General purpose insecticide?

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Is there an effective general purpose insecticide, fungicide, miticide that will get most of those rascals out there? It is troublesome to spray for all those critters separately. I am pretty sure I've got them all.
Anything close?
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Walter
www.rationality.net
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Bad idea. Without insects, you wouldn't get any fruit, squash, peppers, cucumbers, etc. (Tomatoes and corn are wind pollinated.) The bees in this country have enough problems with natural predators without having to worry about people spraying their space indiscriminately.
Some fungi protect plants against other diseases. There are predatory mites that protect plants against other insects.
A much better approach would be to understand what is going on in your garden. When you have a problem, address that problem specifically and in such a way as not to generate more problems.
To answer your specific question: no, there is no general purpose substance that will eliminate the rascals without also eliminating the useful organisms.
Walter R. wrote:

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if you dont know what you have or if you have it, then no. there is no "general insecticide" because different insects require different control. It dosent make sense to spray for mites unless you have them, since you will harm the beneficial mites. "im pretty sure ive got them all" isnt a good argument, you need to know what the problem is. The doctor wouldnt give you a general medicine and say, well, you could have the flu, or maybe a cold, or maybe pnuemonia, but this will take care of whatever you have would they? This is why you cant buy very many chemicals anymore, homeowners who have no idea what they are doing just spray everything they can get thier hands on with little understanding of what they are actually doing. On a final note, we only have one earth, spraying mass amounts of chemicals will not help to preserve it.
Toad
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net says...

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That is an intensely stupid idea. You have no business gardening.

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Your invective has no purpose in this or any newsgroup. It does not help anyone and makes you look bad.
Doug Kanter wrote:

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Anyone older than 15 who is not aware of the dangers of pesticides should not be allowed to leave their bedroom. Ever.

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says...

I'm aware of the dangers inherent in driving my car or riding my motorcycle, too. That doesn't stop me from doing so. Nor of having an almost perfect driving record for 55 years (a couple of speeding tickets).
Your attitude strikes me as fanatical. There are times when pesticides are called for. And different compounds used have greatly varying toxicities.
For example, Sevin, which is quite toxic, is the only thing I've found that will knock out elm beetle grubs before they deleaf my elm trees. I wear coveralls and a respirator when I use it, usually once a year.
Malathion, OTOH, is relatively inoucous and I use it to kill thrips and aphids on my rose bushes and Japanese honeysuckle with short sleeves, no gloves, and no respirator.
I realize this won't convince you, but I wanted to make others aware that not all of us are environmental fanatics or, on the other side, reckless rednecks who spray evrything in sight with the deadliest stuff we can find. So that's all I'm going to say on the subject.
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What convinces me is stories such as you tell of always needing so always using all sorts of toxins for all sorts of garden problems. i never use them, never need them. My elms are healthy, the roses are healthy, the honeysuckles are healthy, never been assaulted by thrips, have gotten rid of aphids with nothing more than a couple drops of dishwashing soap in a gallon of water, sometimes just with the water. Why is that my garden does fabulously & never requires ME to get a respirator, moon suit, & five kinds of toxins to spray about? God loves me but hates you? I'm lucky, you're not? Or are we both experiencing the results of our own actions?
It's quite clear that chemical dependency breeds chemical dependency by throwing gardens completely out of balance. The longer one gardens organically, the better that semblance of natural balance that could never be sustained in a soup of recurring toxic assaults.
Chemical-dependent gardens are perpetually stressed from being perpetually out of wack. Toxins have killed so many beneficial insects & soil microorganisms & so weakened the plantlife that all such a gardener can do is try to patch over the damage with the same array of toxins that caused the damage.
Thrips tend to be a greater problem where beneficial insects have been removed from the environment -- predator insects are always slower to return than are pests, so pests return rapidly & further toxification is undertaken before even the slightest semblance of balance can be restored.
And anyone who thinks they need malathion for aphids just isn't thinking about these things rationally; it's like if an itchy toe could be fixed by scratching it for a couple seconds, & you decide to bang on it with a sledgehammer as the best line of defense. I have to assume the other chemical decisions were as unsoundly based, because the rational you've dismissed as radical. You posit a worst-case scenario of thrips stripping elms, yet you can't kill elm thrips without also killing a whole array of beneficial insects thus making the environment MORE inviting to thrips for the next cycle. The LASTING method of thrip control is with predatory mites, soil mites, lady beetles, & nematodes -- but everytime you toxify the environment instead, you destroy a dozen beneficial components of the environment sledgehammering the one harmful pest, thus causing the problems to escalate year by year rather than diminish.
It's amazing to me that people in love with their toxic methods call those of us who don't use toxins "radical," yet you keep getting pests in your garden while I do not. If there were legitimately a problem in my garden that only synthetic toxins had any chance of taking care of, I would consider that option, but I've gardened since the 1960s & over time even the "exceptions" I once thought were necessary were not exceptions at all. An organically balanced garden is a healthy garden. A chemical-dependent garden is not. It sometimes takes more patience with organic methods -- in three years it is possible by biological means to get rid of Japanese beetles once & for all, but people who prefer toxins will be using them forever annually patching over a problem that will never cease.
To me you sound like the radical, not because you require toxins so much as you require blinders. You believe you can't get rid of aphids without synthetic pesticides, so why is that I can do so very easily. You have harmful pests that you believe cannot be controlled without harsh pesticides, but I have so few harmful pests that their damage, if any, is never visible. You have to spray your shrubs & trees because they are attacked by pests & disease, but mine are neither diseased nor infested though I do not spray even with organically approved pesticides let alone the nastiest stuff you rely on. Why would your garden be so doomed without annual applications of sundry toxins, but mine thrives without them? I don't believe I'm just lucky & you're cursed by God; their are rational reasons for my not having the problems that afflict your garden, & those reasons are methological.
You've made an emotional or political decision (rather than a reasoned or scientific one) to dismiss effective methods as "radical" if they do not require toxins. And so yhou put on your moonsuit & respirator to take care of problems that keep recurring because of your actions. That's very much like banging your head into a wall & when you discover your head is injured, bang it a second, third, & fourth time, never realizing the problems are returning because of, not in spite of, your actions.
-paghat the ratgirl
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snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net says...

