's very important to start with it from the beginning, when you plant your seedlings or if going from seed, when they get some leaves. The first year, I started once I saw the first cucumber beetle, and it helped some, but not enough. I think they need to get the message from day one that they should move on to a better place.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 2:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alouwomack(Zone 7)

Julianna! Thank you for all the feedback. I'm so happy to hear about the Spinosad for SVB!

I spent all weekend removing little singular red eggs from the leaf tops and stems of all 3 of my yellow squash. Today I haven't seen anymore. I sprayed the squash well yesterday so I'll wait another week before I do any injections! (I work in the medical field so I'll have ample needles.) What size needles are you working with?

I'm happy to report I saw 2 ladybugs today for the first time of the season. Maybe they'll stick around and eat the aphids off my tomatoes!

I thankfully have a local organic nursery...I'm sure they have the kaolin clay. I'll get some right away. The flea beetles have decided they like my radishes best so I'm more or less letting them eat it (they aren't my favorite anyway). I just told someone the opposite a few days ago but now I need to change it: "the radishes might be a good companion plant for beans after all". And those darn spotted cuc beatles are everywhere I look; they really like it all I guess.

Thanks again for your help!


    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 9:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alouwomack(Zone 7)

One more question, Julianna. I'm sorry I overlooked where you mention using an insulin needle...when you say you inject about half a teaspoon, is that half a teaspoon every 2 inches of stem? I'm also growing my squash staked vertically so I wonder if I should just let gravity be my friend and start a the tops of the squash?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 10:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alouwomack(Zone 7)

One more question, Julianna. I'm sorry I overlooked where you mention using an insulin needle...when you say you inject about half a teaspoon, is that half a teaspoon every 2 inches of stem? I'm also growing my squash staked vertically so I wonder if I should just let gravity be my friend and start a the tops of the squash?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 10:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sharbear50(6a Bella Vista)

I have been told that Spinosad will not kill the little "protein eating" ants. What will? They are destroying my dry laid paver patio with their sand mounds. There are sand mounds all over my yard as well.
I have read that planting Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) will repel them, anyone have any success with this?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 10:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
anney(Georgia 8)

About needles...

I have some "needles" that were sent with a printer ink refill kit. They include plungers but the needle part is not pointed but blunt, the same size at the end as in the middle.

I could use those to fill my squash stems with BT if needed, right?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 10:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinosad has quite a bit of info.

Note: VERY toxic to honeybees! Do not spray flowering plants.

Also not 100% safe for birds and fish.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 11:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
julianna_il(z6 IL)

alouwomack, sorry, had missed your question: I'm just guestimating at how much...I give about three injections per plant, starting at the spot where the stem comes out of the ground. Maybe it's more like a quarter teaspoon, and I've never seen instructions on this. I just came up with it. LOL. I also use it straight, no adding water. I think the important part is hitting the stem where larvae are likely to hatch. I'm not entirely sure how those borers work, but it seems like they hatch *inside* the stem and then do their damage. That's why I'm squirting it inside. And so far, this technique has worked for me!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 11:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
julianna_il(z6 IL)

anney, I have no experience with BT, but don't see why it wouldn't work too. I think those syringes with your ink kits sound fine...you really just need a way to get the stuff into the stems where the borers will be. And the injector just needs to be small enough so it won't tear up the stem.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 11:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
julianna_il(z6 IL)

sharbear, I've planted tansy as a repellent plant. It's a lovely plant, but does spread. (Easy to pull out, though)

I read where it was a good repellent for Jap. beetles. First year I had it, I found a big Jap. beetle ON the tansy, having a feast. So it was worthless for that.

I don't have any idea about the ants, but can't hurt, and it's really very pretty, IMO. Have you looked into diatamaceous earth? It kills hard-bodied bugs...don't know if ants are hard or soft.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 11:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
julianna_il(z6 IL)

I spelled d. earth all wrong, but if you google:
diatomaceous earth ants

you'll find a bunch of stuff come up. It seems to be used against ants. Not all types, though.

Just know that it will kill good bugs, too. Be cautious with it.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 12:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My research over the winter indicates that spinosad is hard on bees and Surround is hard on mite predators at least in apple trees.

As far as injecting spinosad is concerned, if the used application method is not on the label it is an illegal use of the product.

