New Pest Control Option
The Brighton Branch had a very interesting meeting last Thursday, unfortunately with a rather small attendance, possibly becuase of bad weather and clashing football matches. The speaker was Neil Helyer from Fargro an entymologist and pest advisor for the horticultural and agricultural trade. We had a talk from him a few years ago and he also gave the Hampshire Memorial lecture to the BCSS AGM (about 3 years ago?). There have been a number of exiting developments since then and one in particular has great relevance to growers of cacti and succulents.
It has always been known that detergents (and even before that soft soap) had an insecticidal activity due their effect on the surface coating on such things as mealy bugs and also a suffocating effect due to blicking their breathing pores. A class of very long chain sulphonates has apparently even more pronounced effect and a product (SB Plant Invigorator
)is now available containing them. This is apparently effective against mealy bug and red spider as well as other sucking pests of the aphid type. There are several extremely good features to the use of this product, in that it is very safa and not prone to the pests developing resistance. The other factor not brought out on the manufacturers website is that predatory insects such as lacewings, ladybirds etc are not affected as they are more active and larger and can escape the suffocating effects of the spray.
We have samples to try out and will probably have some for sale at the AGM