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Thread: Neem Oil surprise - Why do they use the same packaging on bug sprays!?

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    swords's Avatar
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    Neem Oil surprise - Why do they use the same packaging on bug sprays!?

    ARRRGH! I just drove two towns over to get a bottle of Neem Oil in my latest quest against the insidious mealies infesting my Stapeliad collection. Leave it to one cheap garden center plant to infect my whole collection. I found the stuff I wanted but the label was torn and dangling off so I reached behind it to get another bottle in "mint condition" and bought it. Got it home and now I see it's Pyrethin spray instead of the Neem Oil. The bottle is the same shape, design and color only the label is different.

    I have my receipt to return/exchange it on monday but it's pretty irritating!

    When I finally score the right stuff, is it true the Neem Oil will kill the mealy eggs as well as any living critters? I'd been using rubbing alcohol mixed with dish soap but it simply drove the mealies underground and gave me a false sense of security until the plants started deflating.

    Here's my current plan, take divisions of all my infested Stapelias in their cleanest upper parts and new growth segments from last summer, treating those cut parts with the Neem Oil and repotting as a mini-cutting and simply tossing out the rest of the plant and essentially starting over.

    Would it be a good idea to spray/wipe down my whole grow shelf (which is made of wood) with the mealy spray to hopefully avoid a re-infestation a few months down the line? Luckily it's only about half my Stapelia shelf which has them but I think i will treat and repot everything in new plastic whether it appears to have them or not.

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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    I've used Neem and found that repeated sprays (every 5-7 days) did the trick. We basically rely on it to disrupt at least one of the stages in the complex life cycle of a pest. It might do nothing to eggs or to the adults that lay them, but as long as it prevents a necessary stage of development in between, it will be 100% effective. Neem has some phytotoxicity potential, so test it on the plant first and keep the plant out of intense sun immediately afterwards (not generally a problem in the north this time of year).
    Bruce in CT

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    cp-connection's Avatar
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    "Clarified hydrophobic extract of neem oil" is "100% neem oil" that's been stripped of its most potent insecticide "azadirachtin". You can buy them all separately!

    Azadirachtin is an anti-feedant, growth regulator and repellent. Not bad!

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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    Yeah, mealybugs are a pain because they will relocate when disturbed. Pyrethriod insecticides should hit them hard and kill on contact. The trick is getting the insecticide to contact. Neem oil is not a systemic although the oil will remain for about 3 days before evaporating. As noted before repeat application every 3-5 days for about 4 weeks to control them. If the bugs get into the roots you may have to drench the soil.
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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    swords's Avatar
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    Hmm, Thanks Nan, maybe I'll try the Pyrethins then. I intend to totally uproot and treat the "unaffected" plants top to bottom and treat all the cleanest restarts from the infested plants. These are totally the worst pests I've ever come to battle with in all my years of growing plants.

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    I've been curious about products labeled "triple action neem" that are 70% clarified hydrophobic extract of neem. Been too chicken to use them though because the other 30% is almost certainly petroleum distillates. And most of the azadirachtin is stripped out.

    As for 100% neem oil, you need to mix it with an emulsifier (soap that hurts CP's) in order to apply it. I wonder if there are carnivorous plant safe emulsifiers? I don't understand how some people drench their CP's with this.

    I recently purchased "Azamax" brand azadirachtin. Its only 1.2% but its organic so I assume it doesn't have carnivorous plant damaging petroleum distillates. Haven't tried it on my mealy bugs yet but I will give it a shot soon.

    I also have "Pyganic" brand pyrethrum. I've been using it for years, its an organic natural pyrethrum concentrate. It will kill little mealy bugs but not the bigger crawlers. Petroleum spreader/stickers make it slightly more effective but damage sarracenia and maybe others. I might look into synthetic pyrethroids but they're much more toxic to mammals.

    For mealy bugs I've had good success with granular orthene and raising the water table to drown root mealys.

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    You might try isolating your infected plants after cutting. You could use Neem as a soil drench, as it's anti-fungicidal when the little buggers go underground. You can also use a systemic in conjunction.
    As for the shelf, you can use anything; full-on toxic sprays, dish soap, blow torch (my fave for that rustic burnt look!)...

    Love my S. gigantea, killer flowers! Every CP Greenhouse should have a variety of corpse flowers IMHO!
    Is it easy to root cuttings?
    Also found this page on Stapelias: http://www.plantzafrica.com/frames/plantsfram.htm
    Good growing, Jack
    "Never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead, American Anthropologist

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    swords's Avatar
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    Hey Jack, I'm just gonna discard all the soil and pots and not bother drenching the soil, I'll just mist the whole uprooted plants. I use an all mineral "soil" made up of Napa Floor Dry #8822 from the Napa auto parts store (made of expanded diatomaceous earth) and chicken grit from the farm store to pot my succulents in so the soil just falls away. No fuss, no muss or untangling roots for repotting and no chance of ever over watering but if you tip over a plant it's instantly unpotted!

    Yes Stapelias and related families (Orbeanthus, Huernia, Piranthus, etc) are very easy to propagate. Just break off a segment at a natural joint inbetween stems. Don't just cut off half a stem - I don't know if that would work. Let the piece dry out on a shelf for a day or two until the break calluses over and thenlay it on the new soil "sun side up" if you can orient it the way it was originally exposed to the light that's best. Don't bury it at all or it will often rot underground, especially if you use peat in your potting medium. The broke off chunk will sit there and sit there and sit there and finally one day a couple months down the road you'll notice there's thick white roots descending into the soil. Once it gets roots you can water it well. Over time it will pull itself into the soil by it's roots so there's never a need to cover the stem with soil. In summer I like to feed with every other watering with low nitrogen bloom formula. Cuttings/divisions still usually take 2 years to establish and flower but some can take a lot longer. Just don't forget to heavily mist the divisions at least once a week until you see it has some roots. Left alone with no misting it will eventually mummify!

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