Pesticide Use Guidelines for Orchids
Despite all of our efforts to keep our collections clean, tidy and pest-free, there simply will come a time when we’re forced to pull out the “big guns” in our arsenal of commercial pesticides. Your stewardship of their use is an important aspect of orchid culture.
While I am not intending to list specific products, I would like to share some general pesticide use guidelines.
One of the most common issues that folks have with pesticide use is that of improper treatment:
- Too weak of a concentration seems obvious, in that it simply won’t kill the pests.
- Too strong of a mix concentration can also be bad, as not only might it be damaging to the plants, in some cases it will negatively affect the solubility of the active ingredient, rendering it less effective.
- Most pesticides do not kill insects in all stages of their maturity – egg, larva, and pupa, adult – so while a single treatment might kill, for example, all of the adults present, there are more critters waiting to mature and take their places devouring our plants. Insecticide labels recommend repeating the treatment – usually two or three times – so be sure to do just that.
- The time period between treatments is dependent on both the pesticide and the life cycle of the pest. If the chemical has extended residual action, the time period between treatments may be longer. If it doesn’t, such as is the case with home remedies concocted from soaps and alcohols, more frequent treatments will be necessary. Likewise, pests with short life cycles will need more frequent treatments to avoid missing the maturation and reproduction of an entire generation.
Failure to comply with any of these guidelines can fail to control the pests and may lead to the development of resistant strains that are even harder to eradicate.
Ray Barkalow has been growing orchids for over 45 years, and owns First Rays, which offers horticultural products to the hobby grower. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can visit his website at FirstRays.com.
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