Monday, April 30, 2012

Hidden dangers of homemade pesticides

hornworms In an effort to eliminate chemicals around our yard, my husband and I have often made home-made products to control pests and weeds. We know that harsh, unnecessary chemicals can harm organisms on our own property, but can also get washed into local waterways where they can cause fish kills and other water pollution dangers.

I have to admit that the primary reason we have done this is for convenience and to save money. When we see some unwanted pests around the yard, it certainly seems easier to just run inside and mix up a concoction of our own to try to tackle the problem.

But when I recently wrote a post about ways to keep wandering cats from digging in gardens, long time reader Alison Gillespie (author of the great blog Where you are Planted ) pointed out the danger of using mothballs to repel animals. This, in turn, made me think about the potential dangers of all homemade landscape products.

So before mixing up any do-it-yourself pesticide or weed killing products, here are some things to keep in mind:

1. ANYTHING you add to the ground has the potential of upsetting the natural eco-system and possibly killing good organisms along with the pests.
2. Homemade pesticides do not have the benefit of scientific evaluation and do not have label directions that the user can follow to ensure safe use or the desired pest control result.
3. Homemade pesticides may burn or damage plants.
4. While some homemade pesticides (such as soap and water) pose little risk, combining them with other ingredients may be harmful.
5. Often, home garden remedies are mixed in bottles and cans used for food. This is a very dangerous practice, especially with the presence of small children.
6. Other possible risks associated with the preparation and use of homemade pesticides include: inhaling harmful fumes, irritating eyes and skin, and contaminating clothing.
7. Homemade pesticides should be used immediately. Do not store.
8. Do not leave homemade pesticides unattended or spray them near children, pets, and other family members.
9. Purchasing organic pesticides from reputable companies rather than making your own helps to support businesses working towards a green future.
10. Just because something comes from a plant doesn’t mean it is safe.
     a. Nicotine – Nicotine is a potent pesticide that acts on the insect nervous system. Nicotine is also highly toxic to humans, dogs, cats and other mammals. According to oral toxicity trials, nicotine is more toxic to mammals than some commonly used synthetic pesticides such as malathion (Source)
     b. Rhubarb – Oxalic acid may be extracted from rhubarb leaves and is often recommended for aphid control. However, oxalic acid has been associated with deaths of goats, swine and humans through ingestion of high quantities of rhubarb leaves (source)
    c. Chrysanthemums – Pyrethrum can be extracted from chrysanthemum flowers and is one of the most commonly used insecticides in the United States. Although Pyrethrums have low toxicity towards humans and other mammals , thousands of reports of mild symptoms of pyrethrum poisoning are reported annually across the United States.

For more information:
Organic Pest Control : What Works, What Doesn’t
Organic Pest Control Methods Explained

Homemade pesticides are dangerous

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Website by Water Words That Work LLC