Chemicals Other Than Pesticides Which Can Be Used for the Same Ends

Sprays

  • Horticultural sprays are oils combined with emulsifying agents and water. They are generally petroleum based, though vegetable-based sprays do exist. They generally have no effect on weeds.
  • There are two main types, “dormant oils” which can be used during the winter and early spring and “summer or foliar oils” which can be used during the rest of the year. They can be used to defeat  whole host of pests, including mites, whiteflies, aphids and more.
  • Though they are quite damaging to insects, horticultural sprays (especially those which are vegetable-based, with petroleum-based sprays sometimes leading to skin or eye irritation) generally do not hurt humans. They quickly dissipate, evaporated away leaving almost no trace of their resistance. As such, it is extremely difficult for insects to build a tolerance to them.
  • They can hurt plants as well as insects from time to time. Certain plants will be completely fine, but others might be negatively effected. It’s always good to do your research beforehand to ensure that your plants are in no danger.

Soaps

  • Insecticidal soaps are composed of the sodium found in fatty acids. Some of these acids are useless for such applications, but some contain elements which make them a fantastic tool against insects. The most commonly utilized is oleic acid. No additional insecticide is added to these soaps. Their insect-fighting power is all natural.
  • They are best used against insects like mites, aphids, caterpillars and whiteflies. Those with stronger exoskeletons (beetles, ants and grasshoppers for example) will be much more resistant. The soap is only effective if it is allowed to touch the insect’s skin.
  • While most plants will be fine, the soap may burn some types. It is also only effective when wet. It degrades quickly, which is good in that it will leave no pollution behind, but bad in that you’ll have a fairly short window of time in which it will be effective.

Pest-Fighting Organisms

  • One way to remove pests from your garden is to add enemies of those pests into the ecosystem. Add enough and the offending agent should be diminished significantly.
  • For less impact, you can use microbial pesticides, one-celled organisms which can be used to kill certain types of bugs. These organisms will have less impact upon their environment.
  • No matter what you introduce to your environment, be very careful in doing so. Sometimes adding a new element to a present environment can throw it out of whack and case problems to develop. Do your research and act with care.

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