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Neem granules

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Neem granules

Postby Robb » Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:27 am

this year half my cacti have died because of mealy bugs. But the other day i saw this new thing called Neem graules. i found out that they do work on mealy bugs but i'm not sure if they will work with cacti.
do any of you know about neem granules and if they work on cacti?
that would be great if you could reply :D
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Re: Neem granules

Postby Rod Smith » Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:41 am

Neem oil is reckoned to be very good against mealy bugs but I'm not sure about the granules. Perhaps you mix them with a liquid before use. If you've got a heavy infestation it would probably be best to use a powerful spray of water to completely clear the pests although this is a bad time of year to give cacti a good soaking. I usually remove mealy bugs by hand with a pair of tweezers then treat with Provado. It's not so much of a problem if you keep on top of them. Good luck with your infestation.
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Re: Neem granules

Postby iann » Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:12 am

I found a web page that says that Neem granules are the crushed kernels of the fruit, essentially with no other processing. Another source described the kernels as 45% oil. I always treat online information about Neem with some scepticism. Despite the wholesome green credentials, this has become big business and it generates an enormous amount of marketing noise.
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Re: Neem granules

Postby Peterthecactusguy » Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:18 pm

I have been warned not to use neem oil on cacti. I don't know if it's true or not, but I think it's one of those things where some people are trying to market a new wonderful green product, that I know nothing about. I believe that it was mentioned at my class that neem oil can damage cacti due to photo-chemical burns. I haven't done any research but I haven't bought any neem oil either. Most of the pests I get are cochineals anyways, and I just use the greenest cleanser of all, Water, which has the added effect of making the cacti grow. :)
Here's to you, all you insidious creatures of green..er I mean cacti.
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Re: Neem granules

Postby Steve Johnson » Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:50 am

Peterthecactusguy wrote:I have been warned not to use neem oil on cacti. I don't know if it's true or not, but I think it's one of those things where some people are trying to market a new wonderful green product, that I know nothing about. I believe that it was mentioned at my class that neem oil can damage cacti due to photo-chemical burns. I haven't done any research but I haven't bought any neem oil either. Most of the pests I get are cochineals anyways, and I just use the greenest cleanser of all, Water, which has the added effect of making the cacti grow. :)

I can vouch for that. Last year I gave my whole collection an Imidacloprid soil soak to ward off mealies. Everything was fine until I thought I saw a few mealies on my Stenocactus crispatus a couple months later. If I knew then what I know now, I would've checked my 3X magnifier first to see if they were actually there. But no, I decided to try a Neem oil spray that I'd been using with a lot of success on my Habanero plants. Figured that "well, it's organic, shouldn't hurt". A few days later the Steno had orange spots on its skin, the plant was completely orange in a week, and completely dead in two. So lesson learned -- cacti aren't the same as Habs, and I wouldn't use Neem oil on any cactus or succulent.

To be honest, PTCG is talking about a spray. If you're looking at Neem granules, I believe the idea is to mix them with water in a soil soak. However, since Neem is, after all, an oil, I'd like to know if or how it's supposed to get into the plants' juices through the roots. I'm deeply skeptical about the whole idea.
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Re: Neem granules

Postby Robb » Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:48 am

Thanks guys!!!
So no neem granules i guess but I really need a good mealy killer. they have killed at least 5 of my plants. right now at lest a half of my tiny collection is infested!
the produdct needs to be easy to use and safe. I tried the sunlight soap and water trick with very little results, do you have to repeat the process or something?
I would love to hear some of your tried and trusted ways of killing the mealy's.
Thanks again!!!
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Re: Neem granules

Postby Steve Johnson » Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:27 am

Robb wrote:Thanks guys!!!
So no neem granules i guess but I really need a good mealy killer. they have killed at least 5 of my plants. right now at lest a half of my tiny collection is infested!
the produdct needs to be easy to use and safe. I tried the sunlight soap and water trick with very little results, do you have to repeat the process or something?
I would love to hear some of your tried and trusted ways of killing the mealy's.
Thanks again!!!

Imidacloprid is a neonicotinoid insecticide that scrambles the little nervous systems of scale insects (including mealies). I don't know what you can find in NZ, but look for anything with an active ingredient that has "cloprid" at the end of its name. Could be Thiacloprid or something like that. If you can get a "cloprid" insecticide, the most effective is a soil soak because it'll come up through the roots and make the plant's juices toxic to mealies, etc. That also takes care of root mealies, which obviously will be unaffected by sprays. However, remember that your cacti need to be growing for the systemic to be effective. Even then it takes a bit for the systemic to kick in, so you should be spraying as well. Now let's deal with that end of it:

I only use soil soaks, although I believe that Imidacloprid sprays don't cause a phototoxic reaction, so that may be okay. Hopefully someone else on the forum can back me up on it. If you can't get a "cloprid" insecticide, you'll have to look for something else. Oil-based insecticidal sprays are generally horrible for cacti. I have no experience with soap sprays, so once again hopefully someone on the forum can give you some recommendations. Here's something I definitely can recommend -- Isopropyl alcohol. It is both safe and effective, dries out quickly, and shouldn't cause any phototoxic reactions as long as you keep your cacti away from direct sunlight when you spray. However, you'll have to keep on top of it -- spray once a week until the mealies are totally gone, then spray a few more times just to be sure.

