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Re: insect control


You've raised a good point. You'll notice I used the words "resistant"
instead of "immune" and "usually" rather than "always".  ;-)

There are times when you can't let Ma Nature do it all, particularly, as you
mentioned, if it's an imported pest with no natural controls. Sometimes,
too, the beneficial insect population has been so knocked down by other
folk's spraying, or because of weather, that some help is needed.

Where intervention is needed, I try to use the least toxic method for the
job. Many insects can be removed with a blast of water, or by smooshing
them, or clipping off severely infested branches. Insecticidal soap sprays
are useful for some soft-bodied insects such as Aphids. Ultra-fine hort oils
such as Sunspray will do quite a fair job on White Fly (at least the two
kinds that we get here) and on Spider Mites.

When I used to work in a greenhouse, we also used Cinna-mite, and one year
an IGR for the Poinsettias. The greenhouse owners tried to avoid harsh
pesticides as much as possible, preferring to release predators and do spot
spraying w/ water or hort oil. It's not always possible in that kind of
un-natural environment, though. If nothing else, the high fertility levels,
particularly Nitrogen, make the plants more attractive to insects, not to
mention the inevitable crowding and the need to sell pest-free plants.

I confess to using an IGR in my own greenhouse one year, when the White
Flies were so bad that I couldn't inhale, and you couldn't walk through it
without slipping on the insecticidal soap. It was my fault for not paying
attention, though, and also for bringing in an infested plant that I felt
sorry for. Never again!

(I also should add that I still have my original bottles of both Sunspray
and Insecticidal Soap after many years. Obviously, I don't use very much.)


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "David Franzman" <dfranzma@pacbell.net>
To: "Garden" <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2003 2:39 PM
Subject: [CHAT] insect control

> Hey Daryl
> I just read your letter about allowing mother nature to take care of the
> insects in the garden.  I completely agree with you with this caveat:
> Under your guidelines how should one control an insect invasion from a
> foreign nation or area when that harmful bug has no natural controls?
> There are many instances of this but the two that stand out here are the
> Glassy Winged Sharpshooter (from the southeast) which damages vineyards
> and more important for me and my business is the Giant Whitefly from
> Mexico  which leaves a nasty white stringy goo on Hibs and other
> plants.  Neither of these insects have a natural predator here so I was
> wondering how your philosophy deals with this kind of menace.  (Again,
> in my garden I practice what you describe.)
> DF

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