[NAFEX] Winter moth in apple tree/Spinosad

list at ginda.us list at ginda.us
Sat Apr 15 12:33:17 EDT 2006

Last year my apple trees were devastated by winter moth (or some  
other caterpillar that acts early and crawls into the center of the  
buds to eat out the growing tips, brfore graduating to inchworm-hood.)

This year I hope to beat them.  I sprayed dormant oil a few weeks  
ago, and today I put on an application of spinosad-based  
insecticide.  It's supposed to be quite safe.  The warning label says  
"keep out of reach of children" and "don't use your kitchen utensils  
to measure this", and nothing more than that.  It is supposed to be  
fairly benign towards beneficial insects, with the exception of  
bees.  But it's only supposed to be harmful to bees on the day of  
application.  (Until it dries, I'd guess, although the label lists  
some number of hours.)  It breaks down quickly, which is a nuisance  
re re-application, but means it doesn't build up in the environment.   
And the "season" for winter moths is rather short, so it's not like  
I'll be doing this all summer.  But of course, the big question is,  
does it work?

So I sprayed today, since the crab-apples will be in bloom in a  
couple of days, and I don't want to kill all my bees.  Depending on  
how things look, I will probably spray again after the eating apples  
drop their petals.  (The crabs sprout and bloom earlier than the  
domestic apples.)

Last year I tried surround with no visible impact at all.

Spinosad is probably expensive for a real orchard, but for a couple  
of small backyard trees the major investment is the time to spray,  
clean up, etc., for almost any insecticide.

Anyone used the stuff?

eastern Mass., zone 6
bud clusters on crabs, green tips on apples, daffs and forsythia in  
full glory.  A beautiful spring day.

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