Friday, February 24, 2012

The Beetle Battle Strategizing Begins

Ah winter. The pace of farming slows down as the days shorten. A multitude of tasks is reduced to cutting, washing, and bagging winter greenhouse greens while jamming out to salsa and reggae music blasting from my otterbox-ed iphone.

Then global warming rears its ugly head as spinach begins growing larger and larger literally before my eyes, two weeks ahead of schedule! I cut, and cut, and cut...and...what is that? APHIDS?! In February? EGAD!

Time to order the biological weaponry (approved for organic production, of course).
I have been assigned to reading the Material Safety Data Sheets for each of the four pest-zapping elixirs that arrived today from Johnny's Selected Seeds. BORING.

So I'm going to break it down for you (mostly for me) so we (I) know what kind of interactions with these substances are safe or harmful, and so we know how they work (via incredibly oversimplified non-complete-sentence explanations).

NAME: Mycotrol O: Emulsifiable Suspension Mycoinsecticide

WHAT IT IS: A fungus. Live spores of Beauveria Bassiana strain GHA

HOW IT WORKS: It infects insects through their cuticle (skin). Spores germinate and eventually dissolve the skin, then fill the whole blasted critter with a fungal mass, pink or brown in color. The discoloration of larvae or pupae will be the indicator of death.

HOW TO USE IT: Apply early at first sign of insect presence via tank sprayer or fancy pants chemigation system. Apply continuously at seven day intervals, increase to 3-5 days if infestation is worse. Can be applied up until day of harvest. May be used on most vegetable and fruit crops for control of (SO MANY) pests, including: grasshoppers, whiteflies, aphids (die green peach aphid bastards! There shall no longer be a ring of your tiny grotesque bodies in the sink after washing spring spinach!), thrips, psyllids, mealybugs, leafhoppers, corn borers, imported cabbage worms, flea beetles, colorado potato beetles, cucumber beetles, white grubs, stink bugs, tarnished plant bugs, and many-a-weevil. BWAHAHA.

DANGER FACTOR: Eye irritation. Do not touch or inhale. Repeated exposure may cause allergic sensitization (whatever that means). Wear a respirator and waterproof gloves. Do not enter area without PPE (personal protective equipment) for four hours after application.

WORDS ON THE LABEL THAT BLOGGER DOESN'T THINK ARE REAL WORDS: Chemigation, emulsifiable, mycoinsecticide, adjuvant, psyllids, etc., etc.

SOUNDS LIKE...: A little troll with a battleaxe comes along and slaughters all the aphids/other evil soft bodied insects.

Stay tuned for more cheminformalightenation.

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