Insecticide Pyola: the succulent KILLEr!

bonsai_blissMarch 8, 2008

I used the insecticide Pyola (89.5% canola oil, .5% pyrethrins, 10% inert) to get rid of a mealybug infestation on some of my succulents. Most were unharmed; but some were.

I would not recommend using Pyola on:

Crassula Ovata

Crassula Hobbit

Crassula Gollum

(or any tree like crassula)

Caused: dark brown spots.

Crassula Corumbalsola

Caused: edges of leaves to decay and scar.

Graptopetalum Pentandrum

Caused: internal leaf bruising (looks to me like they will soon fall off.)

Sedum Burrito

Caused: leaves to fall off

Echeveria Pulv-Oliver

Caused: leaves to fall off

Echeveria Black Prince

Caused: dark brown spots

Aeonium Haworthii

Caused: warty patches (looks like the pores were clogged and sweating canola oil)

Pachyveria Glauca

Caused: dark brown spots.

Sedum Nussbaumerianum ssp.

Caused: No visible damage, but leaves were extremely frail and fell off very easily.

It appeared to me that the more succulent the leaves, the greater the damage. For example, my aeonium haworthii was affected, while my aeonium atropurpureum, and other, less fleshy aeoniums, were not. The greatest damage done to any of my plants was my Graptopetalum Pentandrum, which has very dense succulent leaves.

I think that maybe the canola oil was clogging the pores in some plants, and in other plants (such as in the crassulas) the active ingredient, pyrethrine, seemed to cause an adverse reaction, causing brown spots, frail leaves, and even internal damage.

All in all I think that there will be about 4 or 5 casualties, 2 small echeveria pulv-oliver, 2 small sedum burritos, and another sedum which I was not able to classify. I really hope that the other, larger plants will survive.

I think that if I ever use Pyola again it will be on the plants that im sure can withstand its effects. Perhaps Pyola was formulated for more leafy, non-succulent plants.

Does anyone have any recommendations for an insecticide that they have used on an array of succulents over a span of time with great success?

Thanks a lot!


Here is a link that might be useful: My succuelnt collection page

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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

All the succulents you mention are renowned for sensitivity. Spraying in the cool and keeping the plants out of the sun for a few days may help but you could still get damage. Oils in general are just not good for them. Try an insecticide with just the pyrethrins and no oil. Watch out for anything you spray on those nice grey leaves, even water can mark them bloom and it never recovers.

Or use the systemic Imidacloprid and apply as a soil drench. Note that Imidacloprid won't kill mites, but is great on mealies.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 6:23PM
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dufflebag2002(Calif. 91607)

Oh dear I have been doing every thing wrong and no damage yet. I have used Windex, Mr. Clean, soap and water, Amay soap with coconut oil, and no damage. Any plant that has a bloom all fingers, soaps, oils should be kept off the leaves. I am so glad that you posted the above post, it will help all of us. Norma

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 7:01PM
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I've been reading some new info about used coffee grounds as a way to combat scale and mealies. Do a google search for "cycads + mealie + coffee" and you'll get some good reading.

Apparently the alkaloids found in coffee will kill those pests. It works systemically and topically.

A spray wouldn't be good for your succulents because they will probably discolor, but try watering with diluted coffee. As a benefit, it will also help to lower the soil pH and if you have enough plants your grow area will smell like Starbucks.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 3:07PM
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Thank you all for your follow-up posts;

First hand knowledge is always better than just random information you may stumble across on the internet.

I never realized how fragile my succulents truly are. I'd never had any problems with pests before, now that I have, I think that inorganic, oil based, topical pesticides are just not the safest bet. Succulents are just too sensitive.

I'll have to do some research on some of your suggestions, as I should have done before I used Pyola. As the days go by, more and more evidence of tissue damage unveils itself.

In an effort to get rid of the excess Pyola, I filled a spray bottle with warm water, and gave all my plants a thorough spritzing. However, considering canola oil is much more dense than water, it's probably just an exercise in futility; the damage has been done. My next strategy for combating pests will be much more benevolent in nature.

I really like the idea of using coffee grounds, not only is it readily available, but it's organic, and it works systemically (not to mention I love the smell of coffee). I will have to do some research on it.

I've never heard of Imidacloprid, but right now I am kind of leery of using anything that nature herself hasn't provided. I think if the problem with the mealies persists, coffee is set to be the front runner to fight round #2.

Although I haven't reserched it first hand, there are also a few other organic pesticides that I've heard work well; one called diatomaceous earth and another called neem oil. If anyone has any experience treating delicate succulents with these pesticides, please, don't hesitate to post!

Thanks again for the advice.


Here is a link that might be useful: My succuelnt collection page

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 6:48PM
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I took a look at your pics. I have a few other suggestion for you that would help get rid of pests:

1. Blast a fan 24-7 on all your plants while they are struggling near the window during the cool season.
2. If possible, keep them dormant where it is cool.
3. Make up a new batch of potting soil without peat, and repot all your plants. They will be much better off than what they are in right now, which appears to be a heavily peat-based mix.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 8:28PM
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Thank you for your suggestions xerophyte nyc.

I have not updated that webpage in a while; since then, I have acquired almost a hundred new species.- I have been very busy purchasing, and researching my succulents, in an effort to prepare myself for the upcoming growing season. This summer, I hope to have an adept knowledge of all my plants and even start hybridizing some of them.

I should really update my collection page, my collection has almost doubled since some of those photos were taken. But I think I'm gonna hold off until spring; what a marvelous sight it will be, all of my plants laid out on my back porch, basking in the filtered sunlight. I can't wait!

Thanks again!


Here is a link that might be useful: My succulent collection page

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 10:21AM
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