which systemic indoors? and how?

greentoe357August 10, 2014

I took in a lot of new plants this season. Some of them had mealies, but despite my noticing and treating them right away (with soap and alcohol), they kept popping up here and there over the last several weeks.

My collection has become more valuable, and the plants are rather close to each other, so I think a systemic treatment is in order. No kids or pets here. I've never done it before. I've heard Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub (1.47% imidacloprid) mentioned many times before, but when I started looking closer now, I see people also mention the Bayer Advanced Rose and Flower (0.15% imidacloprid and 0.80% tebuconazole). Which one should I use? As long as we are here, I'll also treat other house plants, like orchids and philodendrons and such.

In the past I've also had spider mites and soil mites (not soil mealies - soil mites which are supposedly harmless). No scale, and nothing else harmful so far to my knowledge. Mentioning this to make sure I choose the right poison.

As for HOW to apply it, I am sure I'll have questions there as well, but first I want to make sure I am looking at the right product's label. Thanks.

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The one to use is Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub and the soil needs to be good and drenched. I always used it at a rate of one ounce per gallon of water. I would weigh it on a kitchen scale, or use 2 TBSP/gallon. There was a gentleman on another forum at one time that claimed that was not nearly enough BATS, and he advocated for 6 oz/gal. All I know is the 1 oz/gal ratio, I never had a mealie.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 8:12PM
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Well, as I told you via email, I'd tried using Bayers in the past, in extreme situations, and it failed to do the job. So, between it being so toxic, and it not appearing to work, I just stuffed it in my closet and went back to neem oil and dish soap.

Then, recently, I became concerned about how much soap residue might be building up on my Hoya leaves, because they were just constantly getting sprayed with the stuff. So, I decided to give Bayers another go, hopefully eradicate the mealies for good, and then stop constantly treating my plants. Also, the fact that Doug has no mealies really impressed me.
(Caveat: I grow indoors and would not personally feel comfortable using it outdoors because it's such an indiscriminate killer.)

So, I followed what I loving refer to as "The Patrick Method" which means you wait until the plants are dry, (so they will drink their medicine) then treat them at 2 TBSP/gallon. Then, if you still see mealies a week later, you treat again at 1.5x the original dose (3 TBSP/gallon). I only had to treat one flat twice. And I haven't' seen mealies since. (Well, I have, but because I bought some plants and they came with mealies, and I treated them last night.)

Now, I had one hiccup, and that is that all my ellipticas reacted poorly to the Bayers. I'm not sure what the deal was, but immediately after I administered the treatment, they dropped a bunch of leaves and one of them ended up needing to be re-rooted. In fact, 1 of them is still dropping leaves, but the others all bounced back within a couple weeks. I did have some other Hoyas, randomly distributed in the population, that did the same thing, but I didn't record which ones they were.

Now, GT, you asked whether elliptica was a thin-leafed and/or fragile Hoya, and this is what I have to say on that subject. Elliptica leaves aren't thin and it is as drought tolerant as the average Hoya, but for some reason it's just a very sensitive Hoya. It's perfectly easy to grow and maintain, so it isn't sensitive in that regard. It roots easily and it is no more likely to up and die on you than any other Hoya. But it takes shipping very hard, it doesn't like to be moved, its leaves are easily damaged by sprays and treatments and soaks, and I've had trouble in the past with its leaves turning pale from nutritional deficiency. It's just a weird Hoya in some regards. So, I wasn't really that surprised when it didn't like the Bayers. I don't know if anyone else has had that experience - I'd never heard anyone mention it.

One thing I am interested in, is whether it's okay to use the treatment on plants that are in S/H. I mean, I just went ahead and poured it into my S/H groups and didn't experience any bad reactions. But they didn't have any mealies on them to begin with, and it did get watered down some, so it was a pretty sloppy procedure.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 11:23AM
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Thanks, Doug and GG. I just ordered BATS, this generic analog actually: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Compare-N-Save-32-oz-Systemic-Tree-and-Shrub-Insect-Drench-75346/203112613.

> ...I became concerned about how much soap residue might be building up on my Hoya leaves...

You do not wash off the soap?

My soap spray routine most recently has been: mist them with soapy solution in the bath tub - let sit for 30-60 minutes - give them a good shower (not just to wash the soap - I find it generally very beneficial) - mist with fertilizer solution for foliar feeding as long as they are there - move back to the plant stand to dry off. I like this routine, but am always open to other/better ideas, of course.