Enough griping, I got my 8 oz. Fertilome brand Spinosad bottle at an Ace Hardware store and was surprised they had the stuff. Planning to use try it on apple for Leafrollers and peach for Borers to see how it works. Round one of the Leafrollers got KOed by the Spinosad. If the Leafrollers come back or tent catepillars start I'll switch to Bt, then back and forth if the need arises.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 9:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alouwomack(Zone 7)

Thanks Julianna! Did you know you were breaking the law? LOL.

I would think injecting the inside of a plant is less harmless to the bees and other good bugs than spraying it on the flowers of our plants :) After 4 hours it isn't suppose to be a risk to bees or other good guys. I'm taking care not to spray flowers anyway just in case. All the bad guys eat the leaves that have been sprayed and die from ingesting the chemical . . . not from touching the poison, etc.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 6:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
julianna_il(z6 IL)

LOL, no, had no idea I was committing a crime. I thought I was being extra nice by being so loving of my bees and other critters.

If the gardening police show up and haul me off, please send me a cake with a file in it!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 6:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alouwomack(Zone 7)

You got it. I hope they have computer access so you can let me know where you are!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 10:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alouwomack(Zone 7)

Hello again Julianna! Just wanted to say thank you again for the "injection" suggestion you use on your squash. I've only injected once and all 3 of my yellow squash plants are pest-free...not one sign of infestation!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 12:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
julianna_il(z6 IL)

Oh that's wonderful!!!

Now please put your hands above your head and wait calmly for the police.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 2:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

LOL, what becomes of the injected Spinosad, are you eating it? Guess we'll never know, HA HA HA! Guaranteed, nobody ever did any research on the fate of Spinosad when injected into plants. Oh who cares, keep on injecting.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 8:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
julianna_il(z6 IL)

Hmmm, Michael. I wondered why I was feeling kind of drunk after eating the squash.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 11:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Did the dead worm you found smell a bit like Mescal? Twarnt the Spinosad that got'em Julianna ;)

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 9:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alouwomack(Zone 7)

Michael . . . that ingestion thought is, well, a really good thought! I wonder if it is any different than the spray being absorbed on the foliage? Either way, I'll keep spraying/injecting :) and eating the yummy squash :)

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 3:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As far as what the product is exposed to on the plant vs in the plant via injection, there certainly are differences. I.E., inside is not exposed directly to UV and far less to no free oxygen. It is like the fate of an herbicide that lands on a plant vs soil vs water and it's impact due to what acts on it to change it's chemistry. On the surface of a plant, UV can have definite activity on many substances, inside enzymes and proteins can act on them changing their form to something completely different.

I don't mean to huff and puff about legality but keep in mind the research that precedes the release of the substances that are released onto the market that may seem rather benign like Serenade. I seriously doubt anyone did a moment's worth of research into the fate of it when injected into a plant. The label is meant to protect the user and the environment, what is on the label has it's basis in research and carries the weight of law.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 10:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alouwomack(Zone 7)


Huffing and puffing is understandable sometimes :) I totally see your argument on why things are labeled; labels do have a certain purpose for sure. It was never my intention to offend anyone here :)


    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 4:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ain't no thang Amber, there is no point in huffing and puffing here on the GW, just trying to call stuff like I see it with no malice. Besides, I'm way too slow a typist to vent online :)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 4:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As far as the systemic squash spinosad there is a product called Comfortis also spinosad that is a pill for dogs that kills fleas and ticks (sucking insects) while being harmless for the dog. I am thrilled to find out about injecting squash stems because here in N. central Florida I consistently get 1 summer squash before the plants are completely annihilated. I have also found it to work great on fire ants sometimes with all discernible ants being dead by morning. The story I heard of it's origin is that it is a metabolite of a fungus that was found on an abandoned rum distillery.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 6:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As far as the systemic squash spinosad there is a product called Comfortis also spinosad that is a pill for dogs that kills fleas and ticks (sucking insects) while being harmless for the dog. I am thrilled to find out about injecting squash stems because here in N. central Florida I consistently get 1 summer squash before the plants are completely annihilated. I have also found it to work great on fire ants sometimes with all discernible ants being dead by morning. The story I heard of it's origin is that it is a metabolite of a fungus that was found on an abandoned rum distillery.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 7:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Keep in mind that if something sounds too good to be true it probably is. Also keep in mind that any insect poison needs to be used with care and poisons are not a substitute for good gardening practices. There are still many of us organic gardeners that have serious reservations about Spinosad.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2010 at 7:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
julianna_il(z6 IL)

I've gotten a number of emails from people about the Spinosad technique. I know it caused a bit of controversy, and all I'm saying is that it has continued to work well for me.

