Garden Pest Control – Organic Pesticides, Commercial

If your homemade sprays have proven ineffective, the next step is to bring out the big guns, or in this case, the commercial organic pesticides. Chemicals are chemicals, so what is the difference between organic (natural) pesticides and non-organic (synthetic) pesticides? While both are indeed chemicals, the organic chemicals are made from natural mineral or plant substances, and most are quickly broken down and do not harm the environment over the long-term like the synthetic varieties do.

As with any chemicals, take commonsense precautions when applying them to your garden. Apply on a calm day with little to no breeze if possible. Protect your hands and face with gloves, goggles, and a mask if recommended. Follow the directions on the bottle.

Bt (Bacillus Thuringiensis) – a natural bacteria that will infect and kill caterpillars and other larvae that feed on cabbage, tomatoes, and leaves. It needs to be applied when the caterpillars are actually feeding (when you either see them in action or evidence of them – which would be lots of holes in your plants), and is only effective for 48 hours after application. Stand upwind when dusting or spraying, as it can cause a severe allergic reaction if inhaled. Click the Amazon.Com link below to purchase a 16 oz. bottle of Bt:

DE (Diatomaceous Earth) – powdered algae fossils that can either be dusted over plants or mixed with water to be sprayed on and left to dry. It dehydrates soft-bodied bugs (which is why it is also an effective alternative to flea powder for household pets) and will need to be reapplied any time after it rains or you water your garden by sprinkler. It only works when it is dry. Make sure you use the natural DE, not the stuff that’s used in pools. Stand upwind when applying; wearing protective goggles and a mask is recommended in order to protect your eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs. Click the Amazon.Com link below to purchase an organic gardening-compliant bag of DE:

Neem – made from the oil from the seeds of the neem tree, it repels the adult and kills the juvenile forms of a large number of garden pests. Like the homemade hot chile pepper spray, it can irritate your eyes, lungs, and skin, so stand upwind when you spray it. It will need to be reapplied every week to a week-and-a-half to combat pest larvae. Click the Amazon.Com link below to order a quart of Neem oil:

Pyrethrum – a product of the pyrethrum daisy, this is another broad-spectrum pesticide that is quickly broken down and will need to be reapplied every 3-4 days as long as needed to get rid of the pests. You have to spray it directly on the pests themselves in order to kill them, otherwise it may only render them unconscious for awhile. Read the label carefully – pyrethrins are the natural compounds, whereas pyrethroids are synthetic. Stick with the natural! To order pyrethrin concentrate from Amazon.Com, click on the link below:

Rotenone – this is some nasty stuff that you really don’t want to use unless you have an out-of-control infestation. Your last stand, so to speak. The chemical is found in the roots and stems of several South American plants and has been used to kill off unwanted species of fish, so if you live where the runoff from your yard could lead to any body of water, don’t use it. Don’t inhale it. To order rotenone dust from Amazon.Com, click on the link below:

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