Materials Available For Effective Pest Control

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July may be a popular vacation month for many folks, but it certainly is not for insects. 

It is the month when some insects are most active. Hence the spray gun should get lots of use during July if insect damage is to be minimal.

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Let’s consider. Some insects and related pests become active during summer, against which control measures should be applied in July. 

Because some insects do not occur in all parts of the country, the gardener must rely on experience and observation to help him select the proper sprays.

Controlling Japanese Beetles

Japanese beetles feed on many deciduous trees and shrubs in July, particularly apple, elm, linden, peach, willow, and horse chestnut. They also like roses, zinnias, and the silks on sweet corn.

The standard control spray is 9 tablespoons of 50% percent wettable DDT powder (or 6 tablespoons of the 75% percent powder) in 3 gallons of water applied every two weeks during the beetle season. 

However, weekly applications may be necessary when the beetle population is unusually heavy.

Where food crops such as peaches, plums, and raspberries are to be protected or where beetles have developed resistance to DDT, methoxychlor may be substituted.

Troublesome Mites

Repeated use of DDT will sometimes cause a marked increase in mites. To avoid this possibility, include one of the mite-killers discussed below in the DDT spray or use a miticide as soon as mites are noticed.

Mites become particularly troublesome during midsummer dry spells and on plants growing under unfavorable conditions. 

The different kinds of mites include:

  • Red spiders
  • Southern red mites
  • Spruce mites, oak mites, boxwood mites, and honey locust mites (species named after their principal host)

The best time to control mites is early June. Before they become very numerous, unfortunately, they are so tiny that they are easily overlooked, and many gardeners only know they are abundant once their leaves turn yellow.

An easy way to detect mites is to vigorously shake some leaves or a small branch over a sheet of white paper. 

The pests will be dislodged and can easily be seen against the white background. Drawing a circle with a lead pencil around each tiny ” speck” will make their movement even more discernible.

Among the best-known miticides on the market are Aramite, Dimite, Malathon, Ovotran, and Sulphenone. Some of these are more dangerous to handle than others, so follow directions.

Troublesome Scale

By late June and early July, most of the so-called armored scales, such as the oyster-shell scale and euonymus scale on a lilac, anonymous, and other deciduous trees and shrubs, are no longer in the crawling stage.

They have now settled in their permanent locations along twigs and stems. Common contact insecticides are ineffective against this stationary stage, but a Malathion spray will be effective.

The crawler stage of soft scales like geraniums and the cottony scales on yew. Arborvitae and rhododendron are also controlled with Malathion.

Shoot Moth on Pines

Large budded pines, particularly Austrian. Japanese black. The European pine shoot moth may attack Mugho, red, and Scotch pines. 

In the worm stage, this pest begins to bore into the buds in early July. A DDT spray or dust applied during the first week of July will control this destructive pest.

Peach Tree Borer Pest

Peach tree borers are a major cause of the premature death of many peach trees in backyard gardens. The long-used pa paradichlorobenzene soil treatment in the fall has given way to DDT sprays.

A heavy dose of DDT, a cup of the 50% percent wettable powder in 3 gallons of water, should be sprayed on the trunk and lower branches during the second week of July when the moths deposit eggs on the bark. This spray should be repeated once or twice at two-week intervals for total control.

Summer Transplanting Aid

Gardeners and nursery workers no longer need to take a midsummer vacation from transplanting trees and shrubs. 

It is now possible to safely move deciduous and evergreen plants during this critical season using Wilt-Pruf, a safe, easy-to-apply product.

Wilt-Pruf is a milky liquid containing minute particles of plastic that form a protective coating when sprayed on plants. Soon after application, it dries to a colorless, near-invisible coat.

When sprayed on leaves, Wilt-Pruf cuts down the rate of water loss and enables a transplanted tree or shrub to retain most of its vital moisture during the difficult period of re-rooting in a new location. Treated plants, however, must be watered regularly in their new location.

Even vegetable plants can be transplanted more successfully in hot weather if sprayed with Wilt-Pruf while still in the seedbed or flats before lifting.

According to the manufacturer, WiltPruf has not been known to injure humans and pets. Nor is it apt to cause foliage burn when used as directed.

In a future column, I shall tell of some of the remarkable results I’m getting in rooting cuttings with Wilt-Pruf.

Volatile poisonous materials should not be used in greenhouses attached to living quarters or work areas.

A mixture of Lindane and Aramite is now available for controlling certain pests not controlled by DDT. Aphids and mites, which sometimes increase in numbers due to frequent DDT applications, are readily controlled with this combination spray. This mixture also controls Lacebugs on all kinds of plants.

We hear a great deal these days from one gardening school about how the human race is slowly dying from chemical insecticides, fungicides, and fertilizers. How much is there to this propaganda?


Let’s consider insecticides for a moment. Everyone knows and admits that most insecticides contain toxic materials and can cause death to humans when the insecticides are used under conditions of gross carelessness. 

But let’s compare the deaths caused by some commonly used insecticides with those caused by other chemical products in widespread use.

Fourteen deaths have resulted from DDT, but these reports indicate that, in most cases. The solvents played an important, if not decisive, role. One death due to occupational exposure is known to have been caused by the insecticide chlordane.

On the other hand, here is the record for some other chemicals for the year-1949. Seventy accidental deaths were caused by aspirin, 87 people died from lye or similar chemicals, 117 from kerosene and other petroleum products, and 466 died from barbiturates, either accidentally or purposely.

Magnite, a new rock mineral soil conditioner and plant food, has recently been placed on the market. Mined, milled, and packaged in Colorado.

 Magnetite contains the big three, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash, plus three secondary plant food elements, calcium, sulfur, and magnesium, in soluble form.

It also contains trace elements boron, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc.

According to the manufacturer, Magnetite has yet another important advantage. It can be applied to the soil’s surface, allowing water to carry it to the subsoil level. Hence, it does not have to be dug into the soil like most soil conditioners.

44659 by P. P. Pirone