My first priority in my garden of bugs is the good guys, and of course the precious bees. But I do use the spinosad injection into the base of squash plants, with continued success.

The other thing I continue to use is the Kaolin clay, and I'm actually STILL on the first bag I ever bought from Gardens Alive. I expect I'll finish the bag off this year.

The bad bugs I get are: Japanese beetles, and I hand pick them and they really don't cause major damage. I keep my "can of death" handy, which is just a coffee can of soapy water. They go in there.

Cucumber beetles: very few, but it only takes one with a dirty mouth to infect my cucumbers and kill them. So I use the clay and that definitely helps. I also do successive plantings, and grow varieties that aren't as susceptible to bacterial wilt (which is what the cuke beetles carry): Eureka and County Fair. They carry on if my others bite the dust.

Flea beetles because I grow a LOT of eggplants, many varieties. The clay has really helped with them. I used to powder the leaves with a little diat. earth, which does the trick, but it slices and dices good bugs too, and I'm always concerned about that. So now, I just tolerate any flea beetles I get. On my eggplants, they seem to just do ornamental damage on the leaves. I've never had a plant die from a disease, so if they carry anything, it's not infecting my plants. Flea beetles don't get on anything but my eggplants, so I don't know if they bother other plants or not. If they do, you might grow a couple of eggplants as trap plants. (If you don't already grow them.)

I manage slugs, which used to be a problem, with iron phosphate pellets. This stuff is the bomb and so easy to use.

Squash bugs I handle the old fashioned way: getting rid of the eggs by hand (into the can of death) But you have to be very diligent and get them before they infest. Once they get going, they're out of control and a nightmare. I've only had one infestation, and that was because I was sick and didn't tend the garden for two weeks. Bam.

I don't have aphid problems at all, because I nurture my ladybugs and lacewings. I have butterfly weed next to the veg. garden, and it gets covered in oleander aphids. But that's a lure for the ladybugs and lacewings, and they clean them off in an afternoon. I don't even spray them off anymore, just let my friends enjoy the buffet. And I think if there were any other aphids on vegetables, they took care of them. I get some red aphids on the butterfly weed, too, but my friends eat them almost as soon as I see them.

Another reason to grow butterfly weed: it brings in more bees than you've ever seen. Every afternoon, it's like its own galaxy of bees of every kind. It's just amazing to see, and they seem to understand I'm a friend, and I've never been stung. I have my face literally an inch away from the bees and wasps, and they don't bother me at all. It's bizarre, but cool.

And the other reason for butterfly weed: host plant for monarchs, and you'll see all these wonderful caterpillars that are monarch cats. Then you'll have lots of beautiful monarchs.

The downside of butterfly weed: it's a native plant and can spread, although I like it so much, I like it to spread.

I also do a lot of companion planting, and I think it's helpful. (And fun to plant crazy flowers and things among my vegetables) If you're interested in that, plenty of info on the web, and read one of Sally Jean Cunningham's books on the subject.

And I do continue to do compost and improve my soil. I use compost tea and Maxicrop sprays, plus some fish emulsion, all rather sporadically. I add a little bone meal to the holes of nightshades when planting, and a little guano and some composted cow manure (Black Kow).

That's my operation, and since going organic, I'm having fewer problems than ever. It just all works together and I'm very happy with the results. Much of what I learned, I learned right here in these forums. (Thank you to everyone, esp. Kimmsr)

My real problem now is groundhogs, and I am implementing "The Scarecrow," which got pretty good reviews on Amazon. It's a motion sensor device (was about 50 bucks) that sprays animals with a blast of water when they get too close. I'm crossing my fingers and will see how it goes.

