5 Environment-Friendly Natural Pesticides
Is there such a thing as an environment-friendly natural pesticide?
Yes, there are a select few botanical mixtures which can be considered as the “elite“ environment friendly natural pesticide, for each one works well with few drawbacks. These special botanical mixtures do not harm the environment nor do they cause our good bugs any harm.
Whether we like it or not, many natural pesticides are not necessarily kind to the “good bugs”. Such natural pesticides as pyrethrum, rotenone, and sabadilla do not discrimate and do kill pretty well all insects, good or bad, which crawl over the stuff. So wherever possible, one should use an environment-friendly natural pesticide.
Choose an “Elite” Environment-Friendly Natural Pesticide from the following five:
1. Garlic Spray is an environment-friendly natural pesticide which repels many pests such as aphids, spider mites, and white flies. Not only is this natural pesticide environmentally safe but it is also biodegradable and does not affect flavor. Don’t worry about the garlicky smell when you first spray it. Once it dries, you won’t be able to smell it; however, the pests will and they will stay away from your plants.
2. Hot Pepper Wax, another environment-friendly natural pesticide, is a blend of food-grade paraffin wax, herbs, and capsaicin, the active ingredient in hot peppers. Hot pepper wax is derived from cayenne peppers.
This environment-friendly natural pesticide serves two purposes: 1) Keeps many garden pests such as aphids and white flies and other pests which don’t like spicy things away from your plants and 2) protects plants from dry or windy weather.
Since the plants do not absorb this natural pesticide, the flavor of your vegetables are not affected. Before preparing, wash the vegetables under warm running water to clean away any remaining wax.
Caution: When you do your spraying, be careful not to get any of the spray on your skin or in your eyes (wear plastic gloves) because the capsaicin can cause an irritation.
3. Insecticidal Soap, a well known botanical mixture, is another environment-friendly natural pesticide which is most effective on soft-bodied insects such as aphids. To work best, it must remain in contact with the pest for as long as possible, so you may want to use this natural pesticide spray early in the morning or late afternoon/evening when it takes longer to dry.
This environment-friendly natural pesticide a) does not harm most beneficial insects, b) has a low impact on mammals, birds, aquatic organisms, and other wildlife, and c) is damaging to predatory mites and some insects such as hoverflies in their larval stage.
Its main ingredient, potassium salts of fatty acids derived from plants, is what makes this natural pesticide mixture environment-friendly and biodegradable. It works well because the soap spray damages the insects’ cell membranes and causes the vital cellular fluids to leak and the insect to die.
Note: If mixed in water containing high amounts of minerals such as iron or calcium, it may be less effective.
4. Neem, derived from the seeds of the neem tree, has an active ingredient called azadirachtin which blocks the progression of the insect’s life cycle. Although it might take a few days for the effects of the neem to be seen, you will notice that as soon as Neem is applied to the plant, the insects seem to lose their appetite.
As a spray, neem is also an extremely environment-friendly natural pesticide. It has no effect on beneficials such as butterflies, spider, bees, earthworms, and ladybugs. Moreover, it has little impact on birds, aquatic organisms, fish and mammals, or other wildlife.
You may also use the neem oil insecticidal soap which combines the two products.
5. TOADS: You may laugh because I am including toads as an environment-friendly natural pesticide. However, toads are my favorite “pesticides”, and I will do anything to attract toads into my vegetable and flower gardens.
Toads like to work at night and seem to particularly like slugs and cutworms. However, their meal will include gypsy moth larvae, sowbugs, armyworms, and various beetles, up to 15,000 garden pests a year. Now do you still wonder why I welcome toads to my gardens?
In order for you to have toads remain in the garden, you must provide a cool, dark spot where they can hide in the daytime, a spot from which they can make a quick get-away.
I would take a 5-inch or 10-inch plastic flower pot, cut a big hole on the side and tuck it under a shrub out of sight. Although toads seem to like these “homes,” they would often just make themselves at home under full leaved shrubs without the flower pot . . . wherever the “food” could be found..
What is very important is to provide them with fresh cool water every day or every second day. The idea is to keep checking the little container placed out of sight on the ground and refill often to keep the water clean. (A large somewhat deep plastic bottle cover or a small “dip” plastic container works well)
I was constantly amazed at how efficient toads can be! I knew there were toads around when I would check my roses in the morning and find that there were no more aphids on my roses and no ants going up and down the rose stems “farming” and “moving” the aphids around.
Indeed, it is to our benefit to use an environment-friendly natural pesticide (spray or otherwise!), wherever possible, to keep the pests out of our gardens. The “elite” environment-friendly natural pesticide, (the garlic spray, the hot pepper wax, the insecticidal soap, the neem spray), is usually available at any garden nursery or even at Canadian Tire.
As for the toads – my favorite type of environment-friendly natural pesticide — well. . . .good luck!
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