marty9930
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Neem oil is failing...other minimally damaging pesticide?

We have been using neem oil consistently all summer and it's just flat out not working. We are losing the battle on all our pepper plants to an ant colony, our watermelons have bugs, and we lost our cucumbers.

We had been trying to keep to organic pesticides, but we are losing our garden! Does anyone have a suggestion for some kind of middle ground treatment that is environmentally friendly?
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jal_ut
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Re: Neem oil is failing...other minimally damaging pesticide

Rotenone Powder

Look up Rotenone on Wiki for a description.
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Taiji
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Re: Neem oil is failing...other minimally damaging pesticide

We used to use rotenone powder in our gardens when I lived at home; I didn't know it was still available. I haven't heard of it or seen it for years. I just assumed it was banned since it worked!

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Re: Neem oil is failing...other minimally damaging pesticide

Sometimes tried and true methods won't work for a number of reasons. Bugs develop a tolerance for some natural pesticides. You can try something like Surround, or even an agricultural soap. Maybe get the Neem oil from a different manufacturer. One thing to keep in mind when using these "natural" pesticides is that they don't discriminate which are "good bugs" and which are "bad bugs". They are equal opportunity killers or dispersers. So, the time of day you are spraying may affect your outcome. Many predator bugs feed at certain times of the day and you may be inadvertently killing those and allowing the bad bugs free rein. Something for you to investigate.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Neem oil is failing...other minimally damaging pesticide

RE: We have been using neem oil consistently all summer and it's just flat out not working. We are losing the battle on all our pepper plants to an ant colony, our watermelons have bugs, and we lost our cucumbers.

You need to identify what the problem is and treat with something appropriate to the problem.

Unless sprayed directly on the critters, where it will have some suffocating effect, Neem is generally only effective against leaf eaters. Most ants are not leaf eaters. In what way is the ant colony destroying your pepper plants? Most often ants do not eat living plants. They do often "farm" aphids - bring the aphids and put them on your plants. A severe aphid infestation can cause a lot of problems.

What kind of bugs do your watermelons have? Squash bugs maybe? What did you lose your cucumbers to?

When you have identified the pest/ disease/ problem, then you can treat it with something appropriate/ effective.
Last edited by rainbowgardener on Tue Jul 21, 2015 4:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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imafan26
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Re: Neem oil is failing...other minimally damaging pesticide

I agree you need to identify the the pest first. The insecticidal soaps and oils for the most part work on soft bodied insects and would not be useful for beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, or snails.

If you plant to attract beneficial insects to the garden, and create an ecosystem in balance you will have less need to spray. You will still have pest problems but they should be at a tolerable level. If you do not tolerate any damage and go for the insecticides all of the time, you will likely be killing off some of the insects that keep the bad bugs in control like the predatory mites that eat the bad mites and while neem oil does not harm adult bees they may be harmful if sprayed on pollen that is carried back to the hive and fed to bee larvae. Toads scare me but they do eat slugs and bugs, as do geckos. Some birds will also eat insects in the garden if you provide them nesting areas.

Birds are not always welcome in my yard. They try to nest in my attic and they like to eat papaya, peppers, figs, and tomatoes. They do prey on some of the geckos and slugs but they prefer that I kill the slugs and snails for them. The cattle egrets do eat geckos but they also eat grubs.
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jal_ut
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Re: Neem oil is failing...other minimally damaging pesticide

"We used to use rotenone powder in our gardens when I lived at home; I didn't know it was still available. I haven't heard of it or seen it for years. I just assumed it was banned since it worked!"

Hmmmm....... it is still available here. I just bought some at our local IFA store. Check at farm supply stores. Make some phone calls and ask?
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marty9930
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Re: Neem oil is failing...other minimally damaging pesticide

rainbowgardener wrote:RE: We have been using neem oil consistently all summer and it's just flat out not working. We are losing the battle on all our pepper plants to an ant colony, our watermelons have bugs, and we lost our cucumbers.