Hope you all have a great gardening season!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 12:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Maybe its just me but I seldom believe in claims that a procuct will kill certain insects without hurting others. Ok so maybe it only affects insects through injestion, but don't beneficial insects often thrive on those who are labeled pest, and what happens when a beneficial insect eats a pest insect that has injested this chemical. Also don't honey bees injest nectar from plants? So what happens to the honey bee who has injested nectar from these plants. Your better of letting mother nature run her course. You can aid in this process by creating a diversified garden and inviting birds, snakes, bats and toads. Why do we feel the need to spray everything with something that some scientist claims to be safe, and in the meantime he handles it with rubber gloves. If we have a diversified garden maybe we would still lose a couple plants to pest, but we wouldn't lose everything, and I don't mind sacrificing a couple plants for the overall well being of the garden.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 11:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If I keep getting cabbage loopers would I be better to start by ordering some ladybugs/beetles online or just go straight to Spinosad - mostly they only seem to effect collard greens and bok Choy - may be a little warm to be growing them which is why I'm getting the loopers? - presently I use no chemicals or fertilizers other than compost. I'm getting really frustrated inspecting every day killing the loopers only to find new holes in the morning.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 9:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

The best way to control cabbage loopers and most caterpillars is BT. It is a bacteria that is very specific and won't hurt beneficial insects. It's sold as Dipel (a powder) and Thuricide (a liquid). It's very effective if you reapply after every rain or once a week, which ever comes first. It's one of the oldest organic controls. I like spinosad for lots of pests, but I think BT is safer and possibly more effective for cabbage loopers and tomato horn worms.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 6:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

LOL... hope I made the right purchases on Amazon. A friend gave me a gift card and I purchased Spinosad, ladybugs, and BT. My ladybugs arrived today and I plan on releasing tomorrow. Will be my first time using spinosad. I've always had troubles with beneficials sticking around long enough to notice any help.

Soupaman, ohiofem is right. BT is the way to go with butterflies and moths---you just have to start early and not let a hornworm get large. Supposedly, umbrella type plants (dill, parsley, carrots, allysum et al) will attract trichogramma wasps which use hornworms for their pupae, is an effective method. BT should take care of your looper problem though. Also, you may want to try kale instead of collards--- I've had much more success growing kale than collards--- from pest problems to bolting to harvest. I can leave kale in the garden for well over a year and hardly ever have to tend to them except watering and harvest. It tastes about the same as collards and actually has a tad more health benefits. Just my 2 cents.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 12:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Why don't we just focus on good gardening practices, healthy soil systems, and doing things the way they are supposed to be done, rather than poisoning and tinkering the environment in a never ending pursuit of lazy bandaid solutions that waste our money? That would seem easier than nuking a garden with chemicals, whether they are synthetic or not.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 10:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"Users of B.t. are encouraged to consult local officials or the nearest EPA regional office responsible for protecting endangered species before using B.t. products in counties where susceptible endangered species of Lepidoptera are known to be present."

"B. thuringiensis appears to have mutagenic potential in plant tissue."
-University of Cornell

...The timing of application of bt is critical, there are several different strains each for a different application, there are other more effective methods as of right now, and all insecticidal regimes produce collateral damage.

Bt has become a last resort and a relic of old schol organics. Spinosad is worse, a honeybee killer, a synthesized molecule that mimics a naturally occurring biotoxin.

"Collateral damage", killing the "non-target", in theory brings on novel, successive and repeated disease pressures, there is always a double edge sword when the gardener has his lazer phazer on. There is absolutely nothing philosophically or inherently safe about naturally occuring poisons.

Essential oils combined with biosoaps along with strong garlic and pepper teas are where it's happening, and planning ahead is always the cornerstone in preventing most all overwhelming pest problems. Much of what we are learning today about "what works best" borrows heavily from lessons learned in permaculture.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 12:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's really not necessary to go to so much trouble to use a debated pesticide in an untested way for squash vine borers when there is a very simple, easy, pesticide-free method for protecting squash plants. Starting mid-summer, check the base of the stems for the tell-tale SVB sign, which is a tuft of rust-colored, digested stem waste left by the borer larvae. Using a thin, very sharp, pointed knife, slit just one side of the stem vertically from the red tuft upward a few inches so you can peak inside. Then, with the knife tip, gently scoop out any borers you find and dispose of them as you wish. (You can't miss 'em: the larva is cream-colored with a brown-black head; see linked photo.)

You many need to follow the rust-colored trail upward by slitting higher if they have been at it for a while, but if you check each time you are in the garden and act quickly, you can usually spot them before they eat their way too far. Once you remove the larva or larvae (I've never found more than one per plant), you just hill up dirt to cover the slit, and then water well.

New roots will grow from the stem and the plant will continue to grow and produce. Be sure to re-hill the dirt over the wound if needed, especially after heavy rain. This has worked well for me every time, no matter how big and bad the slit. It's also super quick and easy and absolutely no pesticides are needed. I learned this from the Victory Garden book by Bob Thomson years ago.

Also, the VG book says some people also try to prevent the SVB like this: tear off about one foot of aluminum foil. Mark the center, and cut a line from one side to the center. Slide this around your plant shiny side up. This supposedly prevents SVB from laying eggs in the first place. I haven't bothered to try this as the surgery system works well for me and I've wondered if the reflection might burn the plant.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 9:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

thought you guys might find this helpful.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 4:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
little_minnie(zone 4a)

The tests done on bee reaction to Spinosad were way out of the norm of usual use; that is in large and fresh quantities. I feel it is the second safest pesticide next to Bt but only for use in a limited and careful way. Definitely is best to use on non-flowering plants like potatoes (most of the year anyway) so bees are not affected. It is safer than truly broad spectrum organic pesticides like neem and pyrethrum which are plant based but more potent. Row covers are a much better idea along with beneficial insects. In my market garden I use Bt on brassicas and spinosad on potatoes and maybe twice a year on brassicas. I use a vacuum for cucumber beetles and a drop of oil for corn earworms. Lady bugs for aphids and I haven't found anything yet for the tunneling leaf miners except row cover.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 7:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

is there no systemic deterrent for citrus leafminers? I've read a couple or three articles somewhere that florida had discovered some tiny wasp as a natural predator, but they aren"t available commercially, at least as far as my limited online research can determine. My older trees seem to be holding up fairly well, but between the asian psyllids and leafminers, my backyard is turning into a very sad place. I have a number of huge flowering plants, including a number of "bee happy" angel trumpet, and I hate to upset my happy bees by spraying just for a decent outcome of citrus from my little newbie trees

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 8:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There are a lot of questions about spinosad in this thread i'd like to answer. I stumbled here researching (out of curosity) spinosad, specifically the systemic application. I'd like to clear some things up about this really strange chemical(s).

What is spinosad

"Spinosad insecticide is based on a compound found in the bacterial species Saccharopolyspora spinosa (S. spinosa). The genus of Saccharopolyspora was discovered in 1975 by Lacey and Goodfellow, who described isolates from crushed sugar cane which produce yellowish-pink aerial hyphae, with beadlike chains of spores enclosed in a characteristic hairy sheath"
It is "derived from a family of natural products obtained by fermentation of S. spinosa"

Spinosad is bacteria poop, in the same way beer is yeast poop. some sceintist found S. spinosa and we eventually figured out how to purify it's wastes into a pesticide. This is why spinosad is certified organic according to many of the certifying boards. In the strictest sense spinosad comes from something living.

Spinosad targets the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in insects. The neonicotinoids also target this receptor in insects. I assume that spinosad is not called a neonicotinoid because it comes from a bacteria, and the neonicotinoids are synthetic chemicals designed to target this receptor.

About honeybees.

Some scientists have implicated neonicotinoids as the causitive agent in colony collapse disorder (CCD). Because of the nature of bees and CCD (bees store food and any poisions in that food over time) it is hard to pinpoint a cause, but there are many good reasons to think that neonicotinoids affect honeybees without killing them, and may cause CCD. Some countries have banned neonicorinoids because of their possible link to CCD. As far as I know no country has banned spinosad.
This artical is about a neonicotinoid, not spinosad.

The systematic use

Using Spinosad systemically is illeagal in the US right now (for gardners). I found this article (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16180075) Where scientists found that by putting spinosad on rockwool, they could get a tomato to take up spinosad. It binds to soil. The tomatoes were protected from mites for 30 days, and the scientists were able to detect the spinosad in the plant at that point. So It stays in the plants for a good while. Since spinosad is broken down by the sun the systematic approach fends off insects for much longer than spraying. So if you used this approach within 30 days of fruiting it is very likely your fruits contain spinosad.

Also, a related chemical, Imidacloprid, is used systemically on dogs to treat fleas (the drops)

About toxicity to predator mites and people.

Spinosad targets the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). These receptors change as lifeforms get larger. Neonicotinoids are very effective against smaller bugs and much less effective against larger ones. They kill mites, thrips, fleas and such at very low dosages, but bees and mammals at much higher dosages.

Other chemicals which act on the same receptor have been shown to mess with bees in sub-lethal doses, causing bees to get lost (one symptom of CCD).

