Sprayed plants?

This topic contains 28 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 10 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #13366

    Anonymous

    Hi all

    I am new to the Monarch butterfly business. I made made my first attempt to assist their breeding last year and underestimated their food requirements. This year I was more organised and had back up plants ready to go. Last week I had 20 mostly large and all healthy caterpillars stripping through my plants at a great rate of knots. Thursday night I went to The Warehouse (Northlands, Christchurch) to buy new plants as I had just about run out again. They stripped one in one day and the next day (Saturday)moved onto plant 2 and started dying – first the smaller ones and then the larger ones. By yesterday (Sunday) they were pretty much all dead or close to it. I can’t see any other explanation other than that one or both of the plants I purchased had been sprayed. I have contacted The Warehouse to find out what the story is, but I just wondered if there could be another explanation I’m unaware of? It’s terribly disappointing when some of them were so close to going into chysalis. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 28 total)
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  • #20898

    Anonymous

    Yes, the proof. I know where your coming from Jacqui.

    #20896

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Yes, they published a letter from us and an organic grower, and it’s an issue the trustees are always working on.

    But it’s hard to prove anything, Robert. If people say they don’t spray, how can it be proven that it was them. I had a very similar problem with smoke from my neighbour’s incinerator giving me asthma – she said she wasn’t burning any pollutants, my lungs said she was… It was very hard to prove anything.

    #20888

    Anonymous

    Has there been any follow up to the Dom Post?

    Surly if they printed this, they would feel this could be a good story for a low-news day or one of the lifestyle supplements.

    This is something we need to keep in the news, then people will pick up on the subject & demand non-sprayed plants from suppliers.

    Maybe name & shame the retailers, that way if it was a supplier problem, they’ll want to demand better quality from the supplier or swith to another as they will want to show their support for the Monarch cause. This is why they sell the Swan Plant in the first place.

    Robert.

    #20733

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Did you see the letter to the Editor of the Dominion Post, Wellington last week?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/2463962/The-Budget-aftermath-court-delays-and-Manners-Mall

    Sounds like much the same symptoms as Vicky’s butterflies last year.

    #19166

    margie
    Participant

    Great work as usual Vicky you are an inspiration to us all. This is what we are all about going that extra mile for our butterflies. If any one can get results you will:):)I couldn’t have got through my nightmare with the wasps if it had not been for your encouragement and good advice.
    Cheers you good thing
    Margie

    #19162

    VickySteele
    Participant

    Thanks everyone! Hopefully Kim hasn’t lost heart, and will try again.

    Overspray is sometimes clearly visible – looks like (sometimes) damp patches on leaves. And always look underneath (a lot of sprays are applied upwards). You can’t always spot it, but I’ve seen some plants that look like they’ve been partially varnished, the overspray was that bad.

    A trick a very green friend of mine taught me – she always washes her vegetables in a vinegar/water solution. Apparently vinegar can help neutralise sprays. Rinse well, of course. Don’t know if it works, but I always do it. Won’t work with systemic sprays though.

    #19154

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Wow Way to go Vicky!!.
    The Warehouse would not like bad publicity thats for sure..
    Shame I wasn’t close to CHCH I would give you a few of my plants.

    Cheers
    Charlotte

    #19153

    Swansong
    Participant

    Vicky great work and great that you went into bat for Kimm and have got somewhere.

    Swansong

    #19152

    Anonymous

    Wow, Vicky – great job.
    I know nothing (just learning) – how do you tell by looking if plants have been sprayed/over sprayed?
    So glad the Warehouse came to the party.
    Doesn’t save Kimm’s issue, but might well help others.
    Best
    Trisha

    #19151

    VickySteele
    Participant

    Hey, good news! The Warehouse are very sorry to Kimm, have offered to refund her money and have also withdrawn their plants from sale until they get to the bottom of things. I had a good look at the plants and there was no sign of overspray on them, so its possible there may might be something systemic in them. Or on some of them, anyway, because they came from 2 different suppliers. One of the suppliers I’ve had trouble with in the past – they are the ones who admit to using a “one day spray”. Seeing as most of these plants were bought in around Christmas time, and The Warehouse themselves don’t spray, it sounds a bit dodgy.

    #19149

    VickySteele
    Participant

    Kimm, I’m onto something with the Press. Can you please email me (vicky@monarch.org.nz) or give me your contact details? The Press will probably want to talk to you, if you’re willing. I’m on my way to The Warehouse this afternoon to talk to them.

    Vicky

    #19147

    Anonymous

    Hey Kimm – another thought.
    If you want ro persue this, email back your Warehouse contact and ask if he/she can “guarantee” your plants were not sprayed. “Guarantee” is a big word in Warehouse advertising and publicity. Ask if they are prepared to have the plants tested (and caterpillars if you still have some). Do it “nicely” stressing your distress.
    I know squat all about Monarchs and pesticides – this is my first season – but I am learning as quickly as I can. The Trust is an invaluable resource.
    I know quite a lot about Consumer Guarantees and advertising standards from my past life.
    So sorry for your rotten experience.
    Best
    Trisha

    PS – I am called a moderator only because I help with some admin.

    #19145

    Anonymous

    Oh dear. Well it all sounds like I’m going to have to put this one down to experience and move on, irritating though it is. Thank you all for your support and advice, it’s a great wee forum you have going here.

