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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    watertown,wi.,USA
    Posts
    476

    Default Insect killer for garden plants that is organic and safe for bees.

    I am trying to nurture along my garden at the same time as my bees. The garden is not doing too well. There have been many pests(bugs/insects) that have been eating the leaves of my plants(pumpkin, rhubarb, cauliflower, cabbage, beans). I now that I am a beekeeper I am really hesitant to use any sort of "bad" insect killer, I have also always taken pride in not adding anything to my garden(chemical wise) except water and love. Do any of you know if there is a product "out there" that kills unwanted pests and doesn't affect bees and also is considered organic?
    By the way- I did a search on the site and the rest of the web already, so I apologize if this thread has already been started elsewhere. Thanks, juzzerbee.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Orland Park, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: Insect killer for garden plants that is organic and safe for bees.

    I always use dish soap, the one that liquid that you wash by hand. about 1/2 cup to a gallon of water. spray it on the leaves only not on any flowers. it gives the leaf eating insects the runs and they die from dehydration. I use it on every thing. for slugs use beer on a shallow plate, and crushed eggshells in the veggie garden itself, just sprinkle the shells on top of the ground.
    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Rowley, MA
    Posts
    253

    Default Re: Insect killer for garden plants that is organic and safe for bees.

    if they are caterpillars then BT is a great treatment and will not hurt the bees, there are other insecticides that are more or less toxic to bees but if applied in the evening after flying is done should not have much affect... do a search on organic insecticides.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Insect killer for garden plants that is organic and safe for bees.

    Neem oil is another. Mixes with water and spray on. Works pretty good, depending on what pests you have. Some pests, like tomato hornworms, you just have to search and destroy on your own.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Dexter,MO,USA
    Posts
    124

    Default Re: Insect killer for garden plants that is organic and safe for bees.

    I used BTK as well, worked fine on the corn, 3 worms out of 80 plants. Supposed to be completely organic.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Re: Insect killer for garden plants that is organic and safe for bees.

    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Scott, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    149

    Default Re: Insect killer for garden plants that is organic and safe for bees.

    I have also had some good luck with using Neem oil, spraying right at dark. The only pest it did not help with is the stink bugs in my squash plants.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Insect killer for garden plants that is organic and safe for bees.

    Yes, squash bugs are another "search and destroy" insect!! I hate those!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Insect killer for garden plants that is organic and safe for bees.

    I use Predatory Nematodes and Milky Spore to combat grubs, green lacewings and ladybugs for aphids, diatomacious earth and copper rings for slugs, and pick them off and smush them for hornworms (unless they have white things hanging on them which are parasitic wasps that will eventually kill them). I am also trying out companion planting and a few trap crops. I've read that healthy plants is the best natural defense but while I am working towards that I definitely haven't achieved it.

    I like the dish soap suggestion, I'll have to try that.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,673

    Default Re: Insect killer for garden plants that is organic and safe for bees.

    Have you considered spraying your plants w/ soapy water? Seriously. Soapy water works well on some plants against some pests.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Birmingham, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Insect killer for garden plants that is organic and safe for bees.

    My personal philosophy is not to spray any serious insecticides/herbicides, as I suspect that they kill the predators of the unwanted bugs that serve to keep the pest population in check. Once the predators are gone, the pests will multiply and become worse than when you started spraying.

    Although our garden plants get some leaves chewed on and maybe i lose a few vegetables, my wife's flowers still look great and we harvest enough vegetables to keep us happy. I keep a small spray bottle of roundup for poison ivy and apply it with a q-tip, and my wife has a bottle of insecticidal soap for her roses if the aphids start to bother her.

    We also do our best to research the plants we grow to try to pick varieties that are tough and resistant to many pests.

    If you live in the South, I highly recommend the book, "Tough Plants for Southern Gardens" by Felder Rushing. Everything we have planted from that book has been successful. I'm sure many of the plants would grow in other areas of the country as well.

    I guess I try to look at gardening as a dance with nature instead of a battle.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,515

    Default Re: Insect killer for garden plants that is organic and safe for bees.

    I have fruit trees, vegetable garden, flowers, native plants and bees (of coarse).
    I am using a "complex" approach:
    - sometime just relatively strong jet of water from the house washed out aphids and other "soft-body" insects. It works great on roses and other plants, who could stand the pressure of the water. As any "treatment" (not good for treatment-free forum), it needs to be repeated - I would say at least every week.
    - soapy water works good too. In extreme case you may add a little bit vegetable oil into warm soapy water and energetically shake it - this will kill even scales, but, probably not good on eatable parts (never tried). Note - this mixture may kill bees - apply in the evening, when bees are at home.
    - I usually plant garlic and marigold flowers between other vegetables. Garlic and marigold (probably some others) creates no insects flying zone and therefore protects other plants nearby. I did not notice that it affects honey bees.
    - in our area (beach side SoCal) the fungus is a real problem. It is not possible to eliminate it completely, but timely early spring spray with copper solution helps to control it. It is very clear that time of applying solution is critical, but I did not get how to determine this exact time. It looks like, the best time is when plant is just starting kicking up and juices are pushing, buds swelled, but are not opened yet.
    - I also find that native plants are beneficial to the garden - my understanding is that they do attract native insects who protects the garden. I do not know how it works, but I noticed that we have much less problems with pests since our native garden has been established. Natives attract also birds, may be they helped as well. Natives also good for bees.
    - Ladybugs and other good insects/creatures - of coarse!
    - for slugs - Budweiser beer and cover made of small branches of the Christmas tree, which was kept for this occasion.
    - ANTS - they create aphid's and scale's plantations on your plants for their own needs. If you want to control aphids, scales etc., you need to control ants!
    - some plans are less defensive against pests if deficient in micro-elements such as magnesium, zinc, silica (water-soluble), vanadium, some others.
    Sergey
    Last edited by cerezha; 06-22-2012 at 06:42 PM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Caldwell, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: Insect killer for garden plants that is organic and safe for bees.

    little banty chickens!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    watertown,wi.,USA
    Posts
    476

    Default Re: Insect killer for garden plants that is organic and safe for bees.

    Thanks everyone. I have started out with the soapy water approach at this point. It is hard to tell if it has started to work because the plants are having a really tough time growing here in southern Wisconsin right now. We haven't got much rain over the past month. I am really hoping for some soon so the veggies grow and the nectar really comes in. juzzerbee

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