Using biopesticides against pests - an experiment in progress

I had planted a number of vegetables in small plots and am fighting a war against a number of pests using only biopesticides.

I can’t say much yet on how successful the exercise would end up, but at the moment I am fighting against total devastation without using any chemical pesticides.

The veggies planted are:

  1. Beans: 100% devastation from fruit borers, aphids, leaf caterpillars and blister beetles. The borers bored into every single pod, aphids have affected all plants, caterpillars cleared the leaves and now blister beetles are now eating up every flower.
  2. Tomato: 100% fruits bored by caterpillars
  3. Bitter gourd: A fair amount of loss by fruit borer, pumpkin beetles eating up leaves in part
  4. Ridge gourd: A fair amount of loss by fruit borer, pumpkin beetles eating up leaves in part
  5. Bhendi: Fruit borers to a significant extent, now blister beetles devour 100% of flowers
  6. Musk melon: Stem borers killed 100% of saplings, pumpkin beetles damaged most leaves in nursery

Organic management measures so far:

  1. Neem oil sprays once every 7-10 days, delayed when it has rained continuously
  2. A mix of four biopesticides - Bacilllus thurungiensis, Beauveria bassiana, Verticillium lecani, Metarhizium anisoplea, sprayed once about a week back and a second time today. No immediate results, I will monitor over the next few days.
  3. Planning a spray of a solution similar to panchagavya - cow urine + cow dung shortly
  4. Exploring Spinosad, soap solution+oil and other natural solutions such as soapnut/kunkudu, different leaf extracts

There are some natural enemies I see but not enough to control the pests; birds are aplenty too.

I would like to try every possible option - biopesticides, home preparations, commercial organic products - to stay organic and determine the practicality of organic production of vegetables.

All suggestions and ideas are most welcome on any other methods and concoctions.


Some pics of the biopesticides (ignore the Rhizobium) and the fearless blister beetles:

O my God, I have been cultivating quite a few vegetables and I had not faced this kind of attack except on Brinjal .

Can you please try Brahamastra.

Have you used sticking agent with bio pesticides? if not try using sticky agent. The natural sticky agent is maida.
Have you tried spraying bottom side of of the leaves?

I am suspecting the pesticides are getting washed away in the rain and the effect is decreased.

Hi, Please explain how to use maida as a sticky agent to be used with Brahama astra

Thanks, will try that. It looks like palekar website is no more  :-[ but I found some other references on the preparation.

No, I did not use a sticking agent, will try this time. I use a power sprayer and it drenches all sides of the plant, and there is has been no rain several days after the sprays, so I would think there was no wash off.

Thank you Sir Mr. Chandra,

The Problem for not controlling the Pests are due to Grass and Weed
as seen from the IMAGES you have attached.Unless the Grass and and
weeds are are controlled it is not Possible to control pests merely with
Organic Pesticides/bio pesticides/.

Even with Chemical Pesticides also it cannot be controlled when Grass
and weed are there. You might be well aware of this facts.But in view
of the Labour Problem and  Heavy Farm Wages, it is right to Control the
weed only with weedicides.

Thank you With Best Wishes,
Vasudha Green Farms,

Dear Chandra,

Pl see following link for preparation of different kinds of pesticides :- … 00&lang=en


T Shanmughan

My comments inline…
For solving the pests problem, you should plan for IPM as a whole and implement each solution accordingly.

Hello My Friend,

I had similar problem with lab lab (Avarai) and I used Neem Kernel extract and Emamectin Benzoate (This is a bio pesticide which is used at very low concentration. 5% EC - 100 ml per 100 liter spray solution) and now the larvae problem is very much under control.

You may also try Green Chilli + Garlic extract soaked in Kerosene (mixed with soap solution) which is an excellent instant pest remedy.

Wish you all the best.

Thanga Pandian, Farm India, Tel: +91-96260-08160

Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

[li]Yes, I will use a sticking agent for the next sprays[/li]
[li]Bacilllus thurungiensis, Beauveria bassiana, Metarhizium anisoplea, Verticillium lecani are microorganisms that control different insect pests - essentially they are bacteria/fungi that cause disease in the insects. Bacilllus thurungiensis, Beauveria bassiana are supposed to control caterpillars, beetles, weevils, bugs, hoppers etc.; Metarhizium anisoplea is supposed to control beetles, weevils and termites; Verticillium lecani is supposed to control sucking pests - aphids, jassids, thrips and mealy bugs. Spinosad is a compound produced from bacteria that is supposed to control caterpillars, beetles, weevils, bugs, hoppers etc. Soap+oil is a solution some farmers vouch for. I would want to try soapnut/kunkudu solution as an experiment[/li]
[li]Well, Panchagavya is also named a pest management solution in addition to being a plant growth agent[/li]
[li]Thanks for reminding me on the trap/companion crops. I had earlier sown marigold on the bunds, but will go for marigold and castor again[/li]
[li]Had pheromone traps for fruit flies earlier, but I believe they would be a monitoring tool than control for lepidopterans[/li][/ul]

Thanks for the suggestions. Could you tell me where you sourced Emamectin Benzoate?

