Spinosad: An organic insecticide

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on August 12, 2010

Organic gardening is about working with nature to grow your plants, harvest the fruits of your labors, and share the planet with the plants and animals around you.  Sometimes, though, the animals, specifically the insects, get greedy and you need something to make sure you get your share.  Spinosad can help with that.

Spinosad is the fermented juices of a soil bacterium called Saccharopolyspora spinosa.  It is approved for use in organic production, so you will not loose your certification if you use it.  Even better, spinosad is very selective about what it kills.

Caterpillars and thrips are the main target of this insecticide.  Beetles die, too.  Adult butterflies and many insect predators and parasites are safe, though.  People and animals are safe, too.

The other great thing about spinosad is that it has a residual effectiveness of up to four weeks.  This contrasts with Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, which has a residual of only one or two days.  A longer residual means less spraying and less expense.

To use spinosad, you will have to find a commercial product containing it.  Although spinosad is not new, having been certified as organic by the USDA in 2003, it is not well known by home gardeners.  You will have to ask your nurseryman what products contain it or search the shelves.  Products  focused on caterpillars and thrips are more likely to contain it than more broad spectrum products.  Always read and follow the label.  The label is the law.

Gardenbookfrontcoverthumbnail For more help gardening, buy my book, Preparing A Vegetable Garden From The Ground Up
Available in print or ebook from or other retailers, this book walks you from choosing the site of your garden all the way through what to do after the harvest. Buy a copy for yourself or a friend today! 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Will August 16, 2010 at 11:41 am

Hi Stephanie,

Was just reading your post in Hesham’s contest ( congratulations!) and was very interested to read what you had to say about the importance of building a community of bloggers – especially because of your own niche … organic “vegetable gardening”. You are obviously concerned about healthy living and will hopefully be interested in the invitation to join the new Noaspa community below . It aims to spread the word about the health issues surrounding the use of aspartame and sodium fluoride in our daily lives.

Best wishes from Hamburg

Will recently posted..An Invitation To Join Noaspa 20My Profile


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