Whether you’re growing flowers or fruits, aphids may likely feed on their tender parts. An aphid is a pear-shaped, tiny insect that has soft bodies. An aphid can be seen in a range of colors, including green, orange, and black. If there is inadequate aphid control, they can transmit plant viruses and cause some severe damage to your garden.
Avoid using harsh chemicals to control aphid infestations. Spinosad is a natural substance for aphid control and management but may also be damaging to other beneficial insects like bees. Read ahead to find out how you can use spinosad to kill aphid populations and simultaneously protect the garden’s ecosystem.
What Is Spinosad?
Spinosad is a natural substance that is used to control many insects like aphids that infest plants. It is used for aphid control and eliminates natural enemies like spider mites, ants, fruit flies, and aphids, among others. This natural substance is also used in organic agriculture while growing both crops and ornamental plants.
You may have to wait a day or two for spinosad to affect the aphid populations on your plants. An insect that eats or touches spinosad finds that its muscles begin to flex uncontrollably. It is largely because spinosad attacks their nervous system by first being paralyzed and then later die.
Spinosad is a natural substance made using the fermentation juices of a specific soil bacterium called the Saccharopolyspora spinose. Being a mixture of spinosyn A and spinosyn D, it is a substance that is registered under the US Environmental Protection Agency or EPA.
It is also found in several organic commercial pesticides, a mixture of chemicals from the spinosyn family being a strong eliminator of insects. Commercial spinosad pesticide is sold mainly as a water-based suspension concentrate.
What Are Aphids?
To understand the spinosad aphids pair better, it is also essential to understand more about these soft-bodied pests and how they can harm your plant. You will find aphid populations residing on plants’ tender parts or the undersides of leaves from where they can suck juices. Unless you pay attention, aphids may go undetected in these spaces, especially green aphids.
At times, aphid populations may also be found in the woody areas on apple trees and lettuce roots. When their population increases, you will be able to spot them quite easily. Aphidsgrow in thick clusters and leave a sticky honeydew that can be pretty unpleasant to the eye. On mature plants, aphids can stunt the growth of the leaves or turn them yellow.
If you have sensitive seedlings in your garden, it is best to pay attention to aphids. Once aphids find a home on these, they will weaken them. Further, their honeydew excretion attracts mold and ants that can be further harmful to the plants. This prevents the process of photosynthesis from occurring well.
Aphids may also inject toxins into your plants and promote and transmit plant viruses. You will find many species of aphids during late spring when the temperatures are warm but not hot. Watch out for aphids during this time and consider the spinosad aphids combination to keep your garden safe and healthy.
Does Spinosad Kill Aphids?
Yes, you can use spinosad for aphid control in your gardens. This substance can eliminate spiders, mites, and any other insect that finds its way into your garden spaces where spinosad is present.
Whether it is a small home garden or a larger one, you can go ahead and use spinosad as a one-stop solution for all your pest woes. However, you should be careful about how you use the substance. You don’t want it to be carried away by the wind to areas where bees are growing and may have made a home.
How To Apply Spinosad For Aphid Control?
As soon as you notice any aphid infestation in your garden, it is time for aphid control. You will find spinosad in various forms, including sprays, dust, and concentrates. Use protective gear like gloves and a face mask before you begin applying as it can get absorbed through the skin.
Be careful as it can come into your eyes, and you may face irritation and inflammation. If you inhale it, there is a chance that you will experience shortness of breath and nausea. Excessive exposure to spinosad can be harmful even to humans.
Here is how you can apply spinosad effectively to kill aphids.
- Pick a day that is not too windy to spray the spinosad on your plant for this toxic pest. This will keep the air from carrying it away.
- Aphids tend to reside in the nooks, crannies, and undersides of leaves. As soon as you notice them, spray spinosad as per required on these areas.
- If the leaves are thick, spray on both sides of the leaf surface. The leaves will absorb the spinosad, which will be effective for about ten days.
Once you apply the substance, it takes 1 to 2 days for the aphids to die from spinosad. The substance also tends to break down within two days in bright sunlight.
