MauiFaka
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Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 7:45 pm
Location: Maui

Question on Nutes/Neem Oil

I have a variety of vegetables in pots and started them indoors. I have taken on some bugs in the process. I just watered yesterday with nutes and noticed an influx of bugs, can I water with Neem oil concentrate today? I'm watering about once a week, and not sure if I can wait for the bug population to grow until the next watering. I have a few gnats buzzing and in some pots I have very small white bugs that come to play when I blow on the soil. A friend said these were not spider mites but was unsure of what they are. Any tips, help or advice is well appreciated.

MysticGardener67
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Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Lexington KY

The gnats are indeed gnats

Specifically fungus gnats. Some say drenching the soil with Insecticidal soap works, but I never had luck with that myself. Go to garden supply store and purchase "Pyrethrin" based insecticide. It is okay. It is technically organic. Is distilled from a type of daisy.

Apply according to instructions. The white bugs are probably Whitefly. No matter, Pyrethrin spray will fix that too... Apply outside if you can or in a very well ventilated area.

You may have to apply twice, just to make certain you get all the larvae. Oh and yellow sticky traps to get the adults.

cynthia_h
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Location: El Cerrito, CA

Neem oil is typically diluted and applied to plants as a foliar spray. I've used it on veggies and roses. It's not applied to the roots by watering in but rather to the leaves and "upper structure."

What beneficial predators of these gnats (nutes? a new term for me) can you attract? Are there birds around at this season of the year who like the insects? Are there abundant native plants to attract the birds?

Do be aware of *when* you apply the neem, however: it can have negative effects on beneficial as well as harmful insects. When I've applied it, I've done so in calm (no wind) conditions, late in the day so that bees are back safely in their hives, as well as dragonflies and others. Then I spray on (or have DH spray on) the neem.

I wait 7 to 10 days to determine whether the neem has done its job.

Cynthia

MauiFaka
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Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 7:45 pm
Location: Maui

Mahalo to both of you for the great informative replies. I have been using Neem to no avail, my next step is to try the Pyrethrin based insecticide. The white little bugs that move when I blow on the soil, they don't fly, they crawl. They're about the size of a small grain of sand and seem to hang out right below the surface or under particles in the soil. I have noticed a few whiteflies buzzing around. The images I've seen of spider mites don't match what I have. One thing that I'm positive about is these white bugs have legs. I tried to capture them with my camera, and I'm able to get great shots of the soil but can't pick up the insect in photos. If any of this extra info helps in determining this insect, that would be great. Mahalo once again for the time taken to read this and reply.

cynthia_h
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Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Do these crawling insects have soft bodies or hard shells? If they have soft bodies, they may be susceptible to soapy sprays...not detergent, but liquid soaps.

I like to use ends of old bars of soap (I use castile soap and fragrance-free Neutrogena myself, and when I get down to slivers, I just put them into a jar, so they're available when I want a plant-friendly insecticide).

I break off a small piece of soap and dissolve it (stirring) in a cup or so of hot hot hot water. The HOT helps with the dissolving. Then I let it cool off, maybe putting a drop or two--really, that's all--of olive oil in the soap mix.

If you start with liquid soap already, try 1 tsp. per quart to begin with and maybe 1/4 tsp. oil in that same quart.

Put the mix into a spray bottle (or maybe just make it up in the spray bottle, since you won't have to dissolve anything) and spray the daylights out of those bugs.

This works on soft-bodied insects like aphids and ants, and many others as well. I can only vouch personally for the aphids and ants, though. (And if I find ants in my kitchen vs. in my garden, I just spray 'em with the cleaner Fantastik, and that does the job.)

The Neem probably isn't doing the job b/c, to my knowledge, it just doesn't soak into the soil; it clings to the leaves and stems of a plant.

Try the soap if they're soft-bodied. Spray it directly on the bugs, whether they're on the soil or on the plant.

Remember (not directed so much to you as to anyone who may just drop in and read this message): SOAP not detergent.

Cynthia

MauiFaka
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Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 7:45 pm
Location: Maui

Just to follow up with the 2 posters that helped me with this. I ended up buying a Pytherin based insecticide and sprayed the soil of plants that was infected with these unidentified bugs. To my delight, it either killed them instantly or they sought deeper soil. I get no reactions when I blow or move the soil, I'll give it a few days and see what the outcome is. Hopefully this will work. Thank you once again.

a0c8c
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:00 pm
Location: Austin, TX

They could also be fungus gnats, so you might wanna look for mold or another fungus growing in the soil.
Home Gardener from Austin, TX; by way of Iowa.

The Helpful Gardener
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Location: Colchester, CT

The small white bugs were likely [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springtail]springtails[/url], not badguys at all... most common soil insect on the planet and a link in the natural nitrogen cycle...

Coupled with fungus gnats I'd say you were likely overwatering; that might be a place to look at. And if they show back up, someone here (I forget who) put me onto cinnamon to get rid of fungus gnats and it works famously. Cheaper and safer. Try it...

HG
Scott Reil

Toil
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With houseplants I use food grade DE (diatomaceous earth). Friend of mine had bedbugs and used it in his home. It is a good source of silicon, which is supposed to help squashes and most monocots.

Really works on the gnats and allows me to keep my sundews in standing water (which they like).
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