safe insecticides in atrium w/ birds?

ramsfieldj at ramsfieldj at
Wed Aug 24 17:47:22 EST 1994

Does anyone know what I should do about having birds in my greenhouse?
I will have an indoor atrium ready beofre the first frost this winter 
(Washington, D.C.) that is 8' x 10' and two storeys high.  Inside the 
atrium I will put my plants that are presently outdoors for the 
summer: hibiscus, ficus, jasmine, bougainvillea, a citrus tree, 
plumeria, mandevilla, and other common houseplants (a few palms 
& schefflera).  My question involves insecticides.  I invariably get 
some infestations (whitefly, some scale or other) and in the past have 
had to sptray my plants indoors in the winter time.  Perhaps they 
won't be as susceptible to disease because they'll now be in a 
greenhouse environment, and not in a heated (extremely dry!) house.  
But nonetheless I fear that if I put a couple of pairs of finches 
(Gouldians or zebras) in the atrium, they might be adversely affected 
by any sprays I have been using: Malathion, antifunguals, safer soap.  
Perhaps only the latter will be non toxic to birds and solve some of 
my problems.  Any suggestions on non-toxic to birds types of 
insecticides.  In the best case scenario, the finches would _eat_ the 
bugs, and I would have a nifty little ecosystem going in there without 
having to go chemical.  Any experienced bird/plant lovers wanna advise 
me?  I'd appreciate it.  I have already posted on rec.gardens and 
rec.pets.birds so this is my third try at finding the right answer.  

I'm Gene Vricella writing on my wife's e-mail account at Georgetown 


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