So some sort of chewing insect is circulating among my Sarras and other outdoor plants. I got a bottle of Ortho Systemic Insect Killer (active ingredient Orthene, aka acephate) but I'm a little confused. The bottle says to apply it to all surfaces of the affected plants, which won't be easy for some of my plants, such as my S. purpurea colony. I thought that systemic insecticides were absorbed by the plant - can't I just apply it to exposed surfaces, so that whatever nibbles on the plants will get poisoned? Will it not work if I don't get everything?
Also, what kind of handling procedures do you folks use with this stuff? I was figuring on wearing long clothes, gloves and a bandana and then throwing them all in a hot wash when I'm done. Is this adequate? Will washing them in my washing machine create a contamination risk? I've heard nasty things about insecticides and I don't want to take chances.