Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Review of EcoSMART Insect Products

As I mentioned in my previous post the folks at EcoSMART sent me four of their insect products to me for testing. Generally I am loathe to apply chemicals in any form on the garden but since EcoSMART products do not leave toxic residues and use natural chemicals and oils I figured it would be worth trying. Please keep in mind that whenever I review a product or book I am sharing my open and honest opinions and experiences. Now on to the review!
The first product I tried and the most effective was the Garden Insect Killer. The active ingredients include several different plant oils like rosemary, peppermint and thyme along with many others. Recently I noticed some fall webworms working their way through one of our birch trees and thought they would be a good test of the EcoSMART products. I adjusted the nozzle to the stream setting and doused the webworms with the Garden Insect Killer. A couple days later I came back with a bamboo garden stake and pulled the web out to examine. 
Only one caterpillar was left alive which of course received the traditional insect squishing treatment. Since the removal of the web there hasn't been a return of the webworms on the birch tree which may be attributed to the natural oil scent the product leaves behind. I would rate that experiment as a success but I haven't tested it other insects yet.
The next product was the Organic Insect Repellent. It was the only product labeled with "organic" and it doesn't contain DEET.  My brother and his family were in town a little over a week ago and I figured I could use them as guinea pigs. Everyone was treated with the repellent except for myself.  Generally I'm very resistant to mosquitoes and other insect bites but I received three mosquito bites that day so they were out and biting. My brother who applied the insect repellent received four and my daughters each received a couple bites. My daughters were swimming that day which may have washed the repellent off. We'll try this repellent again but I suspect its effectiveness varies. 
My experience with the Flying Insect Killer was mixed. I found a giant wasp was flying around our patio which I suspect was a cicada killer (which normally don't attack people but can cause a very nasty sting and since I have two small children I really don't want that thing flying near the sandbox).  I brought out the flying insect killer spray can and aimed it at the wasp then sprayed and prepared to run. I was as close to it as I was comfortable (which was about 5 feet away) and made pretty good contact with the spray. The wasp turned and flew off in obvious distress. Unfortunately I can't verify the wasp's fate but it hasn't been back. It's failure to return could signal its death or just that it doesn't like our patio anymore, I'm OK with it either way! The spray smelled somewhat minty which was a surprise since most sprays smell awful. 
The Home Pest Control product is the only one I haven't found a use for yet. According to the label it will kill and repel insects like ants, beetles, centipedes, cockroaches, crickets, earwigs, fleas, millipedes, pillbugs, spiders, ticks and several others. We've had a couple roach sightings lately and as the temperatures cool this fall quite a few bugs will be trying to enter the house so testing will continue. 
EcoSMART also manufactures weed and grass herbicides which I'm curious about but haven't tested.  

5 comments :

  1. Your review is very well written without being a normal boring review. I believe having your family involved in the review gave it a personal twist. Thanks.

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  2. Very interesting. Their website says the insecticides work using compounds from plants' natural defense systems. Sounds like it would be a great thing, if it truly works.

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  3. Interesting, we still have to remember that natural insecticides still kill good insects as well as bad ones.

    I choose to go the way of "let the chips fall as they may" and not do any kind of spraying or anything no matter what's attacking my crops. I find that after it gets so bad, something moves in and cleans up for me.

    You may not want to remove web worms, I was just reading in a book that they're actually beneficial for the trees because defoliation is actually good for the trees in summer, helps them survive the dryness and heat. That's probably why they tend to like certain kinds of trees, around here it's all the cherry trees.

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  4. Darla,

    Thanks for the input. I really think personal experiences are the most important when recommending a product.

    Helen,

    It's one of those things that does sound really great. I'm not sure though that there is any perfect product out there yet.

    Susy,

    I follow your strategy mostly, "let the chips fall where they may." Usually when you over plant enough to tolerate losses in crops things work out pretty good. That is an interesting idea about the fall webworms. Although my birch was really loving the rain we've had this year and has seen no signs of dryness so at least in his case removing the webworms wasn't a bad idea.

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  5. I've had the same experience with their insect repellent - I still get bit. After using it a number of times I finally decided it wasn't worth it. Besides, living in a West Nile Virus area I should probably get something that I know works.

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