soap spray, how often?

musicofthelightJune 21, 2007

Hi, all!

Yesterday I noticed a tiny white bug crawling through the soil of my mint plant. I think it might be white fly larvae, but not sure. I only saw one, but I immediately made a spray using a few drops of dishwashing soap and water. Is this safe to use on plants? I've heard some people say yes and others no. How often should I mist my plants with this?

I haven't seen the tiny white bug since I misted yesterday, but today I saw a tiny (extremely tiny!) black bug. Is it safe to mist daily to ensure my mint plant is bug free?

My mint plant appears to be thriving and is even sprouting a baby plant (which is a shock to me as I feel like a beginner in growing plants).

Another thing I wanted to mention in case it makes any sense to anyone out there, it looks like I have fine, small roots growing on top of the soil. Any clue what this means? Perhaps they're not roots, but that's what they look like.

Thanks for your help!

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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

A dash of soap and water are only part of the mixture. You do need to have some kind of bug killer there too. The soap and water mix is only a surfacent which helps to spread the liquid to stick on leaves. What you need to do is either add neem oil, or a pyrethrin to the spray. Both will kill many insects, and neither will have to be mixed with any soap, unless the package says to do this. Dish soap is still quite harsh and can damage some foliage. A milder soap is a Castile type. Glycerin is also an alternative to soap, or a manufactured surfacant of some kind.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 11:29AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

music, it is not a good idea to use a detergent mixture on your plants on a daily basis. I agree with ksrogers that the ideal product for a home remedy would be a REAL soap not a dish detergent. Castile, Dr. Bonners are examples. In my opinion, the insecticidal soaps are the way for most people to go. They are pure soaps, with actual directions for use. And....they DO kill insects without any other additions whatsoever.

However, I see nothing in your post that merits any kind of treatment. Catching sight of something in the soil and a teensy little something on your plant is not cause for the applications of pesticides. They could be benign or even beneficial!

Insecticidal soaps should not be applied as a preventative. These products only work when the liquid comes into direct contact with the pest. Any pesticide activity evaporates with the product. Over application of these materials can result in plant damage.

You are doing the right thing in keeping an eye on your plant. Pest populations can build up quickly. But your first recourse should be plain water...and your fingers.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 2:34PM
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One little bug won't do much harm. You shouldn't need to spray your plants unless you have plague numbers of bugs. A healthy garden has both good bugs and bad, and if you try killing off the baddies, you're also killing off the goodies. Best to let them fight it out themselves. That's called 'balance of nature'.

If you must spray, do it no more than once a week - preferably once a fortnight. A soap spray isn't good for bugs, but equally it isn't good for the plants, either.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 12:32AM
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Thanks for the info, everyone! Thanks for your help.

Have a Great Day!


    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 11:08AM
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I have used simple dish soap on bug infestations with good results--been using it for years. The antibacterial soap will kill plants, it must be simple soap.

I use plants as insect repellants. I have successfully gotten rid of a strawberry bed beetle infestation by planting Santolina amongst my strawberries. Lavender and marigold are planted throughout my produce garden to deter ants. I have chrysanthemums and marigolds planted throughout flowerbeds as insect repellants.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 11:36AM
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