Using Organic Spinosad Products

The biological pesticide spinosad controls all types of caterpillars as well as Colorado potato beetle larvae and blister beetles. Learn how to apply and store this potent organic pesticide for effective organic pest control.

| April 25, 2013

  • Spinosad breaks down in sunlight, so late-day applications will better expose insects to the toxins.
    Photo Courtesy Planet Natural

This article is part of our Organic Pest Control Series, which includes articles on attracting beneficial insects, controlling specific garden pests, and using organic pesticides.

What Is Spinosad?

A biological pesticide, spinosad is based on the bacterium Saccharopolyspora spinosa, which was discovered in 1982 in an old Caribbean rum still. It was soon found that these bacteria produce a substance that works as a neurotoxin in many (but not all) insects. Susceptible insect species that are exposed to spinosad become excited to the point of exhaustion, stop eating immediately, and die within two days.



Which Pests Does Spinosad Control?

Spinosad controls all types of caterpillars, and also has good impact on Colorado potato beetle larvae and blister beetles. Spinosad works best on pests that consume a lot of leaf tissue. There also are several fire ant baits based on spinosad, as well as a hair rinse for head lice.






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