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Organic Pest Control


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Kansas Community Garden Conference
July 8, 2014
Dr. Raymond Cloyd

This presentation will discuss the "organic" means of dealing with insect and mite pests of landscapes and gardens by addressing the cultural, physical, and biological components of "organic" pest control.

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Organic Pest Control

  1. 1. Kansas Community Garden Conference July 8, 2014 Manhattan, KS Organic Pest Control Raymond A. Cloyd Professor, Extension Specialist in Horticultural Entomology/Plant Protection Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS Phone: 785-532-4750 Email:
  2. 2. •Introduction •Plant health/plant protection •Pesticides •Questions and discussion Overview Of Presentation
  3. 3. Most “Everyone” Wants Insect And Mite Pests Killed Quickly…No Matter What! ‘DDT Mentality’
  4. 4. Today: Are People Really Interested In “Organic” Pest Control?
  5. 5. “Organic” simply refers to the way a product, food or fiber is actually grown and processed. “Organic” food production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and chemical pesticides and fertilizers (Barbara Schubert; September 2012).
  6. 6. What?
  7. 7. The “Power” Of Advertising
  8. 8. Plant Health/Plant Protection: First Line of Defense When Dealing With Insect Or Mite Pests “Organically” • Cultural: –Proper watering, fertility, and mulching. • Physical: –Pruning, tilling (killing overwintering stage), forceful water spray, hand-picking, and installing
  9. 9. Forceful Water Spray!
  10. 10. Impact Of Forceful Water Spray • Quickly removes all life stages (e.g. eggs, nymphs, larvae, pupae, and adults) of insect and mite pests. • Cleans plants (removes dust). • Preserves natural enemies such as parasitoids and predators. • Prevents insect and mite pest populations from building-up thus avoiding sudden outbreaks.
  11. 11. Barrier: Row Covers
  12. 12. What Is The Best Way To “Control” This Insect Pest “Organically?”
  13. 13. Is This An Example Of “Organic” Pest Control? This Is A Taste Test (Physical Control)!
  14. 14. What Life Stage Do Insect And Mite Pests Overwinter As? • Egg. • Larva. • Pupa. • Adult. Insect and mite pests can overwinter on plants, in soil, on structures, and in plant debris.
  15. 15. Examples Of Overwintering Life Stages And Pests • Adult: Colorado potato beetle, cucumber beetle, squash bug, asparagus beetle, flea beetles, and twospotted spider mite. • Pupa: Tomato and tobacco hornworms, fall webworm, and squash vine borer. • Egg: Spruce spider mite, bagworm, and many hard scales (e.g., pine needle and oystershell scale).
  16. 16. How Deal With Overwintering Life Stages? • Till garden in fall to kill or expose overwintering pupae or adults that reside in the soil or plant debris. • Apply dormant oil sprays to plants in the winter to kill overwintering eggs of certain spider mites and scale insects. • Remove weeds to eliminate overwintering sites for certain insects and spider mites.
  17. 17. Reproductive Capacity Of Certain Insect And Mite Pests Impacts The Ability Of Plant Protection To Effectively Suppress These Pest Populations Aphid Twospotted Spider Mites
  18. 18. There Is No Such Thing As An “Organic Pesticide”
  19. 19. Bottom Line •Use the least toxic method or combination of methods that will suppress pest populations without significantly disrupting the ecosystem or environment; yet still protecting plants.
  20. 20. Idea: Avoid The Use Of “Conventional” Pesticides • Organophosphates: – Malathion and acephate (Orthene) • Carbamates: – Carbaryl (Sevin) • Pyrethroids: – Permethrin, bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, and lambda- cyhalothrin • Neonicotinoids – Imidacloprid (Merit)
  21. 21. “Alternative” Pesticides• Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) • Azadirachtin (IGR) • Neem oil • Pyrethrins • Rotenone* • Spinosad • Insecticidal soaps • Horticultural oils • Diatomaceous earth (DE)
  22. 22. These Pesticides Are Primarily Effective On The Young (Immature) Stages.
  23. 23. Characteristics Of “Alternative” Pesticides • Short-residual activity. • Sensitive to ultra-violet light and rainfall. • Active on the young stages of insect and mite pests. • Less harmful to natural enemies such as parasitoids and predators. • Low mammalian toxicity. • May take longer to kill target insect and mite pests.
  24. 24. Factors Associated With Maximizing Pesticide Effectiveness •Timing •Coverage •Frequency
  26. 26. Bacillus thuringiensis • Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki (Dipel). • Only active on caterpillars. • Insect must consume the material in order to be negatively affected. • In general, young larvae are more easily killed than older larvae. • Susceptible to ultra-violet light (sunlight) degradation and rainfall. • May indirectly impact natural enemies.
