Using harsh chemicals for pest control can be harmful to the environment and family health. Choosing eco-friendly options minimizes these risks and provides long-term benefits.
Harsh chemical pesticides often require prepping and cleaning that eco-friendly methods do not. Pest Control Tulsa process includes covering furniture, containing food, and vacating the area during treatment.
There’s been a push for years to reduce the amount of chemicals used in homes and businesses and use natural methods to control pest infestations instead. While there’s no question that chemical-based pesticides can be effective, they also leave behind a residue that can negatively impact indoor air quality. Natural pest control solutions, on the other hand, do not leave any toxic residue and can help improve overall indoor air quality.
The majority of commercial insect repellents contain toxic chemicals, but natural alternatives are much safer for humans and pets. Natural repellents are often made with essential oils, which work as an effective barrier against pests while leaving the skin undamaged. Essential oil-based sprays can be purchased from any store and are easy to apply directly onto the skin. Other types of natural repellents include plants that naturally deter specific pests, horticultural oils, and bacterium-based insecticides.
Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) is a type of bacterium that naturally occurs in the soil and can be used to kill various pests, including aphids, mites, beetles, caterpillars, leaf miners, thrips, and whiteflies. When an insect lands on a plant sprayed with BT, it will be ingested and killed within a few days.
Horticultural oils, like sesame, olive, and peanut, can be applied to the leaves of plants to protect them against many pests. These oils also help the plants retain moisture and increase their nutrient content.
Several weeds and herbs can act as natural insect repellents, including marigolds, chrysanthemums, catnip, rosemary, and mint. For example, the essential oil of thyme is approved by the CDC for use in minimum-risk pesticides and can be used to protect against mosquitoes.
Homemade natural insect repellents can be quite inexpensive. For example, simmering a cup of catnip in water can make a nontoxic repellent for cockroaches, while a few drops of eucalyptus oil on small squares of cloth will repel flies. Other natural insect repellents include bay leaves, cloves, and neem oil. Alternatively, neem oil can be applied directly to plants and is multifaceted in its eradication of pests across multiple kingdoms.
Insecticides are a common part of many gardeners’ arsenals, but there are natural alternatives that can work as well or better. Many traditional insecticides are made from synthetic chemicals that can be very effective, but they also pose a health risk to people and pets. Natural insecticides, on the other hand, are produced by nature or derived from an organic source, such as a plant or mineral. They are usually less toxic than chemical sprays, but they should still be used only when necessary and in the least toxic form possible.
Some natural pesticides are odorless and vaporize into gas when they come into contact with the air. They have shorter half-lives and lower toxicity levels than synthetic chemicals, but they can still be dangerous to humans and animals, so they should only be used as the last resort when other nontoxic options are not available.
Neem oil comes from the seeds of neem trees and contains the natural pesticide azadirachtin, which suffocates bugs by entering their soft outer shell. It’s available in pure or clarified hydrophobic form, and it can be used to control leaf miners, thrips, aphids, whiteflies, earwigs, and the early stages of caterpillars. Neem oil can also be used to kill or prevent powdery mildew, a fungal disease that affects many plants.
Other natural insecticides, such as pyrethrum and spinosad, are derived from plant extracts and are safer than synthetic pesticides, but they are also relatively short-lived and present some risk to beneficial insects. They can be combined with more potent and longer-lasting pesticides to increase effectiveness.
Some naturally-derived pesticides, such as nicotine, can be very harmful to bees and other pollinators. Others, such as Sania and spinosad, are toxic to some aquatic species. Always review the GREEN and YELLOW panels before choosing and using any insecticides, as they provide important information on how to set up your landscape for success while minimizing the use of pesticides. Also, be sure to read and follow all pesticide instructions carefully to reduce the risk of injury or harm. If possible, try to resolve the problem without insecticides by removing diseased or damaged plant parts or relocating them.
Whether you have weeds in your lawn or flowers, there are eco-friendly herbicides to get them under control. These natural weed killers are not only safer for children and pets, but they break down quickly in the environment, leaving nothing harmful behind. They are also usually multipurpose, allowing you to kill a variety of pests with one product. In addition, they are usually less expensive than traditional chemical products and can save you on potential veterinary bills caused by chemicals that hurt pet health.
The most common organic weed killers are microbial products, which contain microorganisms that attack the cells of targeted plants, causing desiccation and death. Some products use a natural preservative, such as salt or corn gluten meal. These are all effective at killing broad-leaf weeds, such as dandelions and crabgrass. Some are even effective against annual bluegrass, though results may be less pronounced in cooler weather.
Other natural weed killers include natural acids (vinegar + citric acid), herbicidal soaps, iron-based herbicides, and a few others. The most common, however, is salt-based, using sodium chloride to kill the weeds by suffocating them. It is important to avoid spraying the neighboring crops with this solution since it can hurt their growth. Salt-based herbicides should also be used with caution near concrete surfaces, as they can discolor them.
Another option is a natural insecticide, such as spinosad, which contains the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis, which naturally exists in the soil and produces proteins that are toxic to insects. When an insect consumes the bacteria, it becomes infected and dies. It is effective against a wide range of insects, including leafminers, caterpillars, thrips, tomato hornworms, and cabbage worms.
There are a variety of other environmentally friendly pest control techniques available, including essential oils, diatomaceous earth, sticky traps, companion planting, and biological control. These are effective, and safe and can be used in conjunction with the other methods described to create an integrated pest management strategy that minimizes damage to your garden and ecosystem. Moreover, implementing preventative measures such as excluding pests from your garden and lawn and having healthy plants will minimize the need for other, more intensive pest controls.
Natural pest control methods that keep away or capture unwanted pests are a good place to start for those who want to avoid chemicals. Physical barriers like screens and door sweeps can help keep out pests while trapping them in or out, whereas pheromone lures and humane traps can be used to capture slugs, rodents, and other small creatures without killing them. Inspecting your home and garden for entry points and removing their sources of food, water, and shelter can also deter some types of pests.
Using a non-toxic homemade spray can make it easy to deter insects and other pests that threaten your plants, vegetables, and home. Mixing equal parts liquid soap, water, and vegetable oil creates a natural insecticidal spray that suffocates soft-bodied pests by breaking down their exoskeletons and absorbing their oils and fats. Diatomaceous earth, a powder made from the fossilized shells of microscopic aquatic organisms, is another non-toxic option that can be sprinkled on problem areas to dehydrate pests.
Another effective way to reduce pest infestations is through biological controls, which are ecologically friendly ways to control damaging bugs by using natural predators or parasites to decrease their numbers. For example, ladybugs can be released in your garden to reduce aphid populations, and nematodes can be deployed to destroy pests in soil beds.
Other organic options for natural pest control include plant oils that repel pests, such as pepper spray, which can be mixed with water and sprayed on problem plants and areas. Plants can also be grown to deter pests, such as marigolds that deter nematodes and other soil-borne pests, and nasturtiums, which release natural substances that can ward off insect invaders. In addition, using compost and mulch can help promote healthy soil that deters many common pests, including slugs and snails. Opting for environmentally friendly pest control methods not only helps to protect the environment but can also minimize health risks for your pets and family members. The toxins in traditional pesticides can affect your pet when they are applied, as well as continue to pose risks for weeks or months afterward.