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Bug Killing Time

This is a discussion on Bug Killing Time within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hello All; Well, I keep finding signs I have something tiny making webs on a ...

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  1. #1
    Cjcorner's Avatar
    Cjcorner is offline Senior Member
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    Question Bug Killing Time

    Hello All;
    Well, I keep finding signs I have something tiny making webs on a couple of my Phals. I went and bought the Neem oil stuff....100% strength. So now what do I do and what are the warnings?? I see alot of people saying it needs to be sprayed outside, why? I also see I'm supposed to do it three times, roughly every four days or so, is that correct? Can I water with it too so that I get whatever is down below or will that bother the roots?
    Any other suggestions?
    Thanx for your help
    Connie

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    I get webs on the top of the Phals. but they are the tiny house spiders not plant suckers .
    Take a good look before treating , I can't help with the neem don't like it , it is oily if the plant is in the sun will cook the leaf . Gin

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    wetfeet101b is offline It's not dead! It's just permanently dormant.
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    Just some info about Neem oil and its uses in insect control for gardens:
    1. Neem oil is not an insecticide. It does not kill insects (residual or contact).
    2. It is an antifeedant. What it does is it coats the plants with a substance that is unappealing to the insects.
    3. Its general appeal is that it protects your plants by keeping herbivorous insects away, but not dangerous to other beneficial insects that are not herbivores.
    4. It is natural oil based, so you should not use it during high temperatures or under bright direct sun as the oil will cook the leaves.
    5. Again, it will not kill insects (unless for some reason they got smothered by the spray). The bugs will live for a few more days until they starve to death or move on to other unprotected plants.
    6. They have a distinct smell - whether it is good or bad it depends on the individual noses.
    7. Neem oil only coats the plant so it eventually gets washed away. Repeated applications will be necessary to make sure that the plants are protected the entire time while waiting for the bugs to starve or go away.

    To kill insects faster, you will need either a plant-friendly pesticide or horticultural soap. Pesticides are the most effective but can also be quite dangerous.
    Horticultural soap (even home made will work) works by first dissolving the insect's wax or oil-based protective coating. Once this coating is breached (even partially) the insect will dehydrate and die.
    Sometimes, it can also destroy the protective coating of the insect's eggs that are hidden in tiny spots in the plant/pot.
    But it is not a contact killer and leaves no poisonous residue so it is only effective for a few minutes after spraying, requiring the treatment be done repeatedly over several days to be fully effective.
    Even if the insect survives the initial loss of protective coating, this opens them up for natural parasites that can now invade their bodies.

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    Good information !
    My daughter had spider mites, I mean her plants did I got rid of them with Safers used every 3 days .
    A lot of the other sprays Orthene ect. won't kill them . spray wait 3 days wash leaves, spray, wait , wash, 3 times . Take no prisoners ! Gin

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    Thanx for the great info. I do like the idea of it being non-toxic since the product is going to be in my breathing space in the living room window. I'll just keep the hot sun off for a few days. I sprayed a couple so far and they are under the ceiling fan drying off before they go back onto their shelf space.
    Again, thanx for the info....there is one of the phals in particular that I am concerned about and it's one of my spottie favorites. Can't have it sick, it's my best spiker.
    Connie

  6. #6
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    Hi! Can you mix "horticultural" soap yourself or would you have to buy it ready mixed? How about virgin coconut oil, would this be as effective as the neem oil?

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    I actually found a suprising mix that works like a charm. Mix a teaspoon or so Murphys oil soap with the neem oil. They are both all natural which is (translated) stinky but effective. I try to do it on nice warm and windy day so the stuff dries quickly.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by wetfeet101b View Post
    2. It is an antifeedant. What it does is it coats the plants with a substance that is unappealing to the insects.
    As I recall, in a test done with locusts the results were rather interesting. The test involved 3 lucust each of which was presented with a different situation. # 1 was in a container with a highly munchable plant. #2 was in a container w/ same kind of plant that had been treated with a pesticide. #3 was in a container w/ same kind of plant that had been treated with neem. Not surprisingly in container 1 the plant was devoured. The locust in #2 still ate the plant but died from poisoning. The locust in #3 chose to starve to death rather than eat the plant.

    Of more interest to me was WHY. From what I remember reading, a chemical compound in neem interferes with an insects ability to molt. Insects have apparently been 'preprogrammed' to recognize and avoid such compounds.


    Quote Originally Posted by wetfeet101b View Post
    6. They have a distinct smell - whether it is good or bad it depends on the individual noses.
    It is definitely a pungent smell. Wouldn't really call it unpleasant though it is also not something you would dab on to impress before a hot date.

    Quote Originally Posted by wetfeet101b View Post
    Horticultural soap (even home made will work) works by first dissolving the insect's wax or oil-based protective coating. Once this coating is breached (even partially) the insect will dehydrate and die.
    But it is not a contact killer and leaves no poisonous residue so it is only effective for a few minutes after spraying,...
    Interesting. I had understood the mechanics a bit differently.

    For even an insect to dehydrate and die would take some time. Yet soaps/detergents can & do kill terrestrial arthropods quite quickly. But to explain that I must digress -- at the risk of boring the pants off of you. (So you may want to just skio this whole next part)

    The exoskeleton of insects and other arthropods is composed of chitin, and may in some cases be additionally covered with the thick waxy/oily coating John mentioned. (I don't believe all insects have a waxy coating but perhaps I'm forgetting things) In any event the materials in both cases are hydrophobic -- water repellant.

    Soap/detergent molecules have both a hydrophobic end and a hydrophilic ("water loving") end. It is this quality that makes detergents so handy for removing greasy/oily substances from skin,dishes and clothing. Essentially the hydrophobic end bonds to an oil molecule while the hydrophilic end bonds to a water molecule. The attractions involved are strong enough to pull the oil molecules away from the dish/ skin/whatever and carry them away with the water (dissolve).

    You might have noticed insects with beads of water on them after having watered the garden or after a light rainfall. For that matter, have you ever tried to drown a bug? Thrown an unwanted 6 legged interlope in the commode/toilet? It does not drown easily. And even if thrown down into the water body (bucket, toilet, etc), a bubble of air surrounds the insect and it generally floats back up to the top. This is a result of being hydrophobic. If soapy water is used however, the insect will sink -- usually immediately. Even a bug heavily sprayed with soapy water, IME, generaly dies VERY quickly. Because the soap also binds to water, it prevents water form beading up & air bubbles from forming and and instead allows the insect's body -- most importantly the spiracles (breathing apparatus) --to be covered in a suffocating film of soapy water. In the case of mealies and scale, though it would make sense that the soapy water, even if it didn't get down to the spiracles would at least wash away their protect coat and thus expose them to poisons/pathogens.

    Sorry. Got a bit carried away it seems. Hope I didn't bore everybody to tears there.

    But perhaps hort soaps work a bit differently?

    Quote Originally Posted by nyortiga View Post
    Hi! Can you mix "horticultural" soap yourself or would you have to buy it ready mixed? How about virgin coconut oil, would this be as effective as the neem oil?
    Unlikely as coconut oil, to the best of my knowledge, lacks the chemical compound in neem.

  9. #9
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    Good explanation there Pavel.

    I guess I got it backwards. Soapy water does not result in dehydration of the insect. It actually over-hydrates (ie: drowns) the living daylights out of the critters.

    Either way, it works

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    My observation is that soapy water kills ants instantly on contact.

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