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Organic pesticides are products developed from plants and minerals and used to kill or control insects. Natural pesticides have been used for hundreds of years to control pests in and around homes. A product labeled “organic” or “natural” does not mean that it is not hazardous, however. Some organic pesticides can be more toxic than synthetic products. All pesticides, no matter how it is labeled, should be handled with caution and used as recommended on the label.
Most organic pesticides are registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and can be used with other natural substances or with synthetic substances to control a specific insect. You should never mix natural substances together, however, because you could produce a mixture that could prove hazardous to humans and mammals, pollute water, kill fish and birds, or kill good insects along with the pests. Manufactures of pesticides, however, produce useful products using natural substances, such as Pyrethrum, Rotenone, Ryania, and other minerals to target specific pests. Here are some of the natural insecticides used in pest products today:
Pyrethrum is derived from chrysanthemums and has a long safety record as an insecticide. Despite its long record of use, insects have not developed a resistance. For manuals, it has a low toxicity because the chemical can be metabolized; however, it is highly toxic to fish and aquatic wildlife. Pyrethrum will breakdown in sunlight, moisture, soil, water, and oxygen which makes it biodegradable. Its biodegradable quality makes it a short-lived pesticide, especially for outdoor use. Although it is not highly toxic in humans, if inhaled, it can cause coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath and if it comes in direct contact with the skin it can cause itching and a rash. Pyrethrum is often used to control fleas and has shown to repel mosquitoes.
Ryandoine or Ryania
Ryania is a botanical insecticide made from the ground stems of Ryania Speciosa. It has a low toxicity to mammals and is moderately toxic to birds, fish, and wildfowl such as ducks and geese. Ryania is effective against codling moths, corn earworms, gypsy moths, fruit moths, and houseflies.
Rotenone is produced from roots, seeds, and leaves of tropical plants. It is a contact insecticide that is moderately toxic to humans and mammals, but highly toxic to birds and fish. Rotenone will breakdown when exposed to sunlight, making it a short-lived product for outdoor use. Rotenone is used on food crops, in home gardens, and is used in products that control mites, ticks, spiders, fruit worms, and beetles.
Diatomaceous earth is a mineral crystal that can cut through the skin of a soft-bodied slug, aphid, thrip, or root maggot, and their eggs causing them to die by dehydration. It is nontoxic and is a contact insecticide.
Derived from the seeds of the sabadilla lily, Sabadilla is a botanical insecticide that breaks down quickly in sunlight and has a low toxicity to humans and mammals. However, it can be irritating if inhaled and can cause sneezing. It is often used in vegetable gardens to control caterpillars, leaf hoppers, stink bugs, and squash bugs.
Sulfur is a mineral used effectively against spider mites, psyllids, and thrips in vegetable gardens and on fruit trees. It is nontoxic to mammals but it can irritate the skin and eyes. It can also damage plants if used with other pesticides or used in high temperatures of 90 degree or more.
When using a pesticide, organic or not, you should read the label to see if it targets the specific pest you want to control. Also, read the label concerning potential health hazards to you, your family, pets, and the environment. Remember, natural or organic does not necessary mean that it is completely safe to use.
To visit our organic catalog, please visit http://www.pestproductsonline.com/st_organic_category.htm.
About the Author: Dennise Brogdon is the managing editor of the Hughston Health Alert, a quarterly, patient-information newsletter, and she is an editorial assistant for the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s scientific journal, the Journal of Athletic Training. Dennise is a Web site copywriter and editor. She has experience writing and editing SEO copy and META tags, brochures, advertorials, video scripts, and other technical and promotional material, as well. Dennise earned a BA in English with professional writing as an emphasis at Columbus State University. She is a member of the American Medical Writers Association and the Georgia Writers Association.