WASHINGTON DC-Produce from the White House organic garden has been found to contain several commonly used pesticides, forcing the First Lady to come clean.
Lettuce and cherry tomatoes carried home from a White House organic garden harvesting event last week by District of Columbia middle school student Mike Foreblick were found by his science teacher to contain residue of several pesticides during a follow up class activity. None of the pesticides are illegal, though their use does render the produce of the White House organic garden to be non-organic. The lettuce was Looseleaf and Butterhead varieties and the cherry tomatoes were Sweet 100 variety.
"I found a tomato hornworm so big I couldn't stand to pick it off and step on it, and I've seen the lettuce covered with furry orange caterpillars with long black hairs. I'm not going to have my organic garden ruined by bugs! And what would I tell the children if they come back here and find there's nothing to eat for the Harvest Photo Op because the bugs have eaten it all?" said Mrs. Obama.
At first, the First Lady turned to Acephate (Orthene brand) to control caterpillars, but the caterpillars didn't respond. Next she turned to Talstar, a good all-around spray. When used against a wide variety of household, turf, tree and ornamental pests Talstar gives a great level of control for long periods of time - while using a very small amount of active ingredients to get the job done.
"The caterpillars were knocked down, but only to return the next day," she said.
Through much trial and error, and consultation with the White House gardening staff, she finally settled on professional strength Permethrin.
"With two or three applications, they were all killed, and I was so relieved that the Organic Gardening Photo Op Series could go on as planned," she said.