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Southern Inspirations Garden Design

A family-run business since 1997

Southern Inspirations
Problems with Natural Insecticides
Natural insecticide has long been lauded by environmental groups as a safe alternative to synthetics. They kill a variety of pests found in gardens, yards, and homes. However, there are problems with natural insecticide.

Although natural insecticide has been around longer, there is less information on the efficacy of it as opposed to synthetic insecticide. The most information of all of them can be found on Bt and on oils. One problem with Bt is that it is only effective against a limited variety of insects. It makes a good natural insecticide for crops such as corn, but for some other crops, it is useless. Another problem with Bt is that insects become resistant to it over time.

Although a natural insecticide can be effective, it does not have the killing power of a synthetic chemical. Some would say that this is good. The beneficial insects are not harmed and humans and pets are not in danger. The problem is that a natural insecticide is also less effective against unwanted insects.

A natural insecticide will degrade much sooner than a synthetic chemical. Again, to some this is an advantage. It decreases the negative effects of the pesticide on the environment. However, it also means that the natural insecticide needs to be applied much more often. This leads to a greater quantity being used. Overall, it would be a much greater expense, and supplies might be limited.

It might be difficult to switch to all natural insecticide. One reason is that right now, organic farming is aided by the lowered insect population in some areas. This is due to use of high-power synthetic insecticides.

If natural insecticide were introduced to all these regions, the insects might multiply quickly all over the area. The natural insecticide might have a problem keeping up. Eventually, it could work out, as natural predator insects came back. However, right after the changeover, it would be bad. Expense is a limiting factor in the use of natural insecticide. Since a natural insecticide will generally cost more, many people will take the cheaper way out and buy a synthetic chemical. Some do this because they simply don't understand the difference.

In many countries, farmers have no choice but to use the least expensive insecticides available. These are usually outdated chemicals that have been banned in all the developed countries. However, if these countries don't use them, they will likely have to go without insecticides completely. There crops will be damaged by harmful insects.

The effects on the countries producing the natural insecticide would be difficult to manage. They would have to devote much of their agricultural resources to growing the plants used for such preparations. Poor people undoubtedly would be exploited in the harvesting of the crop.

So, there are definitely problems with the widespread use of natural insecticide. There are problems with effectiveness. There are problems with making a switch to natural insecticide. Even the production of natural insecticide is a concern. If all these problems can be overcome, a safer food supply can come about.

There's an unfortunate belief that anything natural must be good for you. Being "good for you" is interpreted as being safe. So, one problem with natural insecticide is that not enough precaution is taken around small children and pets. Other insects that are helpful in the area can be harmed by the use of insecticides, whether they are natural or not. Even if you only spray the pests, the residue or fumes can cause harm. The consumption of the insects that were pests can be bad for the ones that aren't.

People use more natural products with false security. There are many natural products that can cause problems if they are used improperly, to excess, or when mixed with other things.

Take medicines, for example. Herbal medicines are created from natural plant sources. They can be dangerous and will do more harm than good if used carelessly or without proper knowledge of the effects of the herb and the correct dosages. So it is with natural insecticides. Just because it's called 'natural', many people mistakenly believe it's non-toxic. The problem is the word 'natural', yet it must be used to describe and differentiate.

Take nicotine, for another example. It's a natural extract of the tobacco plant. In pure form, it's highly toxic to mammals. Yet, it's used to control insects near plant harvest time. The warm weather increases its effectiveness, yet it quickly degrades. Nicotine with cigarettes is a well-known, proven cause of lung disease. It's sold as a liquid concentrate for use against insect pests on vegetables and fruit.

Still another problem with natural insecticides is that for many of them to be effective, they must be sued more often than poisons. The best bet is to combine insect control techniques so that insecticides of any kind are only needed sparingly.

Just because an insecticide is safe for your plant doesn't mean it's safe for you or your animals. Some people have used pepper derivatives to fight against ants. If you've ever cleaned hot peppers with your bare fingers, then touched your eyes without thinking, you know just how painful the pepper residue can be. In strong concentrations, they can cause blisters to sensitive areas, cuts, or in the eyes or mouth. It would cause a big problem if you forgot to wash your hands and got the juice on your baby's bottle nipple or in their eyes.

Rain or automatic sprinklers can dilute the effectiveness of natural insecticides. The problem lies in having to reapply them before you are ready. If you don't have enough on hand, it will take longer for them to help you control the insects.

Many problems can be eliminated simply by taking the time to understand exactly what you're dealing with. The insecticide can work for you or against you. What good are natural insecticides if you fail to use them properly? Taking a chance can be hazardous for you, your animals, your children, other insects, birds, and your plants. As the football coaches say, "The best defence is a good offence."

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