In a series of bioassays with mealybugs, aqueous solutions of 1% limonene were tested that used from 0.50 to 1.50% all purpose spray adjuvant (APSA)-80 as an emulsifier/surfactant. The two ingredients were added to water or to 0.1% Silwet L-77, an agricultural surfactant. Using 1% limonene, 0.75% APSA-80 and 0.1% Silwet L-77, a semitransparent mixture (primarily a microemulsion) was obtained that was safe for most plants and provided good control of mealybugs when sprayed or used in 1-min dips. Used at half strength, this mixture controlled ≥99% of whiteflies, whereas the full-strength mixture controlled from 69 to 100% of mealybugs and scales, including ≥93% control of root mealybugs. In side-by-side greenhouse tests, this mixture was superior to a 2% solution of insecticidal soap or a 2% solution of horticultural spray oil. Mortality of green scales on potted gardenia plants averaged 95, 89, and 88% on plants sprayed with limonene, insecticidal soap, or horticultural oil, respectively. In a related test, these same sprays killed 44.1, 22.7, or 12.5% of third and fourth instar clustering mealybugs, respectively. Limonene has promise as a safe, natural pesticide for insect pests on tolerant plants. Although 1% limonene solutions damaged certain species of ferns, gingers and delicate flowers, they caused no damage to ornamentals with thick, waxy leaves, such as palms, cycads, and orchids.
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Vol. 98 • No. 3