Systemic pesticide that isn't imidicloprid?

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I like the birds and the bees being alive so I don't want to use imidicloprid. I'm curious if there's something a bit less scorch-the-earth out there or if spraying with malathion / BT's / etc is the path?
 

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Is any general insecticide actually bee safe? I've seen acephate in the stores since imidacloprid is going to be banned in MA this year, but it also hurts bees. Maybe you can time your treatments for after your trees flower so the bees would have no interest in them at that point.
 
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Is any general insecticide actually bee safe? I've seen acephate in the stores since imidacloprid is going to be banned in MA this year, but it also hurts bees. Maybe you can time your treatments for after your trees flower so the bees would have no interest in them at that point.

That seems to be the general advice. I THINK that malathion when applied via foliar application washes off quickly enough that it's not as major of a concern as having a plant that is essentially made entirely of poison, on the inside.

It's possible that there's no way around it if you want to ensure you keep the borers away...

I'd be curious if folks disagree that post-flowering is "safe enough", I'd really like to not Silent Spring my back yard. The water runoff from the pots doesn't really go anywhere all that important, habitat-wise.
 

River's Edge

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That seems to be the general advice. I THINK that malathion when applied via foliar application washes off quickly enough that it's not as major of a concern as having a plant that is essentially made entirely of poison, on the inside.

It's possible that there's no way around it if you want to ensure you keep the borers away...

I'd be curious if folks disagree that post-flowering is "safe enough", I'd really like to not Silent Spring my back yard. The water runoff from the pots doesn't really go anywhere all that important, habitat-wise.
Often we concern ourselves over generalities, perhaps the actual degree of harm outweighs the benefits on occasion.
Indiscriminate use of pesticides is far different in scope from informed use and specific application with safeguards in place.
Sometimes the view is clearer when the lens is focussed! Not wishing to be obtuse, just the opposite actually!
Short answer, I think it is the best choice when used appropriately!
 
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Often we concern ourselves over generalities, perhaps the actual degree of harm outweighs the benefits on occasion.
Indiscriminate use of pesticides is far different in scope from informed use and specific application with safeguards in place.
Sometimes the view is clearer when the lens is focussed! Not wishing to be obtuse, just the opposite actually!
Short answer, I think it is the best choice when used appropriately!

I think that makes sense to me - tbh my biggest concern is borers that get busy before I notice. I can't think of much else I'd be as interested in using systemics for, and truth be told, I've yet to find one - so perhaps the answer is to not use any at all, until I'm shown why I shouldn't do that!
 

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I think that makes sense to me - tbh my biggest concern is borers that get busy before I notice. I can't think of much else I'd be as interested in using systemics for, and truth be told, I've yet to find one - so perhaps the answer is to not use any at all, until I'm shown why I shouldn't do that!
I use them in two circumstances, boring insects and very difficult fungal issues!
The surrounding forest and environment have several issues that are endemic and can affect my bonsai if not managed. It is unrealistic to think that issues can be avoided when they are common in your surroundings. natural surroundings have termites, carpenter ants, borers and fungal issues that are always present. needle cast is a common fungal issue along with pine beetles etc. etc.
 

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If using the systemic is your primary concerns for borers, you could check out your nearest ag group/community or university and learn the lifecycles of the borers specific to your local. Dial that in…. and you could get away with neem/pyrethrum 2-3x as their lifecycle begins. Surgical tomahawk strike.
 

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What kind of plants are you treating?
Bees stay away from my conifers and wasps only dive in when there's a raging aphid issue.
I have bee baths all around the yard and it's only wasps that drink from my bonsai soils. Fuck wasps.

I use plastic boxes to treat my plants in and keep nasties inside that box. But I only treat plants if I see they're having issues that seem detrimental to their long term health.
 

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Even when we practice discretion, bonsai people will never win the organic seal of approval.
And secretion is all we have.
 

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What are you trying to systemically accomplish? Is there a specific pest problem?
 
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What kind of plants are you treating?
Bees stay away from my conifers and wasps only dive in when there's a raging aphid issue.
I have bee baths all around the yard and it's only wasps that drink from my bonsai soils. Fuck wasps.

