Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew killed my plants

warrensomebodyMarch 3, 2014

We had an incident in our garden recently where the use of Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew killed all the plants on which it was sprayed. This is an organic pesticide that contains Spinosad. Searching google, I can't find any other incidents of this occurring, so I thought I'd ask here if anyone knows how this might be possible.

This same bottle of Captain Jack's has been used by our gardener for the past year, and sprayed on the same plants without incident. It has been stored under a wooden bench on our roof deck in a moderate climate (San Francisco). We did have a few cold days in Jan where the temperature got down to the 30s, so there is a possibility that the near freezing temperature had an effect.

The garden is mostly succulents and passiflora. We use the Captain Jack's to manage a spider mites problem. Within a day of the last spraying I noticed that all the succulents had turned white and spongy, and the passiflora leaves were brown. After a week, all these plants were completely dead. Other areas that were not sprayed were perfectly fine.

I don't know if this stuff can go bad, but it certainly seems like it has. The color of the liquid in the bad bottle is slightly brownish yellow and has a slight odor, whereas a new bottle is clear and has no odor at all. We're pretty sure that no one has tampered with the bottle or put anything else in it. No one has access to our deck but us.

I'd really appreciate any insight anyone might have on this problem. Thank you!

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

Within a day of the last spraying

==>>>> i doubt anything.. short of a flame thrower... works that fast ...

how cold was it.. the week prior ...

even a freeze doesnt work that fast ... the actual cell failure and damage showing days or weeks later ... unless it gets real hot ...

i suspect cold damage ... on the dearth of facts regarding such ...

its hard w/o a pic of two...


ps: shall we presume this was properly diluted and properly applied.. you give no real facts about the application ....

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 5:10PM
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It definitely wasn't cold damage to the plants. The cold spell was weeks before this happened, and the plants looked fine for the weeks following that. The plants that were affected where only those that were sprayed. It might have been 2 days after the spraying that I noticed all the dead leaves. A week later the plants were completely dead.

The Captain Jack's is a ready-to-use product -- no dilution is necessary. And as I said, this bottle had been used for a long time before this incident occurred.

I've included a picture of one of the plants that was hit.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 6:29PM
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Here's another.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 6:30PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

There's nothing in that product that would kill your plants.

Suspect environmental problems. Think you missed something.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 12:58AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Such products can separate out over time or if stored improperly. Temperature extremes are one of primary causes of problems. Once that happens, it is possible that certain ingredients can become phytotoxic and damage can occur very quickly.

I think that this happens more often with pre-mixed products. Never use a or otherwise, that changes color or consistency.

Buy smaller amounts, use them up before the onset of winter, or store in a climate controlled location.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 8:43AM
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rhizo_1 - Thanks for your input. I see that you're a professional horticulturist, so it sounds like you've had some experience with this sort of thing. I wish we had noticed the change in color and odor before using the product. Good advice on storing it in a climate controlled location. I'll pass this along to our gardener.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 12:36PM
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