> (Caveat: I grow indoors and would not personally feel comfortable using [BATS] outdoors because it's such an indiscriminate killer.)

I understand the reasoning and feel the same. Bees in particular are in deep trouble with all the out-of-control pesticide use. BATS label though says "for outdoor use only": http://www.bayeradvanced.com/system/product_variants/label_pdfs/000/000/100/original_Tree-_-Shrub-Protect-_-Feed-32oz-CON.pdf. I guess it's their liability lawyers speaking - bees don't sue but poisoned people can. I'll be cautious indoors: wipe/wash the runoff, keep food away, wash hands after (shower even better). Any other safety advice?

GG, I got you on the "Patrick method". Apart from possibly that second application at 1.5 strength, how often do you and others repeat the BATS application - any time you see mealies or other bugs, periodically as prophylactic or what? FYI, the label says no more than one application per year. I am comfortable going against the label, but only with a good logical reason and while understanding (as much as I can) why the label says it and what the consequences are.

> One thing I am interested in, is whether it's okay to use the treatment on plants that are in S/H.

Yeah, I wonder as well. Bayer advises to water minimally for 10 days after treatment. If I had to guess how to adapt that advice for s/h, I'd say dump the standing water in s/h pots 10 days after treatment, flush and replace, but before that, just water in sips as needed to barely top up the standing reservoir when almost all the water is used up.

Are there any house plants that should not be treated with BATS? GG touched on sensitivity of some plants. What about those that are not susceptible to mealies and other pests? None are hoyas, but as long as we are here, I thought I'd mention Sansevierias and bromeliads like Neoregelia and Aechmea, and cacti and aloe/haworthia types and agave and sago palm - none of those ever get the pests BATS would be used against (I think) - so then should I skip all those when treating?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 12:49PM
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You're supposed to treat the plants once a year. The poison basically stays in their vein until that point. Kind of like how tick collars expire.

Yeah I think the "outdoor only' is to protect pets and stuff. I do think it's a bunch of legal hysteria. My cat prefers to drink water from the buckets of plant water I leave sitting around, so I had to designate a capped water bottle as my "poison barrel" and never mix Bayers in the buckets he uses. Other than that I don't fret much because it's just not his nature to try to get into the plant drainage reservoirs when he already has a good drinking spot. I'm not sure what kind of a pet would go out of its way to drink dirty water out of such an awkward spot when they were being provided adequate clean water elsewhere. It's not like it's rat poison and intended to attract animals. I even set a dish in front of my cat to see if it smelled good to him and he didn't even sniff at it, so I don't think it smells like anything to them. Just don't leave open buckets (or watering containers) of it lying around is my advice. (Because he will drink out of whatever large containers of water I'm using just because animals infer freshness from agitated water.)

Yeah that makes sense about dumping the S/H water after 10 days. I never worried too much about the 10 days warning because in my conditions I water ~7-8 days, so I just delayed it a bit longer after treatment. I was just worried about whether sitting in the poison water for so long was bad.

Yeah, I haven't really treated my non-Hoya plants, except for the jades and kalanchoes, which apparently are as yummy as Hoyas. The mealies are going to go to the yummy plants and then die. It's not like there will be a population in the unattractive plants that you miss.

I did not wash the soap off. I don't use it anymore, so I don't know that i really need to figure out a future plan for now.

This post was edited by greedyghost on Wed, Aug 13, 14 at 14:32

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 2:18PM
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> I did not wash the soap off. I don't use it anymore, so I don't know that i really need to figure out a future plan for now.

You know, I have a crazy thought of continuing with the occasional weak soap sprays even thought I just treated with the systemic. This has nothing to do with bugs - but I like how clean the leaves look after a soap spray followed by a shower. Plus, soap seems to make leaf surfaces slightly hydrophobic, which means water beads up on the leaves, which makes for killer photos. I am also questioning how good or bad that is for the plants though. It does not happen in nature, and it is not meant to imitate anything that happens in nature, and it cannot be justified with protecting the plants from mealies anymore after the systemic treatment - so that makes it detrimental, I would think. But the photos though!!! Arghhh, the dilemma! :-/

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 4:00PM
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