  27. 27. Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki (Dipel)
  28. 28. Product Containing Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki As The Active Ingredient
  29. 29. How Btk Kills Caterpillars
  30. 30. Bt Types Subspecies • kurstaki • aizawai • tenebrionis • israelensis Endotoxin Specificity • Lepidoptera • Lepidoptera • Coleoptera • Diptera
  31. 31. Active Ingredient: Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis
  32. 32. Azadirachtin • Derived from the neem tree, Azadirachta indica. • Multiple modes of action: insect growth regulator, antifeedant, repellent, sterilant, and oviposition inhibitor. • Primarily active on caterpillars; more so than other insect and/or mite pests. • Multiple applications are typically required. • Susceptible to ultra-violet light (sunlight) degradation and rainfall. • More effective on young stages of insect pests than eggs and adults. • Works best under warm temperatures (>70ºF).
  33. 33. Neem Seeds
  34. 34. Active Ingredient=Azadirachtin
  35. 35. Neem Oil • Derived from the neem tree, Azadirachta indica. • Active ingredient: clarified hydrophobic extract of neem oil. • Works by suffocating (blocking breathing pores) insect and/or mite pests. • Primarily active on soft-bodied insect and/or mite pests such as aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, mealybugs, and scales. • Contact activity only so thorough coverage of all plant parts is required. • May directly affect natural enemies. • Very low mammalian toxicity.
  36. 36. Neem Oil Product Active Ingredient=Clarified Hydrophobic Extract Of Neem Oil
  37. 37. Botanical Insecticides
  38. 38. Common Misconception •Natural pesticides or botanicals are considered “safer” than synthetics. However, a number of registered botanicals are toxic to fish, beneficial insects and mites (natural enemies), and mammals.
  39. 39. In Nature, Plants Produce Toxic Substances To Protect Themselves From Herbivores
  40. 40. Botanical Insecticides •Nicotine •Rotenone •Pyrethrins/Pyrethrum •Linalool •Limonene •Neem
  41. 41. Product Containing Pyrethrins
  42. 42. Pyrethrins/Pyrethrum • Derived from Tanacetum cinerariaefolium (Kenya, Africa, and Ecuador). • LD50=1,200-1,500 mg/kg. • Oldest household insecticide available. • Fast-acting: cause immediate “knockdown” of insects. • Contact and stomach poison.
  43. 43. Pyrethrins/Pyrethrum • Low mammalian toxicity. However, cats are highly susceptible to poisoning by pyrethrins. • Degrades rapidly under sunlight, air, and moisture. No residual activity. • Mode of action: disrupts sodium and potassium ion exchange process in insect nerves and interrupts the normal transmission of nerve impulses.
  44. 44. Pyrethrins/Pyrethrum • Requires a synergist such as PBO*. • Avoid mixing with lime or soap solutions. • No waiting interval required between initial application and harvest of food crops. • Pest activity: flies, fleas, aphids, mosquitoes, whiteflies, leafhoppers, thrips, caterpillars, mealybugs, beetles, and spider mites.
  45. 45. Rotenone
  46. 46. Rotenone • Derived from Lonchocarpus sp., or Derris sp. (East Indies, Malaya, and South America). • LD50=350 mg/kg. • Extremely toxic to fish. • Very acutely toxic botanical. More toxic than carbaryl (Sevin) or malathion. • Contact and stomach poison. • Residual activity: 3 to 5 days. • Slow-acting: takes time to kill pests. However, pests stop feeding immediately.
  47. 47. Rotenone • Degrades rapidly in air and sunlight. • Not toxic to honeybees. • Pest activity: leaf-feeding beetles (e.g., Colorado potato beetle), caterpillars, thrips, mosquitoes, aphids, spider mites, and flies. • Mode of action: inhibits respiration by blocking the electron transport chain and prevents energy production (ATP). • Acute exposure in rats produces brain lesions consistent with those observed in humans and animals with Parkinson’s disease.
  48. 48. Nicotine
  49. 49. Nicotine • Derived from Nicotiana tabacum and N. rustica. • LD50=50 to 60 mg/kg. • Extremely toxic to bees. • The most toxic botanical. More toxic than carbaryl (Sevin) or malathion. • Active on soft-bodied insects and mites including aphids, thrips, leafhoppers, and spider mites. Many caterpillars are resistant to nicotine. • Fast-acting nerve toxin that works as a contact poison. • Nicotine kills insects and mites (and humans) by binding to nerve receptors. This causes uncontrolled firing in the central nervous system.
  50. 50. LD50 • Concentration of a given toxicant that will kill 50 percent of the test organisms to which it is administered. Generally expressed as milligrams of toxicant (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight. • The lower the number, the more toxic/harmful the toxicant.
