Whey as a Natural Insecticide

2012 Annual Report for FNC12-855

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2012: $2,568.17
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:

Whey as a Natural Insecticide


April weather was still too wet to work the ground for the project. We were able to till the ground on May 29th and 30th.

June 2nd and 3rd, we planted all test plots. Five rows, five feet apart, approximately 25 feet long, with mounds at five-foot intervals.
We added another row to test the benefits of using half strength liquid whey.

June 10th: the plants have emerged. Started whey application.
We have watered the plants regularly. Noticed the plants with the liquid Whey have grown well.

June 12th through the 16th, we mulched the test plot, trying to keep moisture in ground and to deter the weeds.
Temperatures are in the 90’s, no relief at night. Rain is nonexistent.

July brings temp’s in the 100’s. No rain. We water two times a week. Plants don’t seem too stressed.
We apply the whey in early morning.

Growing Season
Test plot 1: Watered each plant on the ground with liquid whey. Plants are the largest in this test. We do see three batches of eggs on different plants. Find two squash bugs. One plant had cucumber beetle damage, along with the bugs.

Test plot 2: We sprayed liquid whey on plants. Plants are large and healthy looking. Only counted two squash bugs. We do have bugs that are yellow with black stripes, and yellow with black spots. I have identified them as cucumber beetles. There is leaf damage. On underside of damaged leaves are these cucumber beetles numbering eight to ten per leaf damaged. Leaf damage is at least one to two leaves per plant.

Test plot 3: This is the plot we added to see if using extra-strength liquid whey would work. We found that we had more leaf damage. Three hills were fine. More eggs were found — four batches in this plot. Still had damage from the cucumber beetle.

Test plot 4: We dusted the plants with the powdered whey. Plants look healthy. Minimum cucumber beetles(four), no squash bugs, and no squash bug eggs. The damage to the leaves is minimal.

Test Plot 5: This is our control plot. No whey is used. We still water and have mulched the row. The plants are considerably smaller. Cucumber beetles number over 30. Squash bugs number eight, and the count is five batches of eggs. We have lost a whole mound of plants to leaf damage. Considerable leaf damage in this plot.

Whey Is Working

August brought the same drought as July, along with high temps. Cucumber beetles have done extensive damage to the leaves of our plants. The plants are not putting on as much fruit as expected.

We learned that with the extreme heat, the blossoms open early morn, and close with the heat, so the pollinators (bees) don’t have much chance.

Using whey as an insect deterrent has worked very well on squash bugs, but has not stopped the cucumber beetle at all.
The powered whey did a good job at minimizing all bugs.

When the plants have set fruit, the damage to the fruit is not bad, until the fruit are just about ready to harvest.
Cucumber beetles cause the most damage.
We found success with using Whey!

In a final conclusion, we have decided that the use of whey, liquid or powder, does deter squash beetles. The liquid whey does not do much to deter cucumber beetles.

When comparing liquid whey to powdered whey, there is a definite difference in the count of cucumber beetles on the plants. Powdered whey does a better job of deterring cucumber beetles.

Liquid whey from cheese-making is a cheap, environmentally safe, insect deterrent, and a pretty good fertilizer. The plants with the whey added, had great growth throughout the season with no bad impact on the environment.

We get total use of our milk. From grass, hay and vegetables, feeding the goats, making cheese for ourselves, using the by-product, and giving back to the grass hay and vegetables with whey, there is a full circle with no harm!

We had a friend of ours using the liquid whey on her cucumber plants, in her garden. She found success with the whey also and there was no ill effect for the honey bees. She thinks it helped attract them for pollination.

Objectives/Performance Targets


Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes


Dale DeWeese

2340 hwy 47
Lonedell, MO 63060
Office Phone: 6362344943