A few months ago at our monthly Bennetts Brook Green Group meeting a few members were discussing the need to rid their yards of grubs that were wreaking havoc on their gardens. We all went on the hunt for an environmentally friendly alternative that would not simply flood our lawns with heavy doses of chemicals. So when EcoSmart contacted me to review their Garden Insect Killer I was definitely excited to report back to all of you as well as the BBGG.
The product comes in either a 32 ounce bottle with a nozzle for a hose attachment or a 24 ounce spray bottle (the one I was sent) and individual bottles retail for $8.00 - 15 in the EcoSmart online shop. The price is right as I did a little research in my local garden center and chemical based insect killers average at a similar cost.
And that is the best part. The ingredients in this product include a whole bunch of natural oils such as: rosemary, peppermint, thyme and clove. Additional ingredients are listed as water, mineral oil, octadecenoic acid potassium salt, and lecithin. Naturally I had never heard of octadecenoic acid potassium salt and was curious as to what it was.
Turns out this is a fatty acid salt. So what does that mean? It is classified as a soap and adjuvant (an agent that is inert alone but modifies the effects of other agents). So since this is an agricultural adjuvant I consulted Wikipedia to read:
“The adjuvant acts here by reducing the surface tension of the water on the surface of the spray drop and by reducing the interfacial tension between the spray drop and surface of the leaf. This requires an adjuvant that will preferentially aggregate at these surfaces. This may not be done effectively by the surfactants that form and stabilize the oil/water emulsion from the concentrate formulation”
Basically what I have deduced is that this acts as an extender to help spread the oils out all over the surface since the main ingredient is water and we all know that water and oil don’t mix. Fair enough but what exactly is octadecenoic acid? When I plugged this into wiki it suggested a new spelling (octadecanoic) and led me to the page for stearic acid. A fatty acid, it is developed from animal fats. As is lecithin.
So the good news is that EcoSmart’s claim for an all natural bug killer is in fact all natural, the bad news is it is clearly not a Vegan alternative. The other good news is that it is listed to rid the yard of aphids, mites, thirps, whiteflies, beetles and caterpillars. Grubs become beetles and therefore would be removed naturally. Again, the bad news is that by then it is potentially too late as new eggs may have already been laid causing more grubs.
I will be giving this bottle to my sister in law, you all know her as the fearless writer and reviewer Melissa around these parts, so she can give it a go and hopefully rid her yard of these pesky critters once and for all, in the most environmentally friendly way possible. Until her practical review comes out however I am granting a Three and a Half Leaf Rating to the Garden Insect Killer!