I am very excited to announce that First Rays has recently become a retail and wholesale distributor of some novel pest control products that are gaining quite a following, both among my online customers, but local organic growers, farms, and wineries. All are usable on all sorts of plants, from ornamentals to grasses, to food and fruit crops, and have a zero preharvest interval (that is, you can treat the plants and eat them in the same day). None of them has any affect on the treated plants, either.
The first is SucraShield
, which perforates and strips the protective coatings on the eggs, larvae, pupae and adults (most pesticides only affect adults) of both mites and soft-bodied insects, causing them to suffocate, desiccate and die. It is made from sugar (no, it doesn't attract ants), and its mode of killing is like that of a soap - mechanical, rather than being a toxin. It is safe for most beneficial insects and has no impact on bees whatsoever. In fact, it's active ingredient is certified for use on the mites that wipe out hives. I have been selling this product for over a year, and it is very popular. It has a very mild, sweet odor, so can be used indoors.
The next product, Oleotrol-M
, is really interesting to me. Consisting of nanoparticles of vegetable oils, it eliminates fungi, mildew, and diseases by penetrating and breaching cell walls. Think of how a drop of oil spreads out rapidly when placed on water - that rapid spreading is the natural driving force to reduce surface energy. Oleotrol-M does pretty much that same thing to the pathogen cell walls. It is not a smothering action like ultrafine horticultural or neem oils - the amount of oil in the as-sprayed solution is on the order of two-hundredths of a percent. Again, safe for indoor use.
If those are considered the "rifle shots" to control pests, this next one is the "hand grenade":
is a contact miticide, insecticide, fungicide, and molluscicide. Made from FDA GRAS (generally recognized as safe), food-grade ingredients - essential oil of mustard and capsaicin oleoresins - when mixed with water and sprayed, it envelops the plants with a vapor that penetrates every nook and cranny, killing essentially any pest. The capsaicins (from hot peppers) stay on the plant surface to repel future attacks. Even though they are food grade ingredients, the vapor has a very strong odor, so this one is best kept for out-of-door use. It is ideal for folks who "summer" their plants outdoors, as it kills invaders and leaves a repelltant coating, and when you're about to bring the plants back in, it clobbers any unwanted hitch hikers. I have used Bugitol in my greenhouse, so I'll offer this advice: wear an organic vapor respirator, and start spraying at the end with the exhaust vents, working your way toward the incoming fresh air. In literally a matter of minutes, the vapor is gone, and except for the shiny repellant layer, you'd never know you had treated the plants. Again - if used on foods, you can harvest and eat them immediately.