I use plastic boxes to treat my plants in and keep nasties inside that box. But I only treat plants if I see they're having issues that seem detrimental to their long term health.

a range. The flowering ones are the ones I’m most concerned with, but I know water runoff from treated pots can be not so great


Even when we practice discretion, bonsai people will never win the organic seal of approval.
And secretion is all we have.


for sure, I just want to make sure I get more fluent on when it’s appropriate and when it’s not given how serious it can be. Like if I’m really at less risk due to my region…. Sorta changes the conversation for me personally. I’m not gonna hate on anyone trying to save or protect a tree they’ve invested as much time as this takes though.


What are you trying to systemically accomplish? Is there a specific pest problem?

Purely preventative at this stage which is part of my caution. Salting the earth when I don’t even have a specific reason yet seems like a lot.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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Hmm I'm not familiar with any borers that pose an issue to flowering plants over here. Either because I have very few of those, or because those kind of borers aren't around.
I wish I could help, but I only know that beetles respond to different chemicals than bees do. So it might be worth your time to see if there's something out there that doesn't hurt bees.
If you know the exact type of borer, I can try to help find something.
 

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Additionally, don’t systemics wipe out everything in a planting media including beneficial bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi. Do you all use systemics for mycorrhizae requiring species like pines and oaks?

I understand some BT strains to be safe for bees and other beneficial insects where as spinosad is not. It only stays around for a few days as the suns radiation kills the active microorganisms in BT.

If the initial stage of the borer is a chewing caterpillar BT may/not work. There are a couple wormlike caterpillars that BT doesn’t work on - see below. If spinosad is required, tread lightly :)


“Bt products that kill caterpillars are not effective against other types of pests. Even certain caterpillars are not controlled by Bt, especially those that live in the soil or bore into plant tissues without consuming a significant amount of the Bt applied to plant surfaces. The peach tree borer in stone fruits, corn earworm in corn, and cutworms that clip off garden plants are examples of caterpillars seldom controlled by Bt treatments. Most Bt products are not labeled for the control of codling moth larvae that attack apples and pears because these larvae do not feed on fruit surfaces”
 

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I use imidicloprid on my trees each year but only on species that do not bloom. One good application each spring is all the trees need so it is easy to control where the flow through ends up. I keep them away from any flowering plants during the application process.
 
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Hmm I'm not familiar with any borers that pose an issue to flowering plants over here. Either because I have very few of those, or because those kind of borers aren't around.
I wish I could help, but I only know that beetles respond to different chemicals than bees do. So it might be worth your time to see if there's something out there that doesn't hurt bees.
If you know the exact type of borer, I can try to help find something.

that makes sense! I had a bunch of caterpillars on my maples last year that BTs took care of (I’ll have to check which I have, I didn’t realize there was more than one kind - I believe mine is Bonide).

I’ll let you know if I see anything that gives me concern - like I said, so far I’m mostly thinking preventatively. I’ve dealt with a few bugs just with Malathion so far and haven’t really NEEDED much else yet, other than that caterpillar incident.

I also suspect that outside of one quince incident my use of daconil or infuse has been largely overkill.
 
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I use imidicloprid on my trees each year but only on species that do not bloom. One good application each spring is all the trees need so it is easy to control where the flow through ends up. I keep them away from any flowering plants during the application process.

When you say it's easy to control the runoff from one application, are you saying that once you water in the imidicloprid the first time it doesn't runoff anymore? I would have assumed that it would take time for the tree to fully absorb it, so it would stay in the soil and continue to produce runoff for some time - sort of like osmocote.

I've got some scale issues on a few junipers and have started using some imidicloprid for the first time recently. There are some citrus trees planted in the runoff area where I ususally keep two of the trees I've treated, and so I've moved them over to a different area where the runoff won't have any chance of contaminating the fruit. I want to get them back to their original spot ASAP as it gets much better sunlight but I absolutely don't want to contaminate the citrus trees - we eat the fruit. I was thinking I'd wait a month or so before moving them back. Think that's overkill?
 

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