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Thread: dry ice insecticide question

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    dry ice insecticide question

    OK folks, I have a terrarium that is about 3 feet by 2 feet by about 18 inches tall. The utrics and Drosera in there are all in live moss and were it not for the aphids that persist despite neem, soap/oil spray and total immersion in water for as long as 5 days... they and the D. prolifera would proliferate. I am leary of using serious hard chemicals as this was my preferred method way back and now exposure to most of them gives me nasty headaches and dry mouth... occasionally even a sort of twitching in my muscles that I can't control. I must be careful with these chemicals and not breathe fumes. The suggested systemics so far have all been ones that I seem to react to... I was ever so careful back then but as they say, a little dab will do you, and the stuff always leaked around the edge of the sprayer, and some-how always seemed to get past the gloves or mask...

    Having said this, I decided to give dry ice a try. It being frozen co2 I figured that it would kill all non-plant life asap and promote healthy plant growth. This is day 2 of dropping roughly a pound of the stuff into the water (about 6 inch deep water, the plants are on bricks to be closer to the lights, hence the deep water). It did not freeze anything, but instead bubbled furiously and released interesting clouds of dense fog. I assume this is pure co2 or, being that I dropped the stuff in the water, did I screw it up some-how? I ask because the aphids seem to be totally unfazed by it. The fog lasts for about 20 minutes or so, and as the terrarium is pretty much sealed, it builds up pretty thick before clearing up. The damned bugs just hang on and seem to survive just fine. As I have to drive 60 miles to get more, and in the freezer it doesnt last too long, this has to work or I have to get into nasty chemicals that I really dont want to buy. I only need a small bit and dont know what to do with the large left-over quantities anyway. So... let's discuss the dry ice trick and see what I am doing wrong. I will be getting more tomorrow and will see if putting it in a plant pot not in water, and letting it slowly leak into the terrarium works better, ie not mixing it with the water.

    Your thoughts ladies and gentlemen are much appreciated. I want to get these plants really going well as I need to repay a plant give-away somehow and it wont work if they are either dead or buggy.


    Thanks in advance

    Andrew

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    kulamauiman's Avatar
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    CO2 takes a bit of time to kill. It has been contemplated as a commercial fumigant for commodities that are sensitive to the other commercial fumigants (old days there was methylbromide) and a few other nasties. the problem is it would often take 2-3 days for the animals to be killed. So didnt make sense to use to fumigate strawberries for aphids for example.... Keep it sealed for a bit check back in the tank tomorrow. I was shocked to see dry ice for sale at Fred Myers in Oregon. things like that don't happen here in Hawaii...

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    kulamauiman's Avatar
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    did some rough calculations . tank is about 9 cubic feet. a pound of dry ice will yield about 8.5 cubic feet of CO2 at room temp (according to the indoor plant growing people). If that is the case the entire tank should have been filled with CO2.... Unless it escaped somewhere...... Any air circulation?

    odd article found http://www.ulmer.de/Artikel.dll/s508...se_NjIzMzg.PDF

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    RL7836's Avatar
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    Ooops - didn't see that you posted here also. Shared this link on listserver.
    All the best,
    Ron
    You must do the thing you think you cannot do. --- Eleanor Roosevelt

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    roxorboxor's Avatar
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    The dense fog is just water vapor. Putting the CO2 in the water directly will tend to make it a bit acidic (the CO2 will dissolve into the water and react to create I think Carbonic acid like in soft drinks). So for that reason I think putting it in a pot and having it sublimate would be a bit better.

    As for whether this works or not I don't really know, but it sounds neat. Wish I could just buy dry ice! I'd be throwing it all over the place.

    Anyway let us know how it works.

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    Ok, so I went into the terrarium, took the plants outside and examined them under magnification. Aphids unscathed so... I removed them by hand, replaced them in the terrarium and got more dry ice. Instead of putting it in the water though, I set a plant pot full of it on top of an upended empty pot so that the vapours leak down and around all over. The terrarium is sealed again, and fogging heavily but this time not water vapour I think... There is a drop in temperature but I left the lights on over the top so they shouldn't get too cold I hope. I will keep monitoring that aspect. The plastic wrap on the side where I access the terrarium is bulging, so I know the density is building up in there. I plan to keep it like this for at least 10 days, and will report in at the end or if i see results such as mass death of plants, or huge explosion of insects or what have you.
    The only Utric not to survive so far was the U. humboldtii, which peeves me dreadfully. The plant was good when I got it, but didnt have enough time I think to really establish before the aphids swarmed. As they were down in the live moss, I didnt see them for quite some time really, and so missed the opportunity to really get at them before it was too late. I hadn't realized just how they had jumped from pot to pot, and now consider every pot in the terrarium suspect. I had thought it just buried in the moss, which grows well for me in there, but it seems it failed. The pot is just wall to wall moss now! I will be looking for another one later once I have debugged the system here. Also will be looking for D. schizandra. I will have a few feet of a Nepenthes hybrid going soon... My one and only highlander is growing great guns but no traps yet... too dry here and way too big for a terrarium. Will get back to that officially later here on terraforums.

    Thanks for all the help folks and I will keep reporting.

    Best wishes

    Andrew

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    Class 5 Nepenthes hoarder lance's Avatar
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    When ever I have aphids or a pest I usually spray the Nepenthes leaves with 50/50 water alcohol. The alcohol kills whats ever on there, evaporates instantly, and leaves behind the fat water molecules so the Nepenthes don't get burned. I usually wash out the soil if any of the mix got in it... that could spell trouble. If they are in the soil then wash the soil with the mix and wash it with RO water very well about two minutes later. I've done this many times with no side affects to the roots or LFS.


    In addition to growing plants, I design and build RC planes powered by Tesla batteries. Check out my progress at www.chargedplanes.com

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    RL7836's Avatar
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    There is a drop in temperature but I left the lights on over the top so they shouldn't get too cold I hope.
    While you need to manage the temps to keep the plants from getting too cold, keeping the lights on will provide a source of oxygen as the plants photosynthesize. I used the dry ice in the evening and kept the tank sealed until morning.
    All the best,
    Ron
    You must do the thing you think you cannot do. --- Eleanor Roosevelt

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