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Is malathion going to kill me.

This is a discussion on Is malathion going to kill me. within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I have read in these forums that malathion is a good insecticide, but is it ...

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  1. #1
    paphanatic is offline Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    Default Is malathion going to kill me.

    I have read in these forums that malathion is a good insecticide, but is it safe to use on plants that I kep in my bedroom. I was at the hardware store and it said that enhaling or even skin contact was bad. I thought I remembered people saying that it was indoor safe. Anyways, someone please help clear up the mystery. By the way, the bugs that I'm trying to get rid of are potato bugs or pill bugs, whatever you call them. I can't seem to get the darn things out of my potting mix and I even repotted and sprayed down the roots with insecticide.

  2. #2
    Jmoney's Avatar
    Jmoney is offline Senior Member
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    paphs, phrags, catts, vandas
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    May 2004
    West Hartford, CT
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    Malathion is an organophosphate compound. You may hear that they affect the same group of receptors as some of the potent nerve gases like sarin or VX; however, those agents are neuro-selective (i.e. causing paralysis) and malathion is not. Organophosphates produce other effects--most notably increased lacrimation (tearing), salivation, increased bronchial secretions. It is this latter that is the most fatal; however keep in mind that a little malathion won't kill anyone. I myself have bitten into a tomato in the past that was heavily laced with malathion, thanks to some idiot local farm that must have harvested too soon after spraying. I was salivating like pavlov's dogs, but it would have taken a lot more exposure to cause serious problems.

    That said, I would *not* use malathion in the home. It stinks to high hell and its effects are not appropriate for home use, if you ask me. Wear gloves and some type of face protection when spraying outdoors and you shouldn't have any problems. I'd air the plants out for at least a day or two before bringing inside.

  3. #3
    LJA's Avatar
    LJA is offline OrchidTalk Tech Admin
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    Louis J. Aszod
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    Clarksville, Arkansas
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    I agree: Malathion is not appropriate for spraying indoors. It works very well, but, as Jason said, be sure to apply it outside, and leave the plants outdoors for a few days to let the smell dissipate. If you pour the mixed solution through your pot a couple of times, that should kill any pill bugs (and most anything else) that might be lurking in the medium.

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