You need to identify what the problem is and treat with something appropriate to the problem.

Unless sprayed directly on the critters, where it will have some suffocating effect, Neem is generally only effective against leaf eaters. Most ants are not leaf eaters. In what way is the ant colony destroying your pepper plants? Most often ants do not eat living plants. They do often "farm" aphids - bring the aphids and put them on your plants. A severe aphid infestation can cause a lot of problems.

What kind of bugs do your watermelons have? Squash bugs maybe? What did you lose your cucumbers to?

When you have identified the pest/ disease/ problem, then you can treat it with something appropriate/ effective.
Thanks to all of you for the replies,

This is Marty.... As far as problems go, I was able to do a little investigating; the watermelons seem to have, well, birds. I safely assume that neem oil is not for them. The ants are certainly "farming" aphids on our pepper plants, and there does seem to be something eating up the leaves. The plants themselves appear green and healthy, but they are struggling to produce, and when they do produce, the peppers aren't even close to what they used to be.

The cucumbers have something boring through the leaves, and I cannot seem to find where I saw a post about what that might be. And that counts for not, as the heat alone seems to be killing off the vines anyway, so the cucumbers are out for now.

Our little test patch was precisely for identifying these kinds of problems before we sow the big garden.

I'll do some looking for the other products mentioned and see if they will work. We have a bit of a restriction on products. The property we are farming is owned by someone else and they say, "No chemicals," but that seems to leave us feeding only the local wildlife... lol Maybe we'll find something in the middle?
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Neem oil is failing...other minimally damaging pesticide

No chemicals leaves a lot of room - aphids and soft bodied creatures are vulnerable to soap sprays. Caterpillar type pests are vulnerable to Bt. Leaf eaters are (usually?) vulnerable to Neem. Lots of things are at least repelled by garlic- pepper spray. Anything that crawls (ants, caterpillars, slugs, etc) is vulnerable to diatomaceous earth.
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Re: Neem oil is failing...other minimally damaging pesticide

I gave up on Neem Oil, however, I did not buy 100% Neem Oil as the bottle said only 70% Neem Oil. I would spray it on the bugs and they would just sit there and chomp away. I called my garden center and they said it may take a few days to work, but it didn't.

However, I was very successful with using a red pepper spray that I made myself. I combined tobasco sauce (2 tbsp) and red cayenne pepper (2 tbsp) from a shaker + a little oil and a few drops of soap detergent (Dawn) in a gallon of water. Let it sit overnight. It took three times of spraying the Pepper Plants and MorningGlories, now they are thriving. I was finding an entire leaf missing in the morning and it usually happens at night. Now the bugs, which I think were beetles, are leaving my Pepper plants and Morning Glories alone and they are growing. However, still waiting for the peppers.

Anyway, the red pepper homemade spray was a success over Neem.

Debbie

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Re: Neem oil is failing...other minimally damaging pesticide

I hardly spray for bugs and only when I have to.

I do put out ant bait. Controlling ants controls a lot of pests: aphids, mealybugs and scale. Controlling sucking pests control sooty mold.

I do use slug bait. I do not have toads, ducks, or chickens which would do a better job but the ducks and chickens would eat my plants too.

White flies are a problem every couple of years. It is a predator/ prey cycle. They are eaten mostly by purple lady bugs and when the lady bug populations are down the white fly rises. White flies are highly resistant to pesticides, so I have white fly trap plants. Mainly my hibiscus. They attack it and leaves most of the other plants alone. They also like bindweed. I use mechanical controls on the hibiscus and wipe each leaf with a sponge and soapy water. It is not a big plant. When it gets really bad I cut the hibiscus back; bag and trash the infested leaves. I plant corn which attracts the purple ladybugs. I have fennel at the herb garden and it pretty much is a host for lady bug larvae, it is a trap plant for aphids and the blooms attract other beneficial insects. Fennel has to be planted in a corner by itself.

