New Products for 2019
Tools of discovery -- a microscope, coffee, notes, a pile of leaf samples, more coffee.
We are always testing new ideas for better pest control. After months of research and reformulation, two new products are scheduled for release in 2019 and several others are in development.
The first product, (temporarily called "Formula 13") is specifically designed to kill russet mites. Yes, russet mites -- those little sap-suckers from hell. After discovering that Peppermint Fury does not seem to work on them we tested several other well-known natural pesticides and found that they don't work either. Despite our research into their physiology, I have not been able to determine why russet mites do not respond to these treatments which are deadly to two-spotted mites and other soft-bodied insects. After a careful literature review and feedback from gardeners and growers, I began the hunt for something new.
There must be some sort of synchronous convergence in the Universe because in the fall of 2018 I found both russet mites and two-spotted mites on my indoor plants just three days before harvest. For most people this would be devastating news, but I was excited to have some unwanted visitors to play with. I spent the next four months testing and rejecting different formulas. None of the essential oils worked. I dug deeper into the list of GRAS minimum-risk components looking for new approaches. Finally, after hundreds of trials, I found something that worked. Then I refined the formula to optimize the nanoparticle suspension. That set of laboratory experiments are nearing completion and Formula 13 will be released under its formal name in a few weeks. Beta-test samples are available on request.
The second product (temporarily called "Formula S") is a natural sticky barrier that can be applied to the stem to isolate the soil from the leaf canopy. It has the consistency of vaseline but contains no petroleum products. Formula S is an important tool for controlling infestations and I use it on all my plants as a preventive measure. Many pests migrate from the soil to the leaf canopy at various life stages and in response to seasonal and temperature changes. Cross contamination from the soil can confound attempts to treat an infestation. To my knowledge, there is nothing beneficial that crawls out of the soil into the leaf canopy. From an integrated pest management (IPM) perspective, once the sticky barrier is applied to the stem the soil and leaf canopy can receive separate treatments -- nematodes introduced to the soil to control larvae and adults and contact miticide sprays applied to leaf surfaces. Formula S is nearing the end of its product development cycle and beta test samples are available on request.