A. This particular bug, the leaf footed plant bug, is a growing problem for Las Vegas gardeners. The only way you will have a good crop of pomegranates, and most likely pistachios, is to spray.
|Leaffooted plant bug on pomegranate|
The two choices you have are to spray with a conventional insecticide, which you call a poison, or spray with some sort of “organic” spray which I guess you might call non-poisonous.
Conventional insecticides leave a longer residual on the plant so you do not have to spray as often. Most organic sprays must be repeated more often because they don't have much of a residual or none at all.
One of the most effective “organic” sprays is soap. You can make your own soap sprays but for most people I would highly recommend buying insecticidal soap already made. The soap used to make insecticidal soaps is less damaging to plants than grabbing scented Ivory liquid and using that.
|Safers insecticidal soap|
Insecticidal soaps, to be effective, must be sprayed directly on the insect. They have no residual. When these bugs die from the soap, new ones will come in and invade their territory so you have to re-spray frequently.
The most effective time to spray soaps is toward dusk when bugs have settled in for the night. Soap sprays are not selective. They will kill any insect that comes in direct contact with your spray, good or bad.
Organic sprays containing pyrethrum, an insecticide derived from either Dalmatian or Persian chrysanthemums, will probably work well. However, pyrethrum is a poison. Use it carefully and wear protective clothing.
|Pyrethrum farmer in Kenya|
Synthetic or manufactured sprays that chemically resemble pyrethrum, which you would categorize as a poison, are probably going to be effective as well. Scientists “tweaked” the chemistry of pyrethrum to give it more “knockdown power” and last a little longer. These are called synthetic pyrethroids.
Chemical names in the ingredients will say things like “Permethrin” or “pyrethroid”. These chemicals emulate natural pyrethrins but are manufactured and as such are not “organic”. If you decide to go conventional, then look for these names in the ingredients. Make sure the label permits you to apply it to fruit trees.