Aquaponic Gardening

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Dear All,

our cucumber plant was growing very well, suddenly we say that the leaves of the plant are eaten from any small animal and the fruit are damage. After investigation we find out that small green caterpillar are destroy our plant. somebody help us to avoid that caterpillar.

Greetings from the Philippines


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Hi Eddy, from the looks of it (and the fact that it's eating your cucumber plant)...I would say that is Diaphania hyalinata.

Colloquially referred to as the "melonworm" (and yes, a cucumber is a type of melon from the Family Cucurbitaceae). Usually any product containing Bacillus thuringiensis (there's a ton of products under different brand names) should offer some measure of fish safe control of such a pest.

Sometimes here on the forum and in other places Bacillus thuringiensis is referred to as Bt.

Hope that helped somewhat. Good luck 

or pick them off by hand and feed them to your fish

Hi George,

many thanks for your advice. unfortunately the young caterpillar seating inside the bloom, the bloom are closed and even the young caterpillar destroying the bloom, thats means no fruit. the big caterpillar seating under the leaves which I harvest and feed to the fish. now I am preparing a mixture of garlic, chilli and water and sprinkle it so.

Lets see


George said:

or pick them off by hand and feed them to your fish

Is Spionosad OK for aquaponics? I have read that it works better than Bt and more effective on caterpillars.

I've used spinosad products in AP for a few years now with no problems. It's listed as 'slightly toxic' to fish. After reading the studies used to determine that...the LC50 numbers (median lethal concentration that will kill half the sample population), even for trout (a sensitive fish) were ridiculously high...30mg/L

We would never come anywhere even near that concentration in our system water...not even close. Even knocking over and spilling the contents of an entire bottle of commercially available spinosad concentrate (0.5%) directly into your'd be hard pressed to get close to that number (30ppm).

Typically, for foliar applications you would use 15ml of spinosad concentrate (0.5%) in one quart of water. I've poured that entire amount into a 40 Gallon FT with fingerlings in it. There were no noticeable behavioral changes. They were as frisky and as hungry as ever. So spinosad A&D is one of the things I use in AP without any worries.

Thanks. Very helpful. What's your experience using spinosad vs. Bt? More effective?

I think it varies from species to species, and in the case of spinosad and thrips, it varies from populations within the same species. While in Serbia, I used spinosad very successfully against thrips.Yet over a year ago, while at a greenhouse in California, the spinosad didn't seem to work as well at mitigating the population of thrips that had taken up residency at said greenhouse. I had the pleasure of meeting with, and consulting with an entomologist from Koppert Biological Controls. She explained to me that farmers in the US had such great early success against thrips using spinosad, that they started using it, and it alone, throughout many cropping cycles (years). So what ended uop happening was that certain populations of Western Flower Thrips evolved and started exhibiting a tolerance and resistance to spinosad. This is not a new phenomena, nor is it exclusive to spinosad. Nature evolves (pests included).

So I like to 'mix it up' a bit. I'll rotate my pest controls. Bt, spinosad, B. bassiana, pyrethrin (pyrethrin is highly toxic to fish, but can still be used will need a pencil, a piece of paper, and the ability to do some simple math calculations to safely use it in AP. Also, taking simple precautions like protecting your FT and GB's from over-spray help too). This way pests are less apt to acquire a resistance to one particular substance.

So, I can't really say which is more effective...It depends. 

Michael Welber said:

Thanks. Very helpful. What's your experience using spinosad vs. Bt? More effective?

Dear Gentleman,

many thanks for your effort, 

I have come to the knowledge that spinosad head lice fight, then I might buy this product in the pharmacy and use against my caterpillar. Right or wrong

Have a nice day

Spinosad products that are sold to fight headlice, are usually 0.9% spinosad A&D. So if you use them, apply at a rate of 7ml per liter. BUT, be aware that the spinosad products marketed for headlice ALSO CONTAIN:

Isopropyl Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, Hexylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butylated Hydroxytoluene, some of these things may burn your plants leaves, depending on how much is present.

You can try it and see if the alcohols present damages your plant leaves, or find a spinosad product for use on plants. There are MANY brands these days, and are very commonly sold at garden centers, hardware stores etc...

Hi Vlad,

thanks for your advice. Actually we are living in the Philippines and it is very difficult to get such products in the market. Anyhow, somebody recomment an mixture of chili, garlic and water and we spray the plant. its seems thats we are little bit successful. 

Have a nice day

Hi Eddy, yeah...I know what that can be like. I spent over 11 years in Serbia, so choices were often limited. DowAgroScience registered spinosad for sale in the Philippines back in 1998 under the trade name "Success" and "Success 25 SC"

Last year in some markets that trade name was changed to "Conserve" in some markets (US included). 

You might try contacting these guys:

for some more information about commercially available spinosad in your region of the world. I can't imagine with US/Philippine (trade and other) relations being what they are, that you would much of a hard time finding such a product there.

Good luck. Glad the home remedy seems to be working :)

many thanks for your helpful manages


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