Spinosad is the active ingredient found in some organic sprays. We use it as part of our regimen for controlling apple codling moths and also for cherry fruit flies.
It has been created through a fermentation process of a certain type of bacteria. It’s most effective when ingested but also works, to some extent, on contact.
For apples, my husband alternates the use of Spinosad with Bt (Bacillus thurigiensis). When you read point #1 below, you’ll better understand why. For cherries, he only sprays Spinosad once the cherries have started ripening, and at 10-day intervals.
While it’s very effective, there are two very important things you need to know about Spinosad:
- Pests can develop resistance to it, so it’s best to avoid overusing it.
- Do not spray it on flowers because it will kill bees. We apply Spinosad AFTER our fruit trees have flowered, so that bees won’t be in the area.
For additional information about Spinosad: Missouri Botanical Garden Pesticides: Spinosad. For the timing on applying Spinosad to cherries and apples, please refer to the following blog posts: Final organic cherry production report (cherries) and Growing apples organically – 2017.