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A web-spinning mite: (2012)

Lonicera japonica Japanese Honeysuckle

Treatment with homemade insecticidal soap

Image 01-07-12

Vine collared and prior to soap treatments.  

Image 04-26-12

The same vine after multiple soap treatments.  Inspection shows very little mite damage upon new growth.

Image 04-27-12

Plumerias outside now and treated with the same soap.

Image 02-24-12

The above counter-top roaster is full of honey colored soap made from old deep fat frying oils which were mostly based upon corn oil.  The viscosity produced by the method described below hinted that only 1.5 ounces of soap per gallon of water is necessary, and at those levels this has been applied to multiple plant species via a pump up sprayer and a hose dial sprayer (soap diluted with water to allow for easy flow at 2 ounces of soap per gallon of water).  The only apparent side effects are that after application the plants may smell somewhat like citrus and when applied to citrus plants in bloom those blooms will more than likely fall off.  For plants such as azalea application of the soap too close to bloom will induce scorching upon elongating bloom tissues.  

Soap recipe based upon recipe previously found in January of 2012 @ www.snowdriftfarm.com/form_liquidsoap.html

Liquid soap from used corn/vegi oil.

Counter top turkey roaster pan works well for this and at 212 degrees F. will cook the soap at the correct temperature.

Place oil in a pan and warm on the stove to 120-130 degrees F.

In a well ventilated area and starting with a cold turkey roaster pan/counter top oven, add the initial amount of water (tap is ok for this step and helps get the soap to trace quickly) and then sprinkle the potassium hydroxide (KOH) into the water. Use a wooden spoon to stir in. Measure the temperature of the KOH solution (careful it is caustic) and when it drops to 120-130 degrees F. then add the oil (of same temperature) to the roaster pan. Turn on the heat to 212 degrees F.

Use stick beater to blend for 2-3 minutes and rest for 5 minutes. Again blend with stick beater for 2-3 minutes and then rest for 10 minutes. Blend again for a few minutes and it should be at this point into trace (the solution thickens, like gravy, and will be curdled somewhat too). At this point you donít need the stick blender and will only need the wooden spoon.

Stir occasionally (first thirty minutes needs it every few minutes, after that every 15 or so minutes, give it a stir) and after 3 to 4 hours the soap will be in a gel phase, semitransparent when placed upon a wooden spoon and the grains of the wood show through a thin layer of the gel. Turn the heat to the turkey roaster pan off. 

It is at this stage that you need to add between 1.5 and 2 gallons of boiling hot distilled water (dH2O). It must be distilled and very hot as this causes an almost complete transformation from a gel into glycerin soap. Stir the mess a little bit after adding boiling distilled water and then cover and let sit overnight. The next morning scrape off the scum on the top and place that into a metal or ceramic bowl and add an additional 3-4 cups of boiling distilled water and cover with a plate. After 30 minutes to an hour it should have converted the remaining scum into liquid soap. Cool further and scrape and discard any remaining scum on the surface. It should look just like jelly at this stage with a similar layer of scum.

Combine the two soaps together to get final strength.

Amounts used for this recipe.

500grams/17.63 ounces (by weight) of potassium hydroxide (KOH) flakes.
33 ounces (liquid) of tap water (distilled will take longer to reach trace).
85 ounces (liquid) of oil.

1.5 to 2 gallons of distilled water (dH2O).