There is nothing quite as disheartening to a gardener as contracting a pest insect or a pathogenic fungi problem. A pest insect infestation or pathogenic fungi can quickly destroy an otherwise healthy indoor or greenhouse garden. The controlled environments in an indoor garden or greenhouse allow for heightened control over environmental factors, but also, due to a lack of natural predators, create a perfect breeding ground for some pest insects and pathogens. Even plants outdoors can fall victim to pest insects or pathogenic fungi. Whether the garden is indoors, outdoors, or in a greenhouse, a horticulturist should take a proactive approach to preventing and/or treating pest insects or pathogens.
The use of insecticides and fungicides is quite common in horticulture. Unfortunately, many of the products used are derived from harsh chemical ingredients that can leave behind dangerous residuals. Vegetable crops and other consumable plants should never be treated with an insecticide or fungicide that could pose health risks to the horticulturist or the end consumer. The good news is that many horticulturists have learned that organic-based pesticides and fungicides can be just as effective at treating and preventing pest insects as their chemical counterparts. Although the manufacturer’s application instructions should still be followed with organic-based insecticides and fungicides, they are generally safer for both the gardener and the end consumer. Organic pesticides and fungicides are also generally safer for the environment and are less likely to negatively affect beneficial insects.
Guard ‘n Spray is an OMRI certified organic insecticide and fungicide containing food-grade active ingredients. This multi-purpose spray can be used to treat not only pest insects, such as spider mites, broad mites, aphids, fungus gnats, white flies, beetles and thrips, but also pathogenic fungi, such as powdery mildew and downy mildew. Due to its all natural, food-grade-based formula, Guard ‘n Spray is safe to use around people and pets and will not harm beneficial insect pollinators. Guard ‘n Spray can be diluted or used at full strength. Generally speaking, a full strength application would be used to treat an existing pest insect or fungi problem and a diluted strength would be used as a preventive measure or for general maintenance purposes. For commercial or large scale operations, Guard ‘n Spray can be used in fogging and atomizer systems as a foliar treatment. Using a fogger or atomizer system to apply Guard ‘n Spray is extremely effective because it aerosolizes the active ingredients and provides a “blanket” of protection for the plants. In fact, the finer the droplets of Guard ‘n Spray become, the more active the botanical oil constituents become which increases the overall effectiveness.
When pest insects ingest the active ingredients in Guard ‘n Spray, they stop digesting needed proteins and eventually starve to death. The plant extracts in Guard ‘n Spray contain compounds that interfere with a pest insect’s nervous system; thus affecting the way the pest insect feeds, moves and reproduces. In addition to messing up the pest insect’s digestion, the botanical oils in Guard ‘n Spray coat the exoskeleton of the pest insect and clog the organism’s spiracles or breathing tubes. As if starving and asphyxiation weren’t enough, the other active ingredients found in Guard ‘n Spray desiccate (dry out or dehydrate) the pest insect’s exoskeleton. Guard ‘n Spray is an effective foliar treatment for pest insects that feed and/or live on the plants themselves, but it is also very effective at treating soil-borne insects. A diluted solution of Guard ‘n Spray can be used as a soil drench. Gardeners that water in Guard ‘n Spray can safely combat larvae that live in or near the soil or medium.
Guard ‘n Spray works by affecting the fungi’s reproductive portions to prevent sexual and asexual reproduction. This makes it a perfect product to prevent and treat powdery mildew and downy mildew. The active ingredients dry out the reproductive portion of the fungi. This is imperative because these types of fungi live inside of the plant tissue and are only visible to the eye when they break through the plant’s tissue to reproduce. Once applied, Guard ‘n Spray stops the fungi’s initial germination on the plant’s tissue. Spraying Guard ‘n Spray before the fungi have a chance to contaminate the plant is crucial. When the fungi become visible to the naked eye, Guard ‘n Spray should be applied at full strength and sprayed directly on the fungi. Both the incredible insecticidal and fungicidal powers of Guard ‘n Spray can be attributed to its primary active ingredients: rosemary oil, cinnamon oil, and sesame oil. All three of these oils are great examples of plant-based insecticides that are not only safe for people and pets, but also the planet.
Special compounds found in rosemary extracts have the ability to block the octopamine receptors of many pest insect varieties. Pest insects sprayed with a rosemary oil solution can experience paralysis, starvation, and, eventually, death. Because octopamine receptors are specific to insects, rosemary-based insecticides will cause no adverse effects to mammals or birds. All in all, using rosemary oil as an insecticide is a safe alternative to chemical insecticides. Rosemary oil is a Guard ‘n Spray ingredient.
As an insecticide, cinnamon oil extract, an ingredient in Guard ‘n Spray, works by disrupting a pest insect’s neurotransmitters. Many times this disruption affects the way the pest insect feeds, causing them to die of starvation. Because these neurotransmitters are specific to insects, this type of insecticide is extremely safe for people, pets and other vertebrates. The compound cinnamic aldehyde is a plant extract of cinnamon which has been revered for its antimicrobial properties. This isolated compound shows great potential as an organic fungicide.
Sesame oil is a Guard ‘n Spray ingredient and can be used as an insecticide by itself or in combination with other essential oils or insecticidal ingredients. On its own, sesame oil works as a suffocating agent. It essentially coats a pest insect, preventing it from “breathing” properly, and causing death by suffocation.
Gardeners who care about their own health and the environment are turning away from chemical insecticides and fungicides and instead are relying on the gifts given to us by Mother Nature. Plant-based insecticides and fungicides are not only effective at treating pest insects and pathogens; they can also be used as a safe guard against potential bug or fungi problems. Indoor, outdoor, and greenhouse gardens are all susceptible in their own ways to pest insects and pathogens. Guard ‘n Spray is a product that allows any type of grower to effectively kill pest insects and treat pathogenic fungi, without the added worry of the potential safety hazards associated with pest control.
As horticulture continues to evolve, our practices are sure to include more insecticides and fungicides that are derived from plant oils and plant extracts. As more gardeners become conscious of the potential dangers of chemical pesticides, there will be an even stronger demand for all natural, plant-based solutions. After all, ridding a garden of pest insects or fungi should never mean a compromise the gardener’s health. Guard ‘n Spray is a fine example of a safe and effective pest insect and pathogen control product that all types of gardeners can feel confident about.