By David B Wheeler

Consumer demand for safer products to use around their homes and businesses to control pests was jumped upon by various companies. Green, organic and natural are the catch words being used to sell all kinds of products now. But in many cases these words are being used to mislead the consumer into thinking they are safe for people, plants, animals and the environment in general. The saying," buyer bewares" should be applied to any product that is being promoted using these words! It is just two simplistic to say because it's green, natural or organic that it is better for the environment.

The demand for organic/natural products is increasing because of this concern for the environment and people. But pesticides that are extracted from a plant or mined from the ground doesn't mean they are "safe" for either people, plants, or animals. Rotenone, one of the most toxic of the organic insecticides, is still seen in many stores, as is Bordeaux mix and copper sulfate, two fungicides that can make a soil poisonous to plants if overused.

There are two problems with these green/organic products. The first is that they are not as potent as conventional pesticides. Therefore, these green/organic pesticides usually require a larger dose to be effective. These larger doses increase the risk of runoff, leaching into the soil and toxicity to fish and birds. The second problem is the impact they may have on beneficial insect. Using vegetable or mineral oil to control aphids on plants works by smothering the problem insect and requires large amounts to get the job done. It will also kill ladybugs and other beneficial insects that were helping to control the aphids to begin with.

To conclude, the consumer must confront the notion that green/natural/organic choices are always the safest and best products to use for their pest control problems.


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