Esteemed Member
Frustrated. Scale & every imaginable bug has set in this dry season quickly. I wish I had the time to babysit but I don't. I leave when it's dark & come home at dusk exhausted. I have full irrigation but its been near 90. Pretty sure I will lose a lot of crotons this season. I'm at the point where I douse the yard in 3 & 1 but I have butterfly gardens & dogs running thru yard too. Just venting. Rainy season can't come soon enough
Remember that contact insecticides do not work on mature scale insects so you got to smoother the buggers with an agricultural oil. ...and does anyone have any quantitative info on how much of a systemic insecticide (any of the neonicitoides? - synthetic nicotines) is needed in a croton to be effective. I've been using a mixture of sun coffee, 3:1, and oil every two weeks to keep the *&^%$#@!! scale in check - contact insecticide for the young ones and oil to smother the older ones and hope that the systemic is doing something beneficial. However, the long awaited rainy season should reduce the *&^)$! spider mites.
Bren - The butterflies do not feed on the croton flowers. They would have to come in contact with the imidacloprid to affect them. As far as the dogs, keep them out of the yard for a day when you treat you plants. Once dry, it does not transfer onto the dogs. Imidacloprid is used in some of the anti-flea / tick treatments for dogs.

As for spide mites, I am having a battle with then myself. Usually once the rains come in June they go away as they hate being wet. Very frustrating since they are so prolific. Avid is somewhat effective controlling them but is really expensive. I have no idea how it effects dogs - so I refrain from using it.