3 Reasons NOT to Use Pesticides (and 5 Alternatives to Them)
When people think about organic gardening, one of the first things that springs to mind is pest control. And that’s because pest control is one of the main areas that separates the organic garden from the traditional garden.
You see, the traditional gardener dumps pesticide on the garden to kill the pests. Problem is, a pesticide doesn’t somehow limit itself to just the pests. The pesticide seeps into the soil, where it becomes a danger to the environment as a whole. The pesticide blankets the plant, which is especially troubling if it’s a vegetable or fruit plant. And it doesn’t just kill the bad pests. It tends to kill the good (beneficial) insects too.
Just think about the implications:
- The beneficial insects are destroyed too, which upsets the whole environmental balance.
- You’re taking in toxins every time you and your family eat veggies or fruits that have been sprayed with pesticides. Eating one or two pieces may not harm you, but over time the toxins likely build up in your body.
- Your pets, other animals and children who play in your neighbourhood are exposed to any toxins that are dumped into a garden. They may even have direct contact, especially if a pet or other animal walks through the pesticide or eats the plants.
The solution, of course, is to use natural, non-toxic and non-harmful ways to get rid of pests. There are several ways do this, and the best method depends on what types of pests you’re trying to get rid of. Below you’ll find an overview of these methods:
- Use natural sprays. There are some natural substances you can use to kill certain pests. For some pests, you might even be able to use something as simple as soapy water, which drowns the pest.
- Trap the pests. Traps work best for pests that move along the ground, like slugs. If you’re having problems with wild animals, you may have to use a live animal trap.
- Confuse the pests. If you know what types of pests are most likely to show up in your garden, then you can plant certain flowers or herbs that are particularly attractive to them. That way, the pests are drawn to these “decoy” plants. You end up sacrificing these plants, but you do so to save the flowers and other plants that you want to protect.
- Introduce beneficial insects. You can buy certain types of beneficial insects that will kill the harmful pests in your area. This may work for a short time, but do keep in mind that your environment may not be suitable for the type of beneficial insect you’re trying to introduce.
- Lure beneficial insects. You can also lure native beneficial insects by planting certain flowers that they find attractive. They’ll come because of this attraction… but then they’ll stick around to eat the pests.
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