Posts Tagged 'Defensor'

Mini Lacewing Cards Part of Biocontrol Tool Kit for Gardeners

in_lacewing_02_tabMany gardeners think ‘ladybugs’ when they want to go after plant pests. When I have a chance, I try to pitch the benefits of green lacewing instead. Especially from late spring through early fall, lacewing eggs on cards are, in my experience, more reliable and versatile.

Convergent lady beetles (ladybugs) that are so popular prefer an aphid diet and migrate over large distances. They aren’t as interested as lacewing larvae are in a mixed diet that can include small caterpillars, scale crawlers, psyllids, mealybug, whitefly, in fact, just about any soft-bodied insect, mite or egg they run into.

A big feature of lacewing eggs is that they can develop in transit without harm. Buying ladybugs through the mail can be disappointing because they don’t travel very well. Most of the year when there are only stored ladybugs we can’t even guarantee that they will all be alive if they travel more than one day. Sometimes they make it, sometimes not. Hence, we recommend overnight service for ladybugs and resulting shipping costs can be extreme.

Lacewing eggs, on the other hand, are safe in transit while they are incubating. If they are traveling for three days, time enough to get those hungry larvae out on the prowl. A card of 1,000 lacewing eggs is a good amount for a yard with a few rosebushes and trees and some beds of flowers and vegetables. We encourage gardeners to put out lacewing two or three times during the warm season. They are more likely to colonize a yard that has flowers blooming throughout the season, providing nectar for the adult lacewing.

Because lacewing eggs can be shipped by ground or 3-day service, they can be combined with heavier items to economize on freight charges. A mini lacewing card costing $14.00 can be combined with a quart of Gourmet Liquid Ant Bait ($13.50) to meet Rincon-Vitova’s $25 minimum order. If you don’t have any dispensers for the ant bait and don’t want to bother with homemade ones, or if the cost of the AntPro ($26.00) is a barrier, add a pair of Ants-No-More dispensers for $7.50.

If ants aren’t going to be converging on your lacewing cards and cleaning the eggs off of them, then you can go to the next level with a combination with a mini lacewing card and a tray of 250 Aphidoletes for long-term aphid control. If caterpillars are a greater problem than aphids, add the mini-Trichogramma card for $16.00, understanding that they only attack the eggs laid by moths before they hatch into caterpillars. If powdery mildew plagues your garden later in summer, get a quart of Defensor to meet the minimum order with a final installment of lacewing eggs. Beneficial habitat seed mixes and quarts of orange oil or neem oil are other items to acquire with a shipment of lacewing eggs to build a basic toolkit for natural pest control.


Rhizoboost and Defensor No Longer OMRI Listed

You may have noticed recently that some previously listed products are no longer on the OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) Products List. This past year, OMRI has been re-reviewing all products on their list for NOP compliance. The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) has recently revised its requirements for products to be approved for use in organic. The new requirements no longer allow the use of some inert ingredients (see full list below). Consequently, OMRI has withdrawn certification of a lot of products. Listing status is renewed annually, and another reason a product may fail to stay on the list is that some companies decide not to pay the listing fee. For companies with a small volume of sales, it can be a lot of money.

Two Rincon-Vitova products no longer listed as of September 2008 are BioStart Rhizoboost and Defensor. Bio-Cat, the manufacturer, is currently working on finding a preservative that will meet the new NOP standards. They haven’t given us a specific time frame, but testing a new formulation will take a few months and getting the products recertified by OMRI will take a few more months after that. We’ll keep you updated on their progress. We will continue to carry these products, but be aware that they are no longer approved for use in USDA certified organic production. If you need an OMRI listed microbial inoculant, we also carry Natural Resources Group’s Activate line of products. Hopefully a new formulation will be approved for organic soon because we have seen the benefits of these products extend beyond improving and maintaining soil biodiversity and promoting balance in the soil foodweb. Rhizoboost is especially helpful for farms in the first year of transition off of fumigated and chemically treated soils before moving the land towards organic certification.

Cucumber plants with and without Rhizoboost.

Cucumber plants grown with and without Rhizoboost.

Squash plants grown with and without Rhizoboost

Squash plants grown with and without Rhizoboost.

Inert ingredients no longer allowed by NOP standards:

acetylated lanolin alcohol
acrylic acid methyl ester, polymer with acrylonitrile and 1,3-butadiene
coumarone-indene resin
manganous oxide
pentaerythritol monostearate
pentaerythritol tetrastearate
polyglyceryl phthalate ester of coconut oil fatty acid
sodium fluoride


%d bloggers like this: