how does one apply dipel dust?

okiefamilyJuly 30, 2009

this might be a stupid question but I bought a bag of dipel dust and I am wondering how other people go about using it. I assume you put it on the actual plant, but what is the preferred method? Sprinkle it by hand? Put it in a pepper shaker ;)?

Also, is there a big difference between spinosad and bt? from what I've read they are basically for the same purpose, do you agree?

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

There are no stupid questions.

You can apply Dipel with a shaker can if you have one. If you scatter it by hand, I'd wear gloves. If you are going to use Dipel and similar dust products, you might want to invest in a Dustin-Mizer or something similar.

Bt is a microbial pesticide, Bacillus thuringiensis, that comes in several forms. Bt 'Kurstaki', for example, targets needle- and leaf-ingesting caterpillars and it is the one we commonly use for cabbage loopers, imported cabbage worms, tomato hornworms, fruitworms and pinworms, corn earworms, etc. Dipel is a Bt 'Kurstaki' product.

Bt 'Israelensis' comes in both round dounghnut-shaped dunks that you drop into water and in granular 'bits' you can scatter on the surface of water and it targets mosquito larvae, killing them before they can develop from the larval form to the flying mosquito form.

Bt 'San Diego' targets Colorado Potato Beetles. There are other more obscure forms of Bt available through some organic providers but they are mostly used in commercial production for highly specialized purposes.

Each version of Bt targets a fairly narrow category of pest, so it is more of a narrow-spectrum bioinsecticide.

Spinosad, on the other hand, is more of a broad-spectrum microbial pesticide and it targets a wider range of pest. It is organic though, and does not target as many kinds of pests as synthetic broad-spectrum pesticides so it still is safer to use around beneficial insects as long as the beneficials are carnivores and not omnivores. In order for Spinosad to work (and Bt too) it has to be ingested by the targeted pest, and since most beneficials eat other insects and not the treated plant parts, it tends not to affect them. I think it can harm bees so it is best not to use it when bees are out.

So, if I know I am targeting a specific pest on which Bt is effective, I use the Bt that works on that pest since it won't harm anything else and I like to take the approach that does the least harm. If I need pest control of a problem insect that is not affected by Bt, Spinsosad is the choice. So, no, I don't agree they are basically the same because one is narrow-spectrum and the other is broad-spectrum. However, they are the same in the way that they work--via ingestion--and in the fact that both are produced from naturally-occuring microbes. You can use Spinosad on any of the pests that the Bt's are used for and it probably will kill them. However, the Bts are more limited and only work on their target group.

And, if you really love butterflies and moths, be careful using Bt 'Kurstaki' or you'll wipe out your butterfly and moth population.

Hope this info helps.


Here is a link that might be useful: Info on the Dustin-Mizer

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 7:51PM
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Last week, I pulled open the top husks of most of my corn and sprinkled Dipel dust on the top corn kernels to kill the earworms that were in all my ears. I hoped that I was doing it right but really don't know if this is a safe way to use the dust. I had heard that it was approved for organic use.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 11:59PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Bt is a bacteria that targets only caterpillars and similar pests, so it is perfectly safe to sprinkle directly on the corn.

I don't like genetically-modified crops (and don't grow them), but one type of GMO they are making for commercial producers is crops that have Bt inserted into them (I don't know how they do that) and one of the GMO crops is BT-corn.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 8:39AM
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And so when you eat GMO BT corn, your getting a dose of insecticide as well. Better living thru chemistry? I guess I'm just old fashioned but I prefer my corn to not be laced genetically with pesticides.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 11:52PM
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hardin(7 SE OK)

Is there a type of Bt that targets ants and/or fleas? I have a new garden pond, and I had ALOT of tadpoles, which are now toads. They are still very little and I don't want to do any harm to them. But, ants and fleas are a problem.

Thanks, Vickie

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 11:46PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Well, then you need to purchase only organic foods, including sodas (high fructose corn syrup) if you drink them, because you won't find much, if any, corn produced conventionally in this country that isn't either GMO or raised chemically.


For ants, I use EcoSense fire ant granules or Safer fire ant granules, which contain Spinosad. I find the EcoSEnse ones at Wal-Mart. At our Wal-Mart they are on the shelf near the Miracle-Grow and other water-soluable plant fertilizers, and not with the regular pesticides. Wal-Mart's EcoSense line is limited, but at least they have a few organic products there in the store. Safer and other companies also market spinosad-based organic ant killers.

For fire ants, the product you want is Come and Get It (linked below). I haven't heard if spinosad is effective on fleas, so if you try it and it works, I hope you'll let us know.

I've never heard of a Bt that targets ants. The closest thing to a biological control for ants is other ants that eat them (for example, our native fire ants eat imported fire ants) and Texas A&M has been releasing the phorid fly for years (on an experimental basis) and this fly targets fire ants, but it is not even close to being available to home consumers yet.


Here is a link that might be useful: Come and Get It ant killer

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 9:55AM
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hardin(7 SE OK)

Thanks, Dawn. Sounds like what I need. Kill the Queen, kill the colony.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 11:28PM
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I have honey bee hives and am concerned as to wether or not the use of dipel dust in my garden will kill the bees.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 11:53AM
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James --

I know this is a few years after your post . . . still, it might be of help in the future. I have found the #1 best cure for the corn earworm problem is to dust the silks with ground black pepper (like the stuff you would use as a spice when cooking). You can usually buy a sizable bottle for a $1 at most "dollar" stores. McCormack's brand will work too, yet it is quite expensive to use a brand name for such and application. The moths can't stand the pepper, and thus they won't hang around the silks long enough to lay eggs (which later hatch out into what we know as the earworm).

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 9:39PM
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Black pepper for corn earworm... It's almost corn planting season in Florida and I'm always plagued by corn earworm so I'll have to give it a try.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 9:52AM
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black pepper works ok for corn ear worm....but it only lasts about 2 days...and if it rains that is it for the pepper. My Granddad taught me to put a few drops of mineral oil in the tops of the ears of corn when they first set silks by using an ear dropper. it works great and will only have to be done once. I have never had a problem with earworms on any corn that was treated this way, and it is perfectly safe AND cheap (olive oil also works well).

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 2:43AM
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