I ordered 10 litres of Brahmastra and will try it out shortly; figured there are people producing it on order just a couple of km away from my farm! (thanks to member natureworx for getting me the contact. The lady producing it was on TV a week or so back.)

Dear Member,

Syngenta supplies Emamectin Benzoate as Soluble Power. The brand name is Proclaim. Please confirm with your Organic Certification agency before using Emamectin whether this is accepted in Certified organic farming. Some institutions do not allow Emamectin, Abamectin, Nicotine, etc in Certified Organic farming.

Thanga Pandian

Here is what I found from googling
kler-oh-DEN-drum – meaning, chance (or luck) tree
IN-er-me or IN-er-may – not spiny, unarmed

commonly known as: glory bower, Indian privet, seaside clerodendrum, smooth volkameria, sorcerer’s bush, wild jasmine • Bengali: বনজাঈ banajai • Hindi: संकुप्पी sankuppi • Kannada: ಕುಮ್ಡಲಿ kumdali • Konkani: siritmari • Marathi: वनजाई vanajai • Sanskrit: कुण्डली kundali • Tamil: சங்கங்குப்பி cankan-kuppi, சங்கினி cankini, சர்ப்பராச்சி carpparacci, சோரபுட்பம் cora-putpam, குப்பி kuppi, நீர்நொச்சி nir-nocci, பாம்புக்கண்ணி pampu-k-kanni, பீச்சுவிளாத்தி piccu-vilatti, பீக்கிலாத்தி pikkilatti, பீநாறிச்சங்கு pinari-c-canku, பீஞ்சல் pincal, பூமலேக்கினம் pumalekkinam • Telugu: పిసింగి pisingi • Urdu: سنگ کوپي sang-kuppi

Update: pest infestation has eased a bit, though I cannot yet conclude this was due to the biopesticide sprays - needs more trial. Blister beetles still remain in large numbers gobbling up the flowers, a small number of tomato fruit borers (supposed to be Helicoverpa armigera, but I think it looks more like Spodoptera litura) continue to eat up the fruit.

The application of Brahmastra has not been done yet.

Goodness, this is a crisis situation.

Here are three suggestions you can implement within an hr or so without buying anything and without involving a complex preparation.

  1. Set up a light trap at night.

  2. Put up yellow sticky traps @ 12 - 15 / acre.

(Videos for both light trap and yellow sticky traps can be found here: - look under “Organic Methods of Pest Control”)

  1. This is unconventional but I read a US based farmer saying it works every time. Catch a handful or two of the different kinds of pests, put them in a blender and blend. Dilute the paste, filter it and spray!

Also Chandra, can you tell us about the history of this field? Is this under conversion from chemical to organic farming? If so, is this is the first organic crop? That would explain the widespread pest infestation.

Thank you Swir,
Thank you Very Much for Your Posting of ZEROBASED Pest Control.

Kindly enlighten us how to put Light Traps in the Field and How these Lights are safeguarded from Rains.

Thank you Sir,
for Vasudha Green Farms,

Setting up a light trap is explained in the video I linked. Protection from rain will need to be created if rain is expected. In such a scenario its best to go with battery based light source rather than electricity. Even an oil lamp should work. As they say in the video, most insects are attracted in the period 6.30-9.30 PM so it’s imp to keep it on at that time.  And yes, all of these are zero budget, minimal labour ideas.

Update: the pests have all been cleared off, barring a young blister beetle or two. There are almost no aphids or borers.  We are yet to begin the use of Brahmastra and additional biopesticides - i.e., so far we stuck to neem oil + combination of four biopesticides noted above. We continue with a weekly application.

While I am inclined to believe the biopesticides/botanicals did their job well, further tests will be required to eliminate the possibility of a simple seasonal/cyclical decline in the pest populations.

But for now, here is some zero pesticide produce to take home! Buyers?! :wink:

GOOD Thank you Sir for your Post.It is Most useful for our Forum Members.
It is wrong Notion that it cannot be Controlled the Pests with Bio Pesticides.
Several organic Farmers I know that they are switched over to
Chemical Pesticides in not making Efforts in Organic Pesticides.
Your Efforts are eye opening and Guide  to such Farmers.
Thank you Sir,
MANNE.SN,B.Com.,LLB.,for Vasudha Green Farms,

Thank you. However please note I am not yet concluding the control is due to the biopesticides, pending further evaluation.