  51. 51. Toxicity Of Botanical Insecticides • Nicotine LD50=50-60 mg/kg Danger • Rotenone LD50=60-1,500 mg/kg Caution • Sevin* LD50=850 mg/kg Warning/Caution • Malathion* LD50=885-2,800 mg/kg Caution • Ryania LD50=750-1,200 mg/kg Caution • Pyrethrins LD50=1,200-1,500 mg/kg Caution • Linalool LD50=2,440-3,180 mg/kg Caution • Sabadilla LD50=4,000-5,000 mg/kg Caution • Limonene LD50=>5,000 mg/kg Caution • Neem LD50=13,000 mg/kg Caution
  52. 52. Spinosad • Active ingredient: Saccharopolyspora spinosa. • Composed of spinosyns A (85%) and D (15%). • Fast-acting, and has both contact and ingestion activity. • Active on caterpillars, thrips, flies, and certain beetles. • Supposedly, minimal impact on beneficial insects and mites. • May directly or indirectly harm certain natural enemies (wet vs. dry residues).
  53. 53. Product With Spinosad As The Active Ingredient
  54. 54. Spinosad Product
  55. 55. Insecticidal Soaps • Active ingredient: potassium salts of fatty acids. • Kills target insect (and mite) pests primarily by disrupting the cuticle resulting in desiccation. • Contact only so thorough coverage is essential; short- residual activity. • Primarily effective against soft-bodied insects such as aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, mealybugs, and scales. • Water hardness (calcium and magnesium) may reduce effectiveness. • Harmful (=phytotoxic) to plants if applied “too often.” • In general, not indirectly toxic to natural enemies.
  56. 56. Insecticidal Soap Product
  57. 57. Horticultural Oils • Types: Petroleum (or mineral), fish, and plant oils. • Work by preventing normal exchange of gases or suffocating (block respiratory system) insect and/or mite pests. • Kills eggs, young (larvae or nymphs), and adults. • Primarily active on soft-bodied insect and/or mite pests such as aphids, spider mites, scales, thrips, whiteflies, mealybugs, and psyllids. • Minimal risk of resistance developing. • Contact only so thorough coverage is essential; however, may be harmful to plants if applied “too often” or if applied under conditions of high humidity. • May be directly harmful to natural enemies.
  58. 58. Petroleum-Based Oil Product
  59. 59. Paraffinic-Based Oil Product
  60. 60. Sesame And Edible Fish Oil Product
  61. 61. Diatomaceous Earth (DE) • Composed of silicaceous skeletons of diatoms. • Removes the cuticular waxes of insects, and absorbs oils and waxes on the outer insect skin. • Desiccates insects by rupturing or abrading the insect skin causing extensive moisture loss. • Insects can obtain (pick-up) particles of DE on their skin as they move. • Works best when dry. • It is important to only use the non-crystalline form: less hazardous than crystalline form.
  62. 62. Product Containing Diatomaceous Earth
  63. 63. Diatomaceous Earth
  64. 64. Sulfur
  66. 66. Plant-Derived Essential Oils * Garlic oil * Cedar oil * Thyme oil * Canola oil * Clove oil * Geranium oil * Sesame oil * Lemongrass oil * Rosemary oil * Citronella oil * Orange oil * d-limonene * Peppermint oil * Cinnamon oil * Clarified hydrophobic extract of neem oil * Almond oil
  67. 67. Plant-Derived Essential Oil Products
  68. 68. Plant-Derived Essential Oils • Obtained by steam distillation of plant leaves. • Broad spectrum of insect and mite pest activity due to multiple “modes of action”: 1) anti-feedants, 2) molting and respiration inhibitors, 3) growth and fecundity reducers, 4) cuticle disruptors, and 5) act on octopamine (CNS) pathway.
  69. 69. What Is The Actual “Killing Agent?”
  70. 70. What Is The Actual “Killing Agent?”
  71. 71. Active Ingredients * Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: chemical used throughout the cosmetic industry. Anionic surfactant used in many cleaning and hygiene products including toothpastes, shampoos, shaving foams, detergents, and bubble baths. * Eugenol: derived from clove, cinnamon, and/or basil oil. Has repellent activity. May cause damage to the liver (Hepatotoxic).
  72. 72. • Plant health and plant protection are the primary means of dealing with insect and mite pests. • In general, “alternative” pesticides possess certain benefits over “conventional” pesticides. • However, certain “alternative” pesticides may be more harmful to humans than “conventional” pesticides. • It is important to be informed on the advantages and limitations of “organic” pest control. • For more information on “organic” pest control consult an extension agent or refer to available resources.
  73. 73. 2005 Resource Guide For Organic Insect and Disease Management
  74. 74. Resources * Organic Plant Protection. 1976. R. B. Yepsen, Jr. [ed.]. Rodale Press, Inc., Emmaus, PA. * The Gardener’s Guide To Common- Sense Pest Control. 2013. W. Olkowski, S. Daar, H. Olkowski, and S. Ash. The Taunton Press, Newtown, CT.
  75. 75. I’ve Got You My Sweet!
  76. 76. Thank You For Your Attention! I Hope You All Learned Something!
  77. 77. Questions or What’s Bugging You?