• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Whey protein as pesticide  RSS feed

 
Saam Maeki
Posts: 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi,
I just committed ritual suicide on my garden by bringing in kale which was riddled with cabbage moth. Now I am desperately trying to rectify this without the use of any "chemical" pesticides. In the movie, The Permaculture Orchard, Stefan Sobkowiak is using whey protein to mitigate pest damage. I am now trying this too. It is too early to tell if it will work, but the sprayed larvae seem to become "petrified".
Has anyone else tried this, if so with what results? Got any other good tips on how to mitigate the damage?

Best regards,
Saam
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
287
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A word of caution here:

In the US (and the UK), over 90% of all hard cheeses are made with GMO rennet.
{It is produced with real rennet fermented with the K-12 strain of E. coli.)
Most of the rennet remains in the whey, after seperation from the curds.
It is a waste product of the cheese making process.
This whey is then dehydrated into 'protein powders'.

Knowing your source of whey is important.


 
chip sanft
Posts: 380
Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
26
bike books dog
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Do you have access to milk? I've read that diluted milk works as a pesticide. That might be a way for you to achieve your goal without encountering GMO rennet.
 
Saam Maeki
Posts: 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I do have milk. But did not try it. Whey did not work well.
 
Miranda Converse
Posts: 243
7
bee chicken goat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Have you considered using Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt)? It's a type of bacteria that infects caterpillars. I believe there are a couple different strains that work on different types. A quick google search should tell you what kind you need.

When we lost a whole bunch of hives this winter, I had no feasible way of storing the frames that would keep wax moths out. I bought a bottle of Bt for the garden and sprayed a majority of the frames with it. Those that were sprayed stayed moth free but the ones that weren't were reduced to nothing but moth webs. I chose Bt because it gets rid of the moths without chemical pesticides and it doesn't affect the bees.  Worth a try...
 
raven ranson
master steward
Posts: 5260
Location: Left Coast Canada
616
books chicken tiny house
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm not certain Bt fits as a permaculture solution.  Some Bt is organic, but others are GMO, so if one goes that route, it's something to look out for.  Personally, I think there are plenty of easier and more affordable ways to control insects, I won't waste my money buying toxins.

This year we have almost no cabbage moth.  I've started letting the cabbage moth have free reign and picking off only on the plants that are most vulnerable.  It seems to have two effects.  1st, we have a massive amount of insect-eating birds now.  The swallows will often just sit on the cabbage or kale and pick off the cabbage moth caterpillars, then take them back to their young.  The other thing that's happened is in saving my own seeds, I rogue the plants that are most affected by bug damage.  I think I'm selecting for bug resistance. 

Another thing that I do is to apply lime or wood ash to the soil as this seems to make the plants more bug resistant. 


As for whey, there are so many different types.  Artisanal, organic, or homemade cheese are often made with ... if not natural rennet, then at least not GMO.   I haven't tried whey for insect control yet, as it mostly goes on my tomatoes and to my chickens.  I don't know what in whey would harm insects. 
 
Saam Maeki
Posts: 13
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have heard about BT, and it sounds great! I myself am not concerned about either GMOs or chemical pesticides in themselves. But I wanted to try to deal with it whilst using things I would always have on hand. It failed.
And this is inspite of using polyculture with different plants and flowers. I have also mulched heavily with all kinds of mulch. Grass, leaves, bark, wood chips and rocks. I have plenty of spiders, but they do not seem to eat the moths or the larvae.

 
Miranda Converse
Posts: 243
7
bee chicken goat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I could be wrong, but I don't think Bt itself is GMO. There are crops (like corn) that have been modified to include a donor gene from Bt to help them fight pests themselves. That's an entirely different creature though. I don't see why they would modify something that already naturally produces pesticide.
 
raven ranson
master steward
Posts: 5260
Location: Left Coast Canada
616
books chicken tiny house
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've read in several places that some Bt is made with GMO bacteria, the organically certified stuff is, in theory, not. 

It's up to you if you want to use it or not.  I personally feel it's a waste of money as it only treats the symptom.  Use Bt this year, the problem will be back (probably stronger) next year.  And the year after, and the year after.  I don't like spending money on something year in and year out that offers only temporary relief.  I don't see spending money every year, then putting in the labour to apply it as a permanent solution.  But that's just me.  I would much rather set up an environment where nature does the work for me.  The aphid infestation on our plum trees last year attracted woodpeckers and other birds who, this year, cleaned the tree of aphids, ants, then moved on to the caterpillars on the other fruit trees, now they are eating the aphids on my cabbages.  If I spray the trees or cabbages with any sort of pest killer, be it natural or not, then I wouldn't have the birds and lizards doing the work for me.  I would have to keep spraying. 

I'm lazy and miserly.  This is why I can't see much benefit to using pesticides.  Other people like to use Bt.  It's your choice which way you want to go.


By the way, when you say Whey protein, do you mean powdered stuff from the grocery store or live culture whey from making cheese?  On further reading, it looks like it's the live cultures that are doing the most benefit for the plants, as much as the calcium.  I'm curious if whey protein from the store would have the same effect. The only sure fire way to know if it would work in your garden is to try it.  If you do, please let us know how it goes.
 
Saam Maeki
Posts: 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I used my supplemental whey, i.e. the stuff people that work out use. So not from culture. It did petrify some of the smaller larvae but as a whole it does not seem to work. Better to just go squash the larvae.
 
raven ranson
master steward
Posts: 5260
Location: Left Coast Canada
616
books chicken tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Saam Maeki wrote:I used my supplemental whey, i.e. the stuff people that work out use. So not from culture. It did petrify some of the smaller larvae but as a whole it does not seem to work. Better to just go squash the larvae.


thanks for the update.
 
John Weiland
Posts: 813
Location: RRV of da Nort
29
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
@Miranda C. "I could be wrong, but I don't think Bt itself is GMO. There are crops (like corn) that have been modified to include a donor gene from Bt to help them fight pests themselves. That's an entirely different creature though. I don't see why they would modify something that already naturally produces pesticide."

That's right.  By itself, Bacillus thuringiensis is a natural bacterium that produces a toxin for the target insect.  In some GMO corn, the toxin gene itself from the bacterium is what is transferred to maize to give it the specific insect resistant quality.  Although your reasoning is correct that it would not seem to make sense to modify the gene in the Bt as it already exists, I can see where they would want to play around with either amping up expression of the toxin gene or even modifying it to give the same or better efficacy against the target insect while actually reducing the toxicity to off-target insects.  Either way, like many have said, it's not really needed.
 
Cob is sand, clay and sometimes straw. This tiny ad is made of cob:
Mike Oehler's Low-Cost Underground House Workshop & Survival Shelter Seminar - 3 DVD+2 Books Deal
https://permies.com/wiki/48625/Mike-Oehler-Cost-Underground-House
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!