Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
Recalculations place it at 0.4999.

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One lump, or two?...
  [vote for,

The missus and I have been taking a few organic-ish courses lately, (she somehow tolerates me calling her the missus), and most of the focus has been on soil chemistry and keeping a minature eco-system alive.
Cool stuff.
Boring as all get-out though so I dreamed up ways of minimizing work while maximizing productivity to keep from smashing my head repeatedly against the desk.
It worked pretty well.
I annoyed the crap out of the teacher, who had to look up several things to get back to me on, with head-scratching doodles of gizmos to peruse in order to ascertain their plausability, (one of my favoritest things to do don'tcha know), to-boot.
So that was good.

She, (the teacher, not my missus), mentioned something in passing one class that bugged me (snicker) for a while, and I was hoping one of you fine folk might have an insight or two as to whether her stumble-upon might not be golden.

She said that her tomato crop had been plagued by tomato-horn-worms one year, and that there were so many of them that she disgustedly put handfulls of them in a bowl and poured boiling water over them, strained out the gunk, (which she fed to her chickens) and then sprayed the cooled horn-worm-water on her plants as an instant compost-tea. She said that the plants loved it.

After class I asked her what happened with her tomato horn worm problem. She looked a bit puzzled and said, "You know, it just sort of went away." and left it at that.

'She' is not a halfbaker.

Is it possible that insects and pests could be deterred from troubling food crops if they incounter plants coated in a spray made from a tea of their scouts?
Bears looking into anyway.
Imagine a spray, made from eau-de-termite that protects your home from invasion and yet is freindly to the environment. Or even a synthesized extract once the main components have been isolated...

That I now have to somehow come up with three grand to evict termites from my basement has in no way influenced the creation of this idea.

At least I'd like to think it didn't.

Portugese Millipedes in Australia http://en.wikipedia...matoiulus_moreletii
[AusCan531, Apr 30 2012]


       I'm aware that ants don't like to frequent the area where they routinely deposit corpses of old dead ants. So I'm willing to agree that it could be likely that most organisms are repelled by the deaths of other organisms of the same species.   

       Imagine the possibilities! Mosquito repellent made from the bodies of lots of dead mosquitoes, just for starters.
Vernon, Apr 30 2012

       We used to mash thousands of stink-beetles on the floors of our classrooms, where we studied in the evenings (They make kids study at boarding school) but it never stopped the stink bugs coming.   

       It did, however, make the classrooms smell really nasty.
UnaBubba, Apr 30 2012

       It doesn't seem to work for Portugese Millipedes [link]. At times they appear in such plague proportions that trains have trouble moving due to slipperiness caused by their crushed bodies. What's more, when they are crushed they emit hydrogen cyanide. (And make you shudder when you crunch them in your sock feet).   

       EDIT crunch them WITH your sock feet - not IN.
AusCan531, Apr 30 2012

       I've tried to find which of the 6,500 or so stink bug species we used to trample on the floor... there are too many to make it practicable.
UnaBubba, Apr 30 2012

       [+] works with ants.
FlyingToaster, Apr 30 2012

       Too late, this in an old time formula that I learned from my great grandmother who learned it from her's, I'm 60+ so this idea goes back to the early paleo-lithic.. It works especially well on caterpillars and other insects that go thru complete metamorphosis. Organic gardeners use it it's USDA approved. No one really knows why it works, the taste or smell of dead bugs? (sniff, MY GOD they killed Kenney!), taste/smell of rotten dead bugs?, spread of pathogens (germs), parasites in the juice? Then again it may just be that by the time you've collected enough bugs to make enuff juice, you've wiped out the population anyway.
notmrjohn, May 01 2012

       [Vernon], our recent ant infestation tests your theory. The living are meandering around the dead corpses in a rather sad, and sadistic manner. They aren't leaving either. Just milling about. Maybe it's a death march or something, but I've almost gone through a can of spray with poor results.
blissmiss, May 01 2012

       You may be better off mashing up an insect- repelling plant. I seem to remember that marigolds deter a lot of insects, and are sometimes planted with crops for that reason.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 01 2012

       Some insects have an alarm or danger pheromone. This may tend to repel others of their kind.   

       Of course some species swarm the area to kill off intruders, so I think it's not always a viable option.
MechE, May 01 2012

       Marigolds work because they contain relatively high levels of pyrethrins, which are natural insect repellent and pesticide chemicals.   

       Pyrethrins are also toxic to cats. There's a chemical usually associated with pyrethrum-based sprays that also causes problems with late-term human pregnancies, I think. Delayed development, mental issues and the like... Piperonyl something-or-other.
UnaBubba, May 01 2012

       I don't have insect problems because I grow my crops indoors, but occasionally I get a spot of fungus or bacterial infection on my 'tomatoes' that good ol' grapefruit seed extract won't take care of. The bacterial bastards I hit with various enzymatic sprays, but I've found a nifty way to murder above-ground fungi: White-Out. I paint it over the infected area and that's it; when the fungus is dead, it loses adhesion with the stem and flakes off. I've never had to re-apply it more than twice, even with Grey Mold (which I've only encountered once, thank Genghis).
Alterother, May 01 2012

       //grow my crops indoors// //'tomatoes'// = party at [Alt...]'s house...
4whom, May 02 2012

       Do you think these are hydroponic 'tomatoes' with a pretty fancy full-spectrum lighting rig to promote plant growth?
hippo, May 02 2012

       Beware that bees tend to go into attack-mode when they smell the blood of their own kind. Although it's unlikely you'd be trying to ward off bees from your crops, I had assumed that most colonial insects shared the same mentality.
mitxela, May 02 2012

       // Do you think these are hydroponic 'tomatoes' with a pretty fancy full-spectrum lighting rig to promote plant growth? //   

       Actually, the spectrum is tailored specifically to the needs of the particular varieties of tomatos I grow. I grow very small, very high-quality crops of tomatoes, some of which help alleviate my chronic pain, others of which we enjoy in the privacy of our home and sometimes share with close friends. You might say we are gourmet tomato connoisuers. I grow hydroponically and some in carefully amended soil, again depending on the preferences of the particular strain. My indoor tomato garden is small but sophisticated, and built entirely from component purchased at H0me D€p0t and the fish store.   

       And yes, [4whom], occasionally we do host small, low-key tomato appreciation parties.
Alterother, May 02 2012


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