What gardener doesn’t want to rid his or her garden of all those nasty summertime pests? Yet to put chemical pesticides on

plants that will ultimately grow produce the family will eat seems a bit wrong. That’s where gardeners have a break as

there are several organic pesticides for use in the garden. These natural pesticides are safe and don’t damage the soil

year after year.

Many organic pesticides come from plant sources, some of which produce pyrethrum, while others produce rotenone, ryania, or

mineral-based pesticides. Mineral pesticides include cryolite, boric acid or diatomaceous earth-all of which are designed

to kill plant-destructive insects in your garden.

Experts say that, while organic pesticides are distinctly safer than synthetic pesticides, users want to be careful when

using them. Gardeners shouldn’t use them with bare hands and they should realize that some organic pesticides can be as

toxic as their non-organic counterparts. Least toxic products will say “Caution” on the label, more toxic products will

say “Warning” and the most toxic products will say “Danger”. These words, however, are not a signal of their potential for

environmental harm.

Some organic pesticides are minimally toxic to humans but are very toxic to animals. Ryania, for example, is highly toxic

to fish. Other organic pesticides kill even the most beneficial insects, such as the combination of pyrethrins and rotenone.

By law, all pesticides, including organic pesticides, must be used precisely according to the instructions on the label.

Read the label before using any organic pesticide.

An important group of “organic” pesticides is the biopesticide group. This unique class of pesticides involves using

biological organisms to control pests. In general this type of organic pesticide acts slower than other organic pesticides

and involves critical application times. Biopesticides reduce, rather than destroy, pest populations and they have a narrow

target range with a specific mode of action. Biopesticides have a limited shelf life as they are live organisms.

There are two general types of organic biopesticides. They include biochemical and microbial-based organic biopesticides.

Biochemical pesticides include insect pheromones, odor-based chemicals that disrupt the insect mating cycle by interfering

with the ability to find a mate. Pheromone-based traps can also be used to trap male insects, disrupting the mating cycle.

Organic microbial biopesticides include those that come from genetically-changed fungi, viruses, protozoans or bacteria.

This type of organic pesticide suppresses the pest population by secreting toxins specific to the insects, causing disease

in the pest population, interfering with the establishment of pests through competition and other modes of action.

One type of organic biopesticide is the bacterium known as Bacillus thuringiensis, a soil-based bacterium that is toxic to

several types of insect larvae but not to other things. This bacterium can be applied to plant foliage or incorporated into

the genetic material of larger crops. It is toxic to the larvae of moths and butterflies. Other varieties are toxic to

mosquitoes and black flies.

Gardening with organic pesticides is generally effective and healthier to the environment and the plants than synthetic

pesticides and make a good alternative to using harmful chemicals on your garden.

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