away and I did nothing. The elm leaves were nothing but ribs. Then a systemic was applied. It worked, but I thought it was overkill. The next year I did nothing again, and again I had ribs for leaves. Since then I've watched for the first ones to appear - they overwinter in the ground (maybe as eggs) and emerge along about now - I'd better remember to check.
So I waited for mother nature to solve the problem - didn't work. Sevin does. That's good enough for me.
BTW, I use absolutely no chemicals on my vegetable garden other than Miracle Grow. In that case the benefits aren't worth the risk.
We can have this argument forever. I'll never convince you that different situations require different solutions (pun intended) and you'll never convince me that chemicals are the work of the devil. So that's the end of it for me.
I never should have made the original post - I knew what the response would be.
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Bingo! You're just like me, then. So, before you call me a fanatic, you should read the entire discussion from the beginning. The OP asked a question which reveals total lack of experience or knowledge. From his question, we had no choice but to assume that he wanted to spray food crops as well as ornamentals. I cannot prove that this was the case, nor can you disprove it. But, everyone knows people who see (or hear) only the word(s) they were looking for (such as "sure", or "yep - go ahead", don't listen to or read the rest, and run right out the door to buy armloads of whatever they were asking about.
In such cases, the only proper response is to jackknife a tractor trailor in the middle of the conversation, spur a debate, and hope the OP will read it all.
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Is there an effective general purpose insecticide, fungicide, miticide that will get most of those rascals out there? It is troublesome to spray for all those critters separately. I am pretty sure I've got them all.
Anything close?
--
Walter
www.rationality.net
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Why are you showing ME the original post again, Ann? I've read it fifteen times.
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snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net says...

