[Market-farming] Re Harlequin Bugs

Allan Balliett aballiett at frontiernet.net
Mon Sep 18 21:15:34 EDT 2006

Pam - I know, you're right. I'll have to give you the abbreviated 
version. This is what you need to do. First off, if you have any idea 
that you have hard water, you need to purchase an organically 
acceptable 'chemical' water conditioner from Peaceful Valley. After 
that, you need to get a high quality potassium-based insecticidal 
soap. (M-pede is the one that came with the best recommendations, 
but, apparently, concentrated SAFER SOAP will work, as well.) Next, 
you have to FLUSH the harlequins. This is best done in the evening 
with essential oil of peppermint in your sprayer (1tbsp per gal of 
water). (This step not necessary for seedlings) Wait for about 15 
minutes for all of the harlequins to climb to the high point of your 
row or bed canopy and then spray them with full strength (read the 
label!) soap. (I think we are doing 2oz of soap per gal of water in 
the sprayer.) The harlequin's bodies soften and blacken right after 
contact and most of them will be dead within 48 hours.

The important part of this story was that my anti-harlequin odyssey 
STARTED with SAFER and it didn't work for us. Why? Now I know that 
this is because it will not work with hi-cal water, which we have. 
(Calcium ties up Potassium, so the soap has no 'bite.') Using the 
water conditioner, though, it hits them like a hammer.

I have whole beds of brassicas that do not seem to have a single 
harlequin now, but I do have some beds where they are coming back in. 
You would think that the peppermint would keep them out, but it 
doesn't seem to. It must dissipate rather rapidly.

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