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Name: Lorraine
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Question:
Can ethanol rubbing alcohol be sprayed on plants to kill insects?


Replies:
These guides to natural insecticides might be helpful:

http://www.cahe.nmsu.edu/pubs/_h/h-150.pdf

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/organic_options_against_insects.htm

Ethanol is used to extract compounds from plant leaves so perhaps not be the best approach.

Anthony Brach Ph.D.


Different insects are sensitive to various chemical substances. The "problems" with using ethanol as an insecticide are:
1. Is it effective? You need to test this.
2. Being volatile, the ethanol will evaporate rather quickly (less than about 60 seconds). Is that residence time long enough to be effective?
3. How well does the plant tolerate the ethanol? Some plants are resistant; others are sensitive. You would have to "check this out".
4. Is ethanol used as a component of commercial insecticides? If it isn't, you can probably assume that it is ineffective. The manufacturers of insecticides were certainly be using it if it were effective. They would use it based on the fact that it is comparatively inexpensive.

I don't think the outlook is optimistic.

Vince Calder



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