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Author Topic: Safe apple tree/garden plant spraying  (Read 1343 times)
itsmatt
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Location: Virginia


« on: July 25, 2011, 09:32:45 AM »

Planning to start beekeeping in the spring.  Thinking ahead.  I have apple trees which have only had success when on a regular spraying schedule.  The garden is mostly handled non-chemically (hand-picking of pests, etc.) though I've sprayed some neem oil before.  Generally I don't like to buy/use commercial chemical solutions for pests - while not militant in my "organic" stance, I'm frugal and would rather not resort to bottled chemicals to eradicate pests, etc.

I certainly don't want to put anything on my apple trees or garden that will end up wiping out the bees.  What do you suggest?

Thanks,
Matt
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BlueBee
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2011, 12:20:20 PM »

Pesticide toxicity to honeybees:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pesticide_toxicity_to_bees

I’m usually too busy with other things in the spring to find time to spray my apple trees with anything.  As a result my apples are heavily infested with codling moths.  I’m not a big eater of apples, so I live with it. 

I don’t use insecticides in general (except dormant oils and soapy water spray), but if I had to deal with the codling moth, I would try BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) a natural soil dwelling bacterium.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacillus_thuringiensis

BT is effective at killing early instars of Lepidopteran (i.e. moths) and is thought to be harmless to everything else, including humans.  This is what our “genetically modified” foods are based on, adding genes that generate BT toxins in the plants to kill moth caterpillars.  Of course there is a lot of debate about the safety of GM foods with the BT genes in them, but that is another issue. 

Relative to the other way more toxic alternatives out there, my choice is to try BT for severe codling moth problems if you want to eat the apples.  Another more labor intensive option would be to put a bag over your apples to keep the moths out!
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kathyp
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2011, 01:45:22 PM »

BT is a good choice for those wormy things.  dormant sprays are ok.  don't spray anything while the trees are blooming.
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itsmatt
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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2011, 11:36:28 AM »

Thanks for the info.  It's a constant battle dealing with garden pests.   While I cannot control what folks do down the road from me (where the bees might go) I want to be a careful as I can on my own property.
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SerenaSYH
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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2011, 06:56:13 PM »

Matt, what's so tough about organics is that there is tons of experiments and "crossing one's fingers"....

For Japanese beetles the milky spore can be effective but sadly it's too hot and droughty cracked earth. You can't put Milky Spore unless there's just enough softness to the earth for it to set. It is a truly organic "lawn treatment and ground treatment" against JBs.

My way of dealing with JBs is letting my grass dry out completely hoping it will roast those larvae eggs. Then when the cooler weather hits I go with Milky spore.

So far the JBs are more sensitive to hot wax pepper spray than cucumber beetles which don't care at all, lol. Some species of thrips also hate the hot wax pepper spray, but some just totally destroy regardless Other people use traps and place it some distance from their property so that the beetles leave their property and get zapped into the traps. However those things should be responsibly emptied every time, lol!

The experiments I have heard that may work is having boiled ginger root and once it completely cools!! spraying those on the leaves. For ornamental garden plants, insecticidal soap actually kills the bad insects but I will only use it if it's a particularly bad infestation. Insecticidal soap is not exactly safe for the bees until it has dried. Neem oil is also not exactly healthy either. But what you can do is maybe spray before the bloomtime and after the bloom season has completely finished So far I refuse to use any insect-killers save for Milky Spore.

Kathy yes dormancy spray is a great idea to apply before winter hits that way it is sure to kill the future generation of leaf eaters, lol! I don't use it however, because too much lime/sulfur setting into the soil isn't good for the earthworms. But you have to pick your battles and assess which treatment causes the least amount of damage possible. Diehards like myself refuse to kill but we also have to sit and wait out the damage. It really teaches PATIENCE....And I also do the camera test. If I can take a photo or can step back 6' away and the plant/tree still looks good, then all is well! I live can certainly live with a few munch holes here and there.

Consider also attracting beneficials like birds (birdbaths and feeders). Buying ladybugs, etc.
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