    #19144

    VickySteele
    Participant

    Kimm, it is pretty expensive to get plants tested. I had some done last year, and it cost $280. Although I made the garden centre pay for it! Depending on what chemicals are being tested for, they may have to do multiple screens. The more screens there are, the dearer it gets. $280 was for 2 screens, but those screens detected 6 different pesticides! No pesticides are nice, but some are worse than others. Systemic ones are inside the plants, and the caterpillars will eat the leaves and you may not know that anything is wrong (as happened to me). Surface sprays will kill/upset the caterpillars right away. Overspray can be clearly visible, especially if the pesticide is mixed with a fungicide (as is often the case). Look for any leaves that appear to have almost damp looking patches. And look under the leaf – a lot of plants are sprayed up from underneath.

    If you want to pursue this, Hill Laboratories will do the testing for you. The plants will be sent to Hamilton and destroyed, but if anything is detected, there is no arguing with the results!

    I still intend to visit The Warehouse. Stopping sprayed plants from being sold has been a crusade of mine since I watched over 100 butterflies die from nervous system damage within 2 days of emerging. I was so angry, and determined to get to the bottom of it. Most garden centres know what I’m about now when I come calling, and have pulled their socks up.

    #19143

    Anonymous

    If I were to get the plants tested, does anyone know where in Chch is good to get that done and any idea of costs?

    #19141

    margie
    Participant

    Sorry kimm I meant to say the pillars WOULD proberly have disappeared rather than just been dead.
    Cheers Margie

    #19140

    Swansong
    Participant

    Red Shed fob offs are standard fare me thynx. I recall someone else here just recently “hitting their head against a brick wall” with the warehouse. However as you are saying Kimm, he has told you these HAVE NOT been or been near spray, then this becomes a blatant porky. I would think he could get into a bit of deep water here, if it was proved by testing that they indeed have been. However that would be up to you as to whether you do pursue that. Would be interesting, thats for sure.

    Swansong

    #19139

    Anonymous

    Hi all,

    I agree with Swansong & Margie too as it sounds like a fob-off to me.

    Even if a wasp doesn’t take the whole caterpillar, it leaves a deflated one after sucking it’s insides dry. (this is the same for Shield Bugs & Mantas’es). A dead full-size caterpillar is poisoned usally.

    I got spray-free plants from Bunnings Three Kings last year, not sure if there as good at Tower Junction store, but maybe an idea for reference.

    It would be interesting to work out the ‘dodgy’ suppliers rather then retailers as most retailers have no idea what happened to the plants before they brought them. I think most small suppliers growing ther own & selling privately at markets & TradeMe are more honest & reliable.

    Robert.

    #19137

    margie
    Participant

    Hi Kimm, I agree with swangsong should think if it was wasps the pillars would not be have disappeared. You could get the pillars and plant tested to be sure but I think that would cost you to do that.
    Cheers Margie

    #19136

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi Kimm, I like to take people at their word but Im skeptical in this instance. Indeed it is perplexing.

    Swansong

    #19134

    Anonymous

    Hi again
    I have gotten a response from The Warehouse and it is as follows:

    “These plants have not been sprayed,nor have they been near any plants that have been”. He goes on to explain that they would have been killed by wasps. Now I haven’t seen any wasps around home at all. That’s not to say that there wouldn’t have been one there at some point, but how would you tell if they had been killed by wasps (as opposed to pesticide)? The pillars aren’t eaten, just dead. Perplexing.

    #19116

    Swansong
    Participant

    Burnt orange, you have stated it well and these are good solid suggestions. Without it being against the law (I think) to pass on these plants, I wonder how much notice growers will take.

    It would be good if it was more fast-tracked publicly like on TV or something. Arent they always screaming out for stories? Well heres a valid one for sure.

    Swansong

    #19113

    burnt-orange
    Participant

    Hi Kimm
    This is really sad, I mean its time the retailer’s and suppliers were informed about this, these people need to be educated and reminded about what these plants are all about, the whole purpose for growing them in the first place!
    In this day and age there’s just no need for it,

    “Its plain and simple ignorance”! 🙁

    “Poor horticultural practise”!

    “Its just defeating the whole purpose.”

    I think a well formulated e-mail,clearly stating and out lining the effects or possible effects of spraying insecticide’s/fungicides on swan plants can have, is needed!

    I don’t know if its possible for the Trust to formulate such an e-mail as a standard response to this problem, for when the supplier can be identified. If so they may take it a little more seriously. I just think we need to be a little more pro-active in this area.
    Thanks to Jacqui and the trust a lot of positive gains have been made, in the short time that Ive been around, and I think as more people became more aware, further progress can be made in this area. 🙂

    Burnt-orange

    #19111

    Anonymous

    Dear Kimm

    Jacqui posted this press release very recently about this exact same thing. Worth a read of the release and replies.

    https://www.monarch.org.nz/forum/topic/618

    Not that that helps you now. Sorry for the disaster in your garden.

    I hose my shop bought plants down a couple of times a day for several days and leave them for a week before I let the butterflies near them. They have been fine – but perhaps they were never sprayed?

    Good for you taking up it with the retailer, so they can trace back to the supplier. Seems TWL is not alone with this problem. The plants might not even have been sprayed, but picked up residue from nearby plants.

    Good luck
    Trisha

    #19109

    Anonymous

    Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated. When I spoke to the garden department itself the lady was very apologetic and said the same thing had happened a couple of years previously and that the problem was traced to the supplier. She gave me the contact details for the another warehouse employee who was either the supplier or supplier contact. I’ve emailed him but no response as yet. As a matter of principle I will be pursuing it, though it doesn’t sound like it’ll make much difference. I guess the main thing I’d like them to do is at least put warnings on the labels re the risks of pesticide residue. No harm in asking I suppose!

    cheers
    Kimm

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