I say beetles, you say thrips - IOW, you didn't read my post very well before your knee jerk response. Figures.
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Eh, not that you even care. The elm leaf beetle is controlled by Bacillus thuringiensis ssp tenebrionis, beneficial insects, & even with seaweed spray. You elect instead a method that kills the natural controlling agents, thus harming the entire localized ecosystem, in the long run worsening the condition you misguidedly assaulted, because harmful pests re-establish theiur populations MUCH faster than do predatory insects which will only return after their prey re-establishes itself. So its no wonder you have these problems. Whether for thrips or beetles, the reality is the same: chemical dependency breeds chemical dependency -- in stressed & unhealthy gardens.
The bacillus can permanently retard beetle populations keeping their populations indefinitely in decline so that the need to fight them becomes lessoned year by year, & the temptation to use toxins eventually reduced to none.
It can take three years to stop the problem entirely then it may never need to be done again. The impatient might in the meantime want to use organic approved pyrethrum & isopropyl alcohol, or a fish emulsion or seaweed spray or horticultural oil for added boost without killing off all the beneficial insect population. When you insist your only choice is a moon-suit, respirator, & toxins that kill everything in their path, you only guarantee that the problems you admit to having recur year after year will continue to recur year after year.
The bacillus HAS to be the subspecies tenebrionis which targets elm beetles especially well; the caterpilar Bt doesn't do it. Btt kills elm beetles without harming the natural predetors of elm beetles. For so long as you insist in YOUR kneejerk way that your only option is to use methods that simultaneously kill the beneficial insect population, the beetles win.
But you've made it clear you couldn't care less.
-paggers
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This requires a thinking process which extends beyond 15 minutes. Not applicable in many cases. :-) Bugs cause people to become irrational. People will plant trees, knowing full well they may take 5 years to look good. They'll slowly put away $$$ for retirement or their kids' college. They'll budget 3 years out to buy a boat or a bunch of woodworking equipment. All require long term thinking, and patience.
But, unfortunately, certain organic bug control methods seem to have emotional alarms attached to them. So, even if you show people 10 ag college studies indicating that Bt works nicely (but takes longer than 3 days), they simply shut down and won't consider it. The bugs must vanish NOW. And, anyone who suggests completely effective non-chem alternative is a tree-hugging fanatic.
According to our guvmint, about 25% of non-organic farmers are behaving like tree-hugging fanatics whenever possible. The reason is simple: Unlike some of the air-head home gardeners who think they're "informed" because they read the back of the Ortho container, farmers HAVE to read in order to stay in business.
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I'm not a fanatic, and I'm not going to apply any adjectives to YOU. But, you might ask yourself a question. When you make statements like "relatively innocuous", what are you basing that on?
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says...