Bt for caterpillars

Beetles: Chinese rose beetles are easily controlled by planting roses under a light. I don't have Japanese beetles.
Pepper weevils are a seasonal problem. I have to inspect and remove all of the infested peppers and plant the peppers in a different location the next year. Most of the beetles are taken care of by the garden patrol mostly geckos, skinks, and sometimes the birds. I have removed most of the grass in my yard so their isn't much of a breeding ground for them. Milky spore applied around this time of the year to the turf and weedy areas will kill the grubs and that means fewer beetles later on.
I used a Japanese beetle trap years ago and caught a lot of beetles that way. I did place the trap as far away from the target plants as possible. I have fewer problems with beetles now so I stopped using them. If the floral lure is not removed in the morning, it will also trap bees.

The geckos also eat caterpillars, mosquitoes and the occasional fly, but most of all they really love earthworms.

I put out fruit fly traps.

Birds will eat my fruit. They usually go after the papaya and large tomatoes, but they also like strawberries, figs and orchids. I have used netting. I have to cover my seed tray so the doves will not eat the pepper seeds. I pick tomatoes at first blush, sometimes the birds will go after green tomatoes, then I just pick the largest ones early.

Leaf miners cause minor damage. I tolerate it.

Thrips: very unsightly but for the most part their predators will keep them in check if I don't spray. Keeping the plants healthy makes them less of a target. I pull weak plants that attract bugs.

I do plant nectar and pollen plants to attract beneficial insects. Fennel, marigolds, and alyssum are the favorites.
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jal_ut
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Re: Neem oil is failing...other minimally damaging pesticide

Rotenone occurs naturally in the seeds and stems of several plants. It is not a man made chemical insecticide.
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imafan26
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Re: Neem oil is failing...other minimally damaging pesticide

rotenone is hard to find around here. Studies have linked rotenone to parkinson's disease and some endocrine disorders. It is also toxic to fish. It is a class II pesticide, a moderate hazard to use. It does have toxicity to animals but it depends on the source and some animals are more sensitive than others.

In South America rotenone from plant sources were used to paralyze fish forcing them to float up where they could be easily caught.

It is listed for use on leaf chewing caterpillars.

All pesticides whether synthetic or organic have potential side effects, so read and follow label directions and precautions.
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Taiji
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Re: Neem oil is failing...other minimally damaging pesticide

It also works great for paralyzing prehistoric creatures that somehow come alive again. Take a look at the classic sci-fi movie Creature From the Black Lagoon! :eek:

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Re: Neem oil is failing...other minimally damaging pesticide

Rotenone is dangerous to humans, period. Which is why it's probably not widely available. Surround (a suspension of kaolin clay) might help because the critters don't like walking on it. But you have to get enough of it on the leaf surface to be effective. Diatomaceous earth can help. It's a powder the puts sharp jagged edges (from the diatoms) on the leaves that tears open the abdomens of the bugs. It's unlikely that either will help with ants. They are a tough bug. We don't have any problems with them in this area so I can't advise as to how to prevent their attacks on your plants. You might want to try another maker of the Neem oil as this sometimes will help. If you haven't already figured it out, organic and/or natural pesticides aren't necessarily safe or effective. The time of day and weather might be having an negative effect on your efforts. Those types of insecticides don't discriminate between good bugs and bad bugs. You might be killing good bugs.

What kind of bugs are you have a problem with? The ants I understand, but bugs is a bit non-descriptive.
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jal_ut
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Re: Neem oil is failing...other minimally damaging pesticide

I had a large concentration of ants come up on the edge of the back sidewalk. Thousands, in a bi g pile about two feet long and a foot wide. I just made a bucket full of warm water with some dish-washing detergent in it and went out and poured it on the ants.......... good bye ants.

Note: A teaspoon of dish-washing detergent in a small spray bottle with water is very effective in getting rid of many insects.

Note: Rotenone rapidly biodegrades under warm conditions, so harmful residues are minimal.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotenone
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