Insect du sol

Has anyone found an alternative to this product as it appears to be be banned? We use it when planting brassicas and lettuces as cutworms and wireworms have a field day if we don’t sprinkle it in the soil before planting.

Have you asked for the alternative - at whichever shop you would have bought the now-banned stuff… ???

Have you tried using biologic control, ie nematodes? Much better for you and the planet. We use the ones against courtilière/mole crickets which are a big problem here, and they work brilliantly. Now we only need to treat every two or three years.


Thank you Jane.
That is all my research has come up with so it looks as though we will have to go that way. I rather think it is going to be very expensive to cover the area we use for brassicas and other susceptible crops especially as we change it each year.

I heard nothing about it being withdrawn but explains why we could not find any last year either.

Yes Stella I did but all I got was the gallic shrug and an indication that there wasn’t one. Sorry I missed your post.

How very unhelpful of them. There must be an alternative, even if it is not as all-encompassing as the previous stuff. Ah well, something to talk about when I next see my Bio friends. :upside_down_face:

This message went into my spam folder which I never look at but decided to today and you were right in the middle of some very unsavory e-mails. I thought perhaps you were a little bored with life and decided to divert to ‘other’ things!

Seriously though, I did ask for an alternative but nothing was forthcoming not even the offer of nematodes. My husband has mixed some soot with water and watered along the rows of cabbages to see if that will help. We seem to have such funny things in our soil, most of which are known pests but yesterday when digging a border I disturbed the soil to reveal 6 little lizard eggs. I quickly recovered them and stopped digging. I wasn’t sorry about that and am anxious to see if they hatch.

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I hope the lizards make it. I did come across another product, which is not an insecticide as such more a nutritional reinforcement. Might be worth a try if area too big for nematodes? Although we now only treat every 2 or 3 years as population now small, so works out at about 10euros a year.

Thanks Jane, that product looks interesting. I will look out for it at the various garden centres. I would never have thought of looking for a foliar product but it seems to control taupins which is what I want to rid the garden of.


I seem to recall reading somewhere - or else a friend talking - something about “fern water”. The gist is that you put ferns into a bucket and let them decompose into gunk and use it (diluted) to water the earth.

There are several plants that, when decomposed, make good deterrents for various garden “baddies” … I’m sure someone will know what I am talking about.

Yes there are Stella. Nettles, comfrey and mares tail just to name a few. I think they are called purin de ? but whether they are any good for killing the root munching baddies, I don’t know. I’ve just decimated a pot of alstromerias that were looking very lush and green and full of promise for a wonderful summer display, but when it started to go a bit yellow at a great speed, I investigated. What I found were 37 cockchafer grubs in the pot. Not nice. The chickens had a feast but to make sure there were no others I had missed, I put the last of the ‘insect du sol’ on the remaining soil on a sheet of polythene. Next day there were another 15 on the surface, very much dead. Not a feast for the chickens this time though. You see why I wanted to replace the insecticide, it worked.

Yes, Elizabeth… here’s a useful link…

Nettle purin or tea provides a good nitrogen fertilizer, and with a teaspoon of pure soap makes a great spray against aphids
Comfrey purin provides potassium and is a good tomato food once flowers have set
Mare’s tail or equisetum makes a gentle fungicide
Garlic purin in a spray is a deterrent for slugs and snails
Fern purin in a spray also help deter insects so could work against like taupin

We use them all, and the only problem is that making them stinks. Absolutely foul smell!

Generally a kg of leaves in a few litres of water, cover and leave in cool place for 10 days then strain and use diluted. Apart from garlic which is a bulb of garlic chopped in 2 litres of water. Bring it to the boil then let it steep for 24 hours, filter and use.

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Elizabeth, the nematodes and other beneficial insects you can buy are extremely cost effective in the long run because they breed and multiply so wherever you have the food they require (bad insects) they will thrive. That is of course if you don’t use other insecticides around the garden that will also kill them off!
I work full time as a gardener and only garden organically, there are now lots of “helpers” for sale in the garden centres, even here in France! Granted, there are far more available in the UK than here and sometimes I have clients bring them over for me (cheaper in UK too), I use Swirski-Mite Plus for treating thrips on agapanthus and they work extremely well.
Here’s a link to the same company’s page on cabbage whites

There are other companies and products too, nature is amazing at doing the dirty work to protect our plants if we let it, instead of plumping for the chemicals that will eventually kill us as well as the pests.

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Neem is another natural product that works well, it kills some bugs and is a brilliant fungicide, used as a soil drench and a spray it prevents and treats. I wouldn’t waste money on the garden centre products that say they contain neem though, they’re weak and not fresh enough. I buy organic neem oil from my cosmetic and soap making suppliers and make up enough to use when I need it. It has to be strong enough to do the job and fresh enough for the volatile compounds to still be active. Neem can be damaging to beneficial insects too so obviously spraying flowers isn’t an option.

If you use the comfrey/nettles/fern etc. don’t forget to compost the soggy plant matter after straining. You can also use comfrey leaves as they are and lay them on the soil around (but not touching) plants, as the plants are watered the leaves will break down and feed the plants.
Comfrey contains a large amount of allantoin which makes it extremely good for use in soaps, skincare products and cosmetics, I grew and used it for both purposes for years, drying it for non garden use.
Many high end skincare products contain allantoin, as do toothpastes aimed at gum health. In days gone by the common name for comfrey was “knitbone” as it was used for healing all manner of wounds.