What pest control methods are better for the environment than chemical methods?

Biological control involves using another living organism to kill a pest. No chemicals needed, no environmental pollution with pesticides, and pests do not become resistant to the control method. Biological control methods use living organisms such as natural predators, parasites and pathogens to control pest populations in garden plants. They include beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and parasitic wasps, which feed on harmful insects but leave plants intact.

Many beneficial insects are commercially available and can quickly reduce pests to manageable levels. Biological pesticides are based on natural organisms that are toxic to certain insects. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), for example, is a bacterium that kills caterpillars and other larvae after they feed on the leaves of treated plants. Planting certain plants to attract and retain beneficial insects also helps control harmful insects.

It is essential to consider the toxicity of any substance rather than considering whether it is organic or not. Organic methods are safe, effective and less harmful to the environment than artificial controls. They work equally effectively against harmless and dangerous pests. This method of pest control costs less.

Organic Pest Controls Are Non-Toxic or Less Toxic. Organic pest control methods are generally less harmful to the environment and less toxic to insects, mammals, and non-target aquatic life. Unfortunately, in our time-starved world, many people simply want the most powerful single-app product regardless of the consequences. Over the years, additional natural enemies have been added to control other pests, such as thrips, leaf miners, aphids, caterpillars, and additional whitefly species, as needed.

Under certain environmental conditions, diseases can multiply and spread naturally through an insect population, especially when insect density is high. Organic pest control options sometimes contain substances such as zinc and sulfur that can hold water bodies. However, costs are generally lower over time because the underlying cause of the pest problem has been addressed. Biological controls may take longer to deliver the desired results, but the benefits can last well beyond your initial investment.

IPM programs use the most effective and lowest risk options considering risks to the applicator, building occupants and the environment. This biological control agent relies on rain at the appropriate times during the season to be successful. With IPM, you take steps to prevent pests from becoming a problem, such as growing a healthy crop that can withstand pest attacks, using disease-resistant plants, or caulking cracks to prevent insects or rodents from entering a building. These soaps use the salts and fatty acids they contain to attack many soft-bodied pests, including aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs, earwigs, thrips, and the early stages of scale.

The effectiveness of limiting treated areas may depend on the mobility of the natural enemy and the pest. Insects that were once of little economic importance often become harmful pests when they break free from the control of their natural enemies. However, many IPM programs have not been able to go beyond the first stage of developing sampling methods and economic thresholds for pesticide application. The first step to controlling pests, even before applying the most benign treatment, is to create the most welcoming growing environment for your plants.

One of many examples of pests controlled by the successful introduction of new natural enemies is the alfalfa weevil. Although it breaks down quickly, you should spray Neem only when needed, and only on plants known to be affected by the pest you're targeting. .

Blanche Hochstine
Blanche Hochstine

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