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Article: How to Spray Weeds and Insects Without Killing Everything Else: How do I make an effective insecticide!

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Forum: Article: How to Spray Weeds and Insects Without Killing Everything ElseReplies: 6, Views: 189
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thethorinator
Clinton, MA
(Zone 5a)

June 9, 2008
11:03 PM

Post #5078916

Hello there,
I have been told by someone online that, based on a picture of a mature leaf that I have an issue with flea beetles on my bell pepper plant. What is liquid soap vs detergent--does that include liquid hand soap or a liquid dishwashing soap like dawn, etc? I want to kill them ASAP as I think they may also be hitting my most mature tomato leaves if that is even possible? If someone wise or the author knows the answer...I have attached a picture of a close-up for anyone to make a diagnosis of sorts. Oh, an aside but may still be important..the bugs are leaving the upper, tender/new leaves alone surprisingly enough, it sits on a balcony, isolated from anything but an old bag of organic garden soil by Miracle Grow which is several feet away and it sits several feet from a Pin Oak Tree. Also, the area is completely sheltered from the sun. Also, for an outside purpose, how do you make an organic weed killer as I am disabled and cannot pull up the weeds bugging my perennial seedlings, threatening to obliterate them completely? Sorry for being needy! :-)
Thanks very much!!
Thor

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tonileland
Uncasville, CT
(Zone 6a)

June 9, 2008
11:18 PM

Post #5079001

Hi thethorinator,

My research into flea beetles says they prefer seedlings and new growth, so I don't think this is the pest you have. I can't tell too much from the photo as it's fuzzy. However, whatever is eating your pepper can be eliminated with insecticidal soap spray. You might have to treat the plant very early in the morning, since many damaging insects retreat to the soil when the day lights/warms up. Cutworms are a good example (although this doesn't look like cutworm damage).
I think any kind of liquid soap will work--I'm still trying to determine what ingredient turns the product into a detergent. I've used Dawn with good results. I also have some SoftSoap hand liquid with a scent I hate, so plan to use that too.

Good luck!
thethorinator
Clinton, MA
(Zone 5a)

June 9, 2008
11:59 PM

Post #5079324

Good idea Tonile [cool name too!] You probably have the same issue I do with name if that is your real-life name which is both a blessing a curse both for a single reason, everyone can remember it and nobody can forget it! Ok, sorry...no flea beatle likely then, so a few questions for you: 1) Say I use Dawn (think ours right now is anti-bacterial, but still) or Softsoap which seems to have coconut, once again for the base ingredients amongst several others LOL, do I have to worry about it harming surrounding plants and 2) What is the dilution for a standard spray bottle to get rid of the pest and 3) I know the leaf is unsightly, but it is still one of the largest leaves on the plant...remove it or treat it and keep the leaf until I transplant it. Oh, by the way, I did use sterile Miracle Gro seeed starting mix for this plant which is is still in along with a 1/2 Miracle-Gro Potting Mix for Vegetables and Flowers, so the soil shouldn't be bad and if it was exposed to real rain or sits in dank, nasty water, I would worry about mold, but I doubt that is what it actually would be. Oh dear one more question: How long after I treat the affected leaves (or should I spray the whole plant?) can I perhaps transplant this big guy--in a 5" pot and 2 1/2' tall--into a planter with my other plants? Thanks again, by the way!!!
Blessings,
Thor
tonileland
Uncasville, CT
(Zone 6a)

June 10, 2008
10:38 AM

Post #5081294

1) The spray will not harm any plants, but be sure to keep the plant in the shade until the spray dries; this way, the plant won't get sun scorch on the wet places.

2) What is the dilution for a standard spray bottle to get rid of the pest: see the article for the recipe.

3) remove it or treat it and keep the leaf until I transplant it: if the leaf is one of the lower ones (first ones that emerged), take it off after you transplant. It will probably die anyway.

4) How long after I treat the affected leaves (or should I spray the whole plant?) can I perhaps transplant this big guy--in a 5" pot and 2 1/2' tall--into a planter with my other plants?: spray the whole plant to be sure, and the soil around it as well.

After the plant is dry, transplant it into the windowbox. Starter plants should be put into permanent containers as soon as possible after purchase to avoid the roots growing around and around.
thethorinator
Clinton, MA
(Zone 5a)

June 10, 2008
3:31 PM

Post #5082485

Hey Tonile,
Thanks so very much for directing me back to the article. I have bad ADHD from mulitple factors so I often don't completely scan every last thing which is a pain in my online med. terminology course, because if I'm cocky or too sure that I got every question, I don't look to see if I missed any questions and poof DOWN goes the grade because dumbsazz forgot his double-checking procedure.

Anyway, thank you so very much for your help...it has been absolutely invaluable!!
Blessings,
Thor
tonileland
Uncasville, CT
(Zone 6a)

June 12, 2008
12:45 PM

Post #5091955

Hey Thor!
I just got to thinking about your leaf damage...it could be earwigs. They do like veggies. Check under the pot to see if they are hiding there. Do it early in the morning. If you find them, then that's your problem. Insecticidal soap should do the trick to eliminate them.
thethorinator
Clinton, MA
(Zone 5a)

June 20, 2008
1:58 PM

Post #5132507

Hello...sorry I've been so long getting back to you all!
I GOT TO TELL YOU...TONILE...YOU NAILED IT BIG-TIME on that last post! I have found two creepy crawlies, both of them are everywhere and both of them gross me out: Carpenter Ants & Earwigs!!! I did as you said as soon as I read the post in the bottom of the pepper plant's pot as it is sitting inside of a larger one, metallic and B-I-N-G-O there are a gigantic 1"+ in length, and I'm not prone to exaggerations. I'm shocked it could even climb into a metal urn? And, am I right to figure if there is one in there (maybe they got inside the pot and when I put the original pot into the urn, I transferred them and they've been living a happy life eating up my pepper and thereby reproducing) that more earwigs are likely hiding in the soil? I was told by a friend that, since I am very allergy prone and that I have a kitty who likes to go out onto the deck, to sprinkle some diatemcious earth on them and around the area and that as soon as it touches one it will die within 48 hours, but that's where I get lost...what happens to the rest of them? And, I've realized that the whole building has carpenter ants everywhere which looks like what ate my crinum lily off as clean as a paring knife, so I sprinkled some of this all over the exposed bulb and they haven't eaten any more of it! Since we are rather in the country, I doubt that even an exterminator could be rid of these pesky critters so I have put some of this fine powdered stuff into a spice shaker and, it says that it kills all crawling insects, so I've been sprinkling it lightly all over the whole planting bench, under the pots, around the rims, and anywhere I see an ant or two traveling, I get them and that little path. I was told they follow the same tracks which makes me wonder, does this stuff go back to the next too and do any collateral damage to the rest of them, if I get it on the workers? The soldiers do love to hide in ANY soil that they can get into, even my bags of potting mix!!

Thanks for the help! These crawling critters aren't as bad as poisonous snakes, but to my plants, they're worse it seems!

Sincerest Gratitude,
Thor

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Other Article: How to Spray Weeds and Insects Without Killing Everything Else Threads you might be interested in:

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