Hence, make only small batches at a time. It is best not to spray spinosad on just any crop you plan to harvest within the next week. In this case, spinosad will come to be exposed to the sun and break down. It may also enter your food in toxic ways. Make sure to clean well once you are done using it on the plants to avoid toxicity.
Spinosad And Bees
The spinosad aphid combination could work exceedingly well to get just the pest control you come to need. You may now have decided to make it a regular part of your gardening routine as of late spring approaches.
Are you worried about harming the ecosystem of the bees and other beneficial insects while protecting your plants? Yes, there is a way to use spinosad while not letting it get carried away and prove harmful to bees.
First, apply spinosad to your plant during the evening. At this point, bees are not active, giving the spinosad enough time to dry on the leaves. As the substance dries, the chances of it affecting bees are lesser.
Once you spray the plant with spinosad, it is a good idea to use a large row or sheet cover to drape over the plant that has been treated. You can leave the cover on for about 24 hours. With this, the drying process will be complete, and strong winds will be prevented from carrying it to the bees.
Spinosad and Spider Mites
Now you know that the spinosad aphids combination management can get rid of these insects. One of the best parts about using spinosad is that its pesticide qualities are limited to aphids and a range of other insects. Here is what you should know about the spinosad spider mites combination.
1. What Are Spider Mites?
Spider mites may be found around many plants in your garden. These include the common two-spot spider mite. When they damage your plants, they lay translucent eggs on the plant body, primarily the undersides.
2. How To Use Spinosad On Spider Mites?
First, you will have to manually remove any eggs and spider mites off the surface of your plants. This will increase the efficacy of this substance that you later apply. Once you remove any visible signs of infestation, you can go ahead and apply the spray or any other form to the plant areas.
Apply on both sides and on any white specs you see. You may have to wait 2 to 3 days for them to die. It is an organic product and won’t harm the plants, children, or pets as you use it.
Besides applying it to the leaves and stems for immediate action, you can also target them using the plants’ watering system by adding it to the water that you give your plants. When the substance reaches the root, it can systematically eliminate the spider mites.
Using the two methods together, you will be able to keep them out of your garden much more effectively. Hence, you can give the best chance to the spinosad spider mite combination to rid your garden of pests.
Spinosad vs. BT
Gardeners who look forward to making their gardens a pest-free zone are always looking for the best pesticides and insecticides. You may be wondering whether you should use spinosad, bt, or a combination of the two.
1. What is BT?
Before comparing the two, it is best to understand what bt can do for your garden. Bt or Bacillus thuringiensis, as it is called, is a species of bacteria that lives in soil. Bt serves as an insecticide due to the toxic proteins that it makes. While this substance harms some insects, others may not be.
Humans cannot activate the proteins that are given by bt. Hence, they do not prove harmful to us. However, it can be toxic to the larvae of insects.
2. Should I Opt for Spinosad or BT for My garden?
Spinosad tends to work on a large group of pests and tends to get rid of them effectively. If you have a flowering garden, the main pests you are worried about maybe thrips and caterpillars. It works effectively on both. It also won’t harm butterflies. By taking the necessary precautions, you will be able to stop them from harming honey bees.
Bt, on the other hand, is an excellent option for caterpillars. If you are worried only about caterpillars, it is a mild option that will not harm humans even if ingested. However, bt will not last long on your plants. It requires a constant and consistent application.
Bt is beneficial for about 1 or 2 days at a stretch before requiring reapplication. On the other hand, spinosad will stay put on the plants for even four weeks if the environment favors it. Hence, it is much more fruitful for predatory insects in the long run.
3. The Gardener’s Solution to Spinosad vs. Bt
A combination of the two can be the perfect solution to your gardening routine. On plants that you are going to consume directly, you can go ahead and apply bt. These include cabbage, kale, and broccoli.
Simultaneously, other plants will yield fruits, but you shouldn’t consume the leaves themselves. These include citrus trees and apple trees. Another option is to water the plants’ roots with spinosad solutions but uses bt on plants’ surfaces that attract caterpillars.
