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PSA for Central/South FL

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PSA for Central/South FL

Post  acara on Mon 4 Apr 2011 - 17:10

Hope everyone faired well through the monsoon that came across Central FL last week.

Just a reminder ,,, first hard rain in April = caterpillar season.....

Dont wait for the "trails" to appear on yr veggies, or untill you find that first spawn of satan munching on yr babies ..... hit the new plantings with the BT or NEEM now !!!!

Also, if you haven't washed the muck off the new seedlings from all the pounding rain & splash, over the last couple of days ..... rinse yr plants now, or be ready with the Copper Sulphate in a week when the blight/fungus start showing Razz

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Re: PSA for Central/South FL

Post  dmeintl on Fri 8 Apr 2011 - 19:44

Thanks for the heads up. This is our first Spring planting and Im' kinda clueless. So what is NEEM or BT? I haven't seen the caterpillars in my garden yet (side yard) but we have them all over the front, so it's probably only a matter of time.

also, anyone know what a small black bug with red markings is. it flies.


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Post  acara on Fri 8 Apr 2011 - 20:00

Well, I cant do as well as Google ....but this will get you started .. Very Happy Very Happy

What is it? Neem Oil
Neem oil comes from the pressed seed of the neem tree – Azadiracta indica Juss – to be exact.
It’s native to eastern India and Burma and has been used for medicinal purposes and pest control in India for thousands of years.
Claims are that the bark and leaves have quite a few anti’s covered.

  • antispectic
  • antiviral
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antiulcer
  • antifungal

…to name a few.
Is It Safe?
Well neem products are used in medication and consumed by humans. So any exposure to neem while treating your plants does not pose a treat. There are no restrictions put in place by the EPA.
I spoke to a few growers that have been using neem oil in their “pest control” program and they are delighted with it. Not just from the safety aspect… but the control. They have found the neem oil to be effective as a repellant – insecticide – miticide and fungicide. It also functions as an antifeedant which discourages insects feeding patterns.
Insects would rather die than eat plants treated with neem oil.
Extracts from neem have shown incredible success with not only battling fungus problems but also many forms of root rot.
Neem biodegrades in a matter of weeks when exposed to the sunlight.

  • Pure Neem oil will retain its potency much longer if stored at about 40 degrees F in low light
  • Don’t mix any more than you need
  • Add water and a little soap before you spray
  • Spray the complete plant including the potting media
  • Mix 1 oz in 1 gallon of water. A weaker solution may be used for maintenance

As far as BT ...Google will work too ..
The bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner (Bt) is the active ingredient in a number of microbial Insecticides
registered for home use on vegetables, trees, ornamentals and flowers for the control of certain caterpillars. Bt
is highly selective--it kills caterpillars and is not toxic to their natural enemies. The bacterium is harmless to
humans and animals and is considered environmentally safe.
Commercial formulations such as Dipel®, Thuricide® , Bug Time® and Caterpillar Control® contain Bt spores
and crystalline endotoxin. When these are eaten by a susceptible caterpillar, the crystalline endotoxin is
dissolved, releasing toxins inside its gut; gut paralysis follows, and the caterpillar stops feeding. Death usually
results from toxemia, bacterial infection, starvation or predation and may follow in a few to 48 hours or longer.
Caterpillars most susceptible to Bt are those species with a high gut pH, such as tobacco hornworm, alfalfa
caterpillars, cabbage looper, imported cabbage worm, and red-humped caterpillar. Spruce budworm and gypsy
moth are susceptible, but higher concentrations of Bt may be needed for control. Armyworms and cutworms are
usually not affected. In general, as with chemical pesticides, the younger and smaller caterpillars are most
Different strains of Bt are effective against different insect species. The kurstaki variety is most effective
against larvae of butterflies and moths. The israelensis variety (Bti) is highly toxic to the larvae of blackflies and
mosquitoes, and Bt galleriae kills the larvae of wax moths that infest beehives.
Certain factors should be considered when using Bt to achieve maximum success. 1) Highly alkaline water or
pesticides (pH 8-11) should not be mixed with Bt because the efficacy will be greatly reduced (Note: Most
California water has a pH of 7 to 8 ). 2) Freezing or excessive heat (110
°F) during storage should be avoided. 3)
Bt should be applied against small caterpillars and before plants are extensively damaged. 4) Thorough coverage
of foliage is important. 5) Reapplication of Bt in 3 to 14 days is often necessary in order to kill any newly
hatched larvae and cover recently emerged foliage.
The qualities of Bacillus thuringiensis make it an attractive choice for home use. I t can be applied by hand
sprayer, hose-end sprayer, commercial spray rig, or other conventional means. There is no hazard to the
applicator, so protective gear is not required. Wettable powder or aqueous concentrate formulations are
compatible with most insecticides, fungicides, and nutritional sprays. The bacterium can be used up to the day of
harvest since residues are not harmful to humans or animals. Beneficial organisms such as honeybees, insect

predators and parasites are generally unaffected, preserving the complexity of the environment.

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