My opinion

I personally use Imidacloprid drops on my dog, and would not worry about a tomato that contained spinosad, because they appear safe for mammals. I would urge gardners to stay away from neonicotinoids and spinosad for use on anything that flowers because of its implication in colony collapse disorder.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 2:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

thank you soulbandaid. About 3 yrs ago I tried Spinosad systemically because Bayer claimed it helped with leafminers and asian citrus psyllids...not so. Then I started reading journal articles, and other articles claiming again and again that spinosad was likely the
no. 1 culprit in CCD. they can't ALL be wrong.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 3:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Imidacloprid has been implicated strongly. Spinosad has just barely been studied on bees. No one knows what causes CCD. Imidacloprid stays active in plants for a year and is marketed as such for ornamental and fruit trees. Spinosad's relatively shorter duration, combined with the lower rates of application mean that spinosad is very well not the main no.1 culprit. If I had to pick one it would be Imidacloprid, but scientist really don't know.

What I meant to point out is that the mechanism of action of spinosad is similar to the neonicotinoids .There are good reasons to belive that Imidacloprid and other neonicotinoids and maybe spinosad too, are causal factors in CCD (In all likelihood there are many causes for CCD)

I found some research where scientists tried to cause CCD with spinosad in pollen with sub-lethal doeses and were unable to do so. So at least one group of scientists have looked into it and found it does not cause CCD. There are also several studies looking at acute toxicity from ingestion by bees, but these don't apply to CCD since most of us think CCD is caused by sub-lethal toxicity (turns out spinosad isn't directly very toxic to bees unless it's wet). So for now you should consider any link between spinosad and CCD speculation and conjecture.

If anyone has any studies where they demonstrate sub-lethal toxic effects of spinosad I would love to read them.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 12:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
little_minnie(zone 4a)

I don't see how it could be the culprit. You would have to know what spinosad is being used on commercially. I don't see it as a main pesticide for commercial farms. Does anyone know what crops they use it on? I know it works well for potatoes and may be used for that, but if so potatoes don't really flower much and so no bees would be in a potato field to be killed. Is it used on fruit trees or something?
In a home organic garden you would be best using it sparingly on non-flowering plants as I said above.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 1:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've had great success with it. Fire Ants gone usually within two days. I use it whenever ants strike one of my container gardens. Product is called "Come and get it"

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 10:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This has been most informative. I think I will definitely try the Surround on my eggplants and squash. But another solution (I hope) has been to get the pest control pop-up tents from Gardener's Supply. http://www.gardeners.com/Tall-Pest-Control-Pop-Ups/40-228RS,default,pd.htm I bought one three years ago for the broccoli and Brussel Sprouts - no worms for the first time ever and great results. So this year I bought the 4' x 4' tent and am growing partenocarpic cucmber (Diva) and squash (Partenon) and eggplant to see what happens. Bugs supposedly will not come in and all are self pollinating. If it works I should get some produce that is bug free. The big question will be how well they all self-pollinate. I will be growing other varieties outside and will check out the Surround.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 10:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've skimmed this long thread. Very interesting. The one thing I didn't see was this. I contacted the Monterey company to ask if Spinosad was a contact or an ingested insecticide and they sad that it was both. Very emphatic. by contact, I assume that means you have to spray it on the insect. So maybe good bugs like ladybugs who don't eat plants and don't happen to be around to get sprayed survive??????

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 5:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It is both...emphatically. Sucking insects via leaves, etc. are affected, as are bugs which come in contact after it's applied. Who is to say when it's ok for beneficials to come in contact after it's sprayed? After a day, after one rain, two? Give up the crop and save the bees if necessary

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 7:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Spinosad can be applied safely with bees in the area within a manner of hours. 2-3 hours after it's applied and "dried" onto the plant it's danger to bees is rather negligible. By the same effect, it's effect on sucking insects (such as aphids) is also rather negligible after that time frame. It's best effect is on leaf munchers rather than sucking insects on whole.

If you apply it during the late evening, most honey bee activity is extremely low at this point. Those with high bee traffic might want to avoid applying it to plants in flower, too. This severely reduces it's effects on bees to a practically negligible amount of impact.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 7:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

While some, manufacturers and sellers of the product, will tell you that it can be applied safely those that have no vested interest in selling Spinosad still have great reservations about its use. Spinosad that directly contacts pollinators is of acute toxicity. Some studies do indicate that if the Spinosad has been applied in very low volume amounts after 3 hours of drying it is relatively non toxic.
This poison is one that needs to be used with great care.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 6:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tried it on my spuds when the CO Potato Beetle adults finally showed up. The next day there were numerous adults dead on the ground below the plants. During the spraying there were lady bugs in the spud plants also, none of them were dead on the ground post spraying and lots were moving and grooving up in the plants, they were apparently unharmed by exposure to Spinosad.