Regular maintenance and checking can usually avert active populations of aphids, spider mites, and caterpillars. This can reduce pesticide and insecticide use significantly and decrease toxicity.
Are There Any Alternatives To Spinosad?
It is a rather versatile substance that can be used on several pests in your garden. Hence, it isn’t easy to find a single product that can pack all of the spinosad’s benefits. It can target aphids, caterpillars, and parasitic wasps, among many other flies and insects.
A combination of several pesticides can create an effect similar to this substance. For instance, neem and bt pesticide are seen to produce similar effects as spinosad when combined. However, their staying power is much lower than that of spinosad alone.
Alternative Controls For Aphids
There are a couple of low-impact ways to control aphids as well. You can use plain water to do the job. This is especially useful in the first stages of the infestation. Use a jet of water to kill aphids or force aphids out from the plants that they have infested.
You could go ahead and dispose of any plants that have been highly infested by aphids. This will stop the insects from venturing out and causing damage to other plants. If the infestation is not too bad and close to summer, the good idea is to wait. Aphids won’t be able to handle these temperatures, and their growth could significantly reduce.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some popularly asked questions answered for you.
1. Is Spinosad Safe for Humans?
If you come in direct contact with spinosad, it can cause redness and irritation. However, its pesticide concentrate is too low for it to prove toxic to humans.
2.. How Quickly Does Spinosad Work?
Just after you apply spinosad, it can kill insects like fleas in as little as 30 minutes. However, its efficacy reduces with time. For many insects, it may take 1 to 2 days to affect and eliminate them. Use in sufficient quantities as per needed.
3. How Do You Use a Spinosad?
For plants, you can topically apply or spray spinosad on its surface. You can also go ahead and water the plant’s roots with the solution to prevent any aphids from reaching the plants. When applied to hair, you can use it to get rid of lice on the head.
4. Does Spinosad Kill Bed Bugs?
Yes, Spinosad can be used to kill bed bugs and prevent damage. It can be applied topically so that you can eliminate bed bugs from your home.
5. Is Spinosad a Contact Insecticide?
Yes, spinosad is both a contact insecticide and kills when an insect or bugs ingests it. It works as the stomach gets affected by the poison. However, it exhibits low toxicity levels in mammals, including humans.
6. What Does Neem Oil Kill?
Gardeners should try using organic pesticides like neem oil. You can apply neem oil to kill soft-bodied insects like aphids, whiteflies, thrips, and mites. Neem oil is a versatile substance that can kill these insects on exposure with low toxicity.
Horticultural oils, essential oils, and insecticidal soap are also effective. Homemade soap can also be made using dish detergent. Mix soap with one teaspoon per gallon of water and increase as necessary to create a soapy water concentrate. Look all around leaves while spraying and ensure proper growth. Avoid spraying around the soil.
7. Is Bifenthrin Toxic to Humans?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US suggests that bifenthrin might be a carcinogenic substance for humans. It is commonly used for ants infestation, especially invasive red fire ants. It also kills aphids, beetles, maggots, fleas, and termites. It is a popular name among insecticides and affects the central nervous system.
Under these circumstances, alternatives could be the best option to stop red fire ants. Broad-spectrum insecticides usually contain the active ingredient bifenthrin. Avoid broad-spectrum insecticides as the active ingredient will kill all pests, even the beneficial ones.
The leading cause of aphids could be overwatering or overfertilization. Spinosad is a natural and organic substance that can eliminate a range of natural enemies that infest your garden. Using this multi-purpose substance, you will be able to keep your garden in great shape and control aphids. If you are using it to target aphids, it is best to use the substance consistently.
With this, the spinosad aphids combination can work wonders for your garden. It is essential to be careful when you apply spinosad on the plants. Wear protective gear and clean your hands properly once you are done applying it to your plants.
We have highlighted some simple and effective precautions to protect the bees and other small beneficial insects in the ecosystem. With this in place, you’re well on your way to being a happy gardener with a thriving garden.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.