Hope this helps!
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Re: Neem granules

Postby iann » Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:15 pm

"well, it's organic, shouldn't hurt". Billions of dollars of gone into creating that mistaken impression. Just because it once grew on a tree doesn't make it safe for you or your plants. I strongly suggest that you don't eat any Ricinus fruit, nibble a Nightshade leaf, or even have too much skin contact with foxglove leaves. The same goes for Neem oil. It isn't safe to drink and it isn't safe to spray on your plants willy nilly. Keep them out of the sun when you spray and for several days afterwards, and preferably do it when they are well watered.

Imidacloprid can cause phytoxtoxicity but it is a very weak effect. In practice any problems will come from the surfactant or oil it is mixed with. Soap sprays are another "green" pest solution that are pretty bad for succulents. Not only do they cause some of the strongest scorching effects of any pesticide, they are great for washing off those lovely powdery and waxy blooms that some plants have ](*,) Oils are the worst. Some of them can only be used on dead woody material, the dormant oils for nuking everything on a tree in winter, but even the ultra-fine summer oils will burn a succulent in the sun.
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Re: Neem granules

Postby Robb » Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:07 pm

Im liking the sound of cloprid. how bad are its effects on cacti?
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Re: Neem granules

Postby Robb » Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:22 pm

most cactus growers in nz seem to use the sunlight soap method then blasting the roots with a garden hose.
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Re: Neem granules

Postby Robb » Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:41 am

I bought some conifidor active ingredent: Imidacloprid I gave it a test on one of my badly mealyed mamms fingers crossed it works
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Re: Neem granules

Postby Steve Johnson » Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:50 am

Robb wrote:I bought some conifidor active ingredent: Imidacloprid I gave it a test on one of my badly mealyed mamms fingers crossed it works

Sounds like the NZ equivalent of Bayer Advanced here in the US. You're on the right track with Imidacloprid, so I'd go with a soil soak to get the systemic working, then in the meantime a 1-2 punch with Isopropyl alcohol spray once a week for maybe about a month. By that time the systemic in your cacti will take over with the "heavy lifting" to keep the mealies away. Since you're in springtime now, hopefully they're growing enough to take up the systemic in their roots. On the IPA, remember that it won't cause a phototoxic reaction, but your plants should be sprayed and left to dry out away from direct sunlight.
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Re: Neem granules

Postby Peterthecactusguy » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:05 am

Steve Johnson wrote:
Peterthecactusguy wrote:I have been warned not to use neem oil on cacti. I don't know if it's true or not, but I think it's one of those things where some people are trying to market a new wonderful green product, that I know nothing about. I believe that it was mentioned at my class that neem oil can damage cacti due to photo-chemical burns. I haven't done any research but I haven't bought any neem oil either. Most of the pests I get are cochineals anyways, and I just use the greenest cleanser of all, Water, which has the added effect of making the cacti grow. :)

I can vouch for that. Last year I gave my whole collection an Imidacloprid soil soak to ward off mealies. Everything was fine until I thought I saw a few mealies on my Stenocactus crispatus a couple months later. If I knew then what I know now, I would've checked my 3X magnifier first to see if they were actually there. But no, I decided to try a Neem oil spray that I'd been using with a lot of success on my Habanero plants. Figured that "well, it's organic, shouldn't hurt". A few days later the Steno had orange spots on its skin, the plant was completely orange in a week, and completely dead in two. So lesson learned -- cacti aren't the same as Habs, and I wouldn't use Neem oil on any cactus or succulent.

To be honest, PTCG is talking about a spray. If you're looking at Neem granules, I believe the idea is to mix them with water in a soil soak. However, since Neem is, after all, an oil, I'd like to know if or how it's supposed to get into the plants' juices through the roots. I'm deeply skeptical about the whole idea.


No what I am talking about is neem oil. The granulars have it in there too, which could damage a plant if the oil comes into contact with the epidermis and is then put into sunlight. I agree with what Ian is saying too. It's all about advertising and ads can be very misleading. Just because it's green doesn't mean it's good for everything. The point I was trying to make is that NEEM oil is bad for cacti+ other succulents, as related to me via a class I took at DBG. The instructor was talking about green products and how they are bad for cacti. They might be wonderful for many other things, but they aren't good for cacti. Same with the soaps, which do NOT contain soap in it the way people think they do. Soap is a general term and usually they have strong harsh chemicals that are mixed with soap or oil to help spread them. Those processes might be ok on some plants, but not cacti.
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Re: Neem granules

Postby Robb » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:07 am

They had no soil soak so I got they spray. I sprayed they soil with it.
thanks for all your help =D> =D> =D> =D>
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Re: Neem granules

Postby Steve Johnson » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:59 am

Robb wrote:They had no soil soak so I got they spray. I sprayed they soil with it.
thanks for all your help =D> =D> =D> =D>

Sorry, I should've mentioned this before -- if you can take the top off the bottle of Confidor, you'll be able to dilute the concentrate in water. That's exactly what I do with the Bayer Advanced Complete insect killer I've been using. There's your soil soak, although I don't know how much you should be diluting. Best to contact the place where you're buying the Confidor, and they should be able to advise you on the dilution ratio.

By the way, I checked out the Yates website -- all they talk about is using Confidor in sprays. Then on their site I tried "Ask a Garden Expert". Not one single thing pertaining to cacti or succulents. If Yates is who you're contacting, and they tell you never to use a soil soak for your cacti, they don't know what the heck they're talking about. Hopefully you won't be running into a roadblock on this, but if you do, let me know and I'll see if I can help.
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