http://extoxnet.orst.edu/pips/malathio.htm
For those too lazy to look, here's a quote or two:
Regulatory Status: Malathion is a slightly toxic compound in EPA toxicity class III. Labels for products containing it must carry the Signal Word CAUTION.
Effects of malathion are similar to those observed with other organophosphates, except that larger doses are required to produce them [2,8].
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Extoxnet is funded by Monsanto & other chemical companies in the US & Canada, so it is the first source of info for people who want the best possible spin or wish to ignore the full scope of the issues.
And are you aware that the EPA by law is not permitted to include in their assessments the proven hazards of the break-down metabolites which are more hazardous than the parent chemicals?
What Extoxnet likes to ignore are such EPA statements as (from the EPA website itself): "There is insufficient scientific evidence to assess the potential for causing cancer in humans."
When Dr Harold T. Smith, senior project leader with the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service of the USDA, announced that the EPA was considering changing Malthion's status because the best studies indicate it to be carcinogenic, behind the scenes political pressures were soon brought to bear against the EPA (in the current Republican climate of "industry profits before public health") so that when the EPA made the report Dr Smith had prematurely announced, the warnings were rendered tepid, such as "There is evidence of carcinogicity."
The EPA in the long run decided not to recategorize this pesticide as more than moderately dangerous even while acknowledging the validity of the research done by people like Dr. Jerry Reeves at David Grant Medical Center Travis Air Force Base, which concluded Malathion causes aplastic anemia & childhood leukemia from exposures lasting for as brief a time as two minutes, concluding in fact that "all cases" scene in an eight year period were caused by malathion & propoxur. All cases.
THe EPA decided it was only a Category III risk even while acknowledging the research of Dr. Albright & his team at St. Luke's Hospital Kidney Center in Bethlehem Pennsylvania, which established that LOW levels of malathion exposure cause kidney failure in humans. THe manufacturer had already admnitted LOW exposures had caused kidney failure in animals but insisted no such study proved this was a risk for humans. Albright's published case proved otherwise, & he was very certain, LOW exposure, one time, of household use, was the cause of kidney failure.
The EPA was pressured into lending small weight to the St Luke Hospital findings because it was definitively true of only one case. So too the EPA which does not often consider research done in Europe failed to give any weight to Erasmus University research of Dr. Lindhout which established that use during pregnancy of malathion in a headlouse shampoo caused birth defects reesulting in infant paralysis. But the manufacturer denies malthion per se was the cause, because what really causes birth defects is a metabolite produced by the liver from malathion. The EPA decided not to include in their assessment the harmful effects of any breakdown chemical or metabolite, though not denying the validity of the findings that low level malathion exposure during early pregnancy is the source of the metabolite that causes infant paralysis.
The final wishywashy warnings the EPA ended up with in their final document were softened but still alarming in parts, but it was regarded as a political victory at Drexel Chemical. Not a scientific victory.
In the end a political decision was made: the threat from West Nile Virus vs a few paralyzed children fell in favor of malthion. The economic harm from medflies to citrus crops was found to be a bigger financial hit than the medical costs of childhood leukemias & elder kidney failures. Remember these are only the risks for LOW level exposures when used as directed.
An animal modeled study in Finland ran some of the same tests for which the chemical industry liked the outcomes. They made change. They used older adult rats instead of young rats. They discovered that allegedly safe levels of malathion cause serious brain damage, & they concluded that government safety boundaries based on what can be tolerated by young healthy rats has no application for what exposure will do the population at large. Brain damage would be expected at least for the elderly.
The EPA set out criteria that EXCLUDED injury to the the central nervous system, so their decision excluded many other definitive cases of nerve damage, paralysis, & brain damage in humans caused by low level exposures to this toxin.
As for environmental risk, that is ferocious. A study at Kent State University Department of Biological Science headed by Eric Lesnett established definitively that bluegill fish exposed to malathion experience extreme gill degeration.
A study headed by Dr. Solomon at Rutgers University published in TERATOLOGY is even more alarming, as Dr. Solomon is convinced his findings on the dangers of the breakdown metabolites to fish would be found in humans as well, if anyone bothered to look for these effects, which have not been studied because the law does not require chemical manufacturers to assess the dangers of the chemicals these toxins break down into, including malaoxon & paroxon which are more dangerous than the parent compound. Dr. Solomon discovered that exposure of malathion caused heart defects in fish at the rate of 12% to 38$. Where fish had the break-down metabolites in combination with the metabolites of at least one other pesticide, the heart defect rate raised to 50%.
That was just one of many studies that proved the dangerousness of the metabolites exceeds the dangerousness of the parent chemical, but the EPA does not require assessment of the metabolites & does not include the break-down chemicals in their safe-usage definitions. It is also one of scores of studies that shoe malathion risk increases by multiple factors if a second common garden chemical is involved in exposures. So if you use TWO garden chemicals, your risk can double, triple, or increase by factors of ten -- yet once again the chemical companies are not required to prove their chemicals are safe-as-used when the environment also has other chemicals safe-as-used in the environment. That studies prove these combinations are many times more harmful than the "official" assessment is not part o the EPA's assessment because the law requires them to assess only what the law requires the chemical companies to test, so some of the definitive & extreme hazards of malathion cannot be considered by the EPA unless & until Congress demands that the hazards caused by the by the break-down chemicals me included in the risk assessment. They are excluded -- yet they are known to render maliathon extremely hazardous to fish populations, & to have caused such things in humans as kidney failure & infant paralysis.
Its tragic that you find a chemical-industry-funded website that intentionally overlooks the actual authoritative risks. And it's just stupid that you use malathion for purposes which cause harm to the garden strictly apart from risk to human life & the environment. It would be an ignorant choice even if the only ill effect had been the destruction of beneficial insects required for the healthy balance of the garden. It's certainly unfortunate that the actual risks extend far beyond the narrow boundaries of what the EPA is Congressionally restricted from including, & it's unfortunate that the current political climate prefers the chemical company "spin" over the complete science. But it remains that even if hadn't been true that it is a great danger to human health & the environment, it's a known hazard to the garden itself, a self-perpetuating hazard that destroys a garden's ability to manage the majority of its own requirements.
-paghat the ratgirl
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The actual label can be found at http://www.prentiss.com/Products/Labels/Specimen_Labels/655-598spec.pdf and other places as well.
Note that the personal protective equipment section says. " Applicators and other handlers must wear long sleeved shirt and long pants, chemical resistant gloves, such as barrier laminate, or viton, protective eyewear such as goggles, shoes plus socks. Follow manufacturer's instructions for cleaning/maintaining PPE. If no such instructions for washables, use detergent and hot water. Keep and wash PPE separately from other laundry."
I believe that another poster said that he applies malathion in short sleeve shirt and shorts. He does so at his own risk. READ AND FOLLOW THE LABEL EXACTLY.
Just because a product can be purchased by anyone does not mean that it is safe to use willy-nilly. This is the point that I am trying to get across - YOU MUST READ THE LABEL - if you are to use the product safely.
John
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