In short, the lady bugs were present in the spud crop long before and after the Spinosad app. and the CPB adults got wiped out by it.

I think the brand was "Captain Jacks Dead Bug Juice", contains both Spinosad A and B.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 3:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was excited to discover information on this organic compound. And now very uncomfortable to realize the broad impact it is capable of on beneficials including butterflies (lepidoptera) etc. Particularly during flowering phases, this has potential for devastation of unintended targets. Be very careful and cautious. There is much unknown about the widespread, longterm IMPACT.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 4:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Heres and idea....Use it in moderation, at certain times and do not spray on flowers or when bees are present? In the meantime, try to foster a healthy growing environment to encourage beneficial insects. I realize sometimes you have to use a certain type of spray but use it sparingly and do not spray on areas where bees would be, ie; open flowers or during the peak time of day for bees.

My 2 cents

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 6:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Somebody used it for SWD?
I am fighting this insects on raspberries without a lot of success.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 11:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know this is from March but I have been struggling with this topic.......The pickleworms came in a whole month early and took me by surprise. Destroyed my squash crop, my baby watermelons, cantaloupes, and a bunch of cukes and took out several vines.

I was very careful in its application after dusk, and it DOES seem there is some collateral damage to pollinators though not large scale.....but am really on the fence. Were it just boring into fruit but they were in stems destroying the plants. If I were to apply again, I would remove ALL flowers from the target plant. They can grow new ones, ya know.

All the impacted plants are producing again and I am closely monitoring for any signs of damage. I am still spraying some inside the blossoms and tying them shut after the bees have had their way (squash; the others are too small to do that with)..I think I could do the same with BT though.

Next year we will change and plant earlier and be more vigilant / I may look at how to use row covers for trellised plants This year, I have upped to a very detailed inspection twice a day. Also need to figure a way to grow my own nematodes. I love those things but too expensive to order for repeated foliar application.

It makes you realize that all those cheap organic foods may be bought with a price; just because something has an organic label on it does not mean that it belongs in a permaculture setting. It seems the possibility for abuse is great.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 9:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm beginning to wonder if some of the religious initiates actually comprehend the severity of bug infestations. Why is everyone assuming it's just "a few plants to sacrifice". I cannot speak for anyone else but I battle both the squash vine borer as well as the squash bug and they destroy EVERY cucurbit under the sun - starting with the squash. And if they're not BEAT to a minimum that year (whether I have plants or not) the next year will be impossible. And why can't these same initiates just be grateful that organic growing trends is a happening.... and a good one.

Ya'll act like we're liberally pouring round up on the ground.

Think about the plants when you turn the ignition switch. Think of the exhaust tearing up the environment. Absolutes are absolutes. Don't be holding anyone else to your own standards unless you're totally pure.

I guess it just gives people a false sense of security to think they're more pure than anyone else.

Relax people.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 1:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Chickencoupe, rather abrasive post. Things we learn in our backyard - some are re-learned from years past - some are going forward.

When I thought about the spinosad, I thought about the tomato hornworm I saw this week with brachnid wasp larva on it. Had I put spinosad on THOSE crops , would the parasitic wasps been killed? probably...this stuff is fed to dogs to kill fleas.....There are always unintended consequences and we seem to constantly screw things up with high tech / corporate chemical approaches.

My personal goal is to find the balance. My grandparents raised their own food without pesticides or antibiotics and ate well. I remember every summer night snapping beans, shucking corn, and days of canning done by my grandmother. And I remember -the quality of that food-part of which has driven me back to organic and permaculture.

By and large I am not seeing what rabid fanaticism prompted your reply. Those few posts raising questions are well thought out. Some real questions. FWIW, I have had NO borer issues this year and I saw them every day. I merely sprayed the stems of my squash with a soap mix (Dr Bronners and water) once a week and used NEEM both as a drench and a leaf wash.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 9:08AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Organic Hydoponic Nutrients
We grow organic vegetables in coco coir and are looking...
little sur farm
Papaya Trees
I'm getting ready to plant a few papaya trees in my...
Septoria leaf spot: Help!... need advice!!
After having tomatoes that were the envy of the community...
Companion Planting Newbie Needs Help
Hi everyone! This is my first post here and I'm needing...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™