different types of poisons for pests control
Pests pose a constant threat to our homes, gardens, and food supply. Managing them responsibly means using deterrents that are effective but safe. While toxic pesticides may seem an easy solution, many can have harmful unintended consequences. However, certain natural toxins can selectively target pests without persistent chemicals or environmental impact. This article delves into useful toxins as well as dangerous ones to avoid, in order to safely and effectively control pests.
Selective Natural Toxins poisons for pests control
1. Pyrethrins – Derived from chrysanthemum flowers, pyrethrins are one of the oldest botanical insecticides. They work by targeting an insect’s nervous system on contact. Pyrethrins are effective against soft-bodied pests like aphids, caterpillars, mosquitoes, and flies. As botanicals, they break down quickly in sunlight and do not leave toxic chemical residues. Pyrethrins make ideal knockout punches to immediately reduce large pest populations. However, they require frequent reapplication to maintain control. With judicious use, pyrethrins can be safe pest deterrents, even for organic gardening.
2. Neem oil – Pressed from neem tree seeds, neem oil contains azadirachtin, which throws off insect growth and metabolism. Most soft-bodied pests like spider mites, aphids, cabbage worms, termites, and beetles are susceptible. Neem oil must be ingested to work, so it’s ideal for preventing young larvae from maturing and reproducing. It does not kill mature insects immediately but reduces their ability to feed, mate, and lay viable eggs. Neem oil can be used as a repellent foliar spray on plants or diluted in water for soil drenching. With low toxicity to mammals and birds, neem oil is a safe biological pest control.
3. Diatomaceous earth – Diatomaceous earth consists of microscopic skeletal remains of ancient marine microorganisms called diatoms. The sharp silica edges cut into soft-bodied insects like fleas, ants, cockroaches, and bed bugs. By absorbing lipids in the insect cuticle, diatomaceous earth causes dehydration and death within 48 hours of contact. It provides long-term pest control when dusted into wall voids, cracks and crevices where pests hide. Though non-toxic to humans and pets, inhalation can irritate lungs. Proper application and breathing protection is advised.
4. Kaolin clay – Kaolin clay applied to plant foliage forms a physical barrier that deters feeding insects. The fine clay particles also irritate and dehydrate soft-bodied pests like aphids, psyllids, leafhoppers, and beetles. By deterring pests from infesting crops, kaolin clay provides a safe alternative to chemical pesticide sprays. It can be used preventatively or washed off plants that are already infested. Kaolin clay particles create a hostile environment while being harmless to larger mammals. With proper application, it’s a low-risk biological insecticide.
5. Horticultural oils – Derived from petroleum or plants, these oil sprays coat soft-bodied insects and suffocate them. Oils disrupt insect respiration and cell membrane function while being safe for humans, pets, birds, and plants. Effective against aphids, mites, leafhoppers, mealybugs, scale, and whitefly, horticultural oils kill only sprayed insects and do not persist. They are ideal resistance breakers to rotate with other organic pest deterrents. With proper dilution and spraying technique, horticultural oils are valuable selective toxins in an integrated pest management program.
Avoidance of Harmful poisons for pests control
1. Organophosphates – This common class of agricultural insecticides works by disrupting nerve function. However, organophosphates like malathion, diazinon, and chlorpyrifos inhibit cholinesterase enzymes in humans as well. Even at low exposure levels, they raise risks of neurological damage, breathing issues, birth defects, and cancer. Use of organophosphates has been restricted but some still contaminate conventionally grown produce. Consuming organic foods helps avoid exposure.
2. Carbamate insecticides – Carbamates like carbaryl and aldicarb also disable nervous systems in targeted pests. But they can be poisonous to beneficial insect pollinators and have been linked to human ailments from nausea to neurological problems. Carbamates have been phased out in many countries. But USDA still allows carbaryl, raising pesticide exposure risks for farmworkers and consumers.
3. Neonicotinoids – Systemic insecticides like imidacloprid leach into pollen and nectar, harming bees, butterflies, and other pollinators essential for food crop production. The EU has banned outdoor uses of several neonicotinoids. Some U.S. companies have also voluntarily stopped using these nicotine-based chemicals. Consumers should beware of unlabeled nursery plants pre-treated with neonicotinoids.
4. Rodenticides – Anticoagulant rodenticides prevent blood clotting in rats and mice but also kill predatory birds like owls and hawks that eat poisoned rodents. Newer variations are lethal after one feeding instead of requiring multiple doses. But death can still take days, allowing easy transmission throughout the food chain. Safer trapping and exclusion methods should be prioritized over these persistent toxins. Banning outdoor use has been proposed after poisonings of household pets and endangered wildlife.
5. Glyphosate herbicides – Glyphosate products like Roundup have long been promoted as low toxicity pest control. However, glyphosate residue in foods has been linked to liver disease, reproductive issues, and cancer in recent studies. Glyphosate also negatively impacts soil health and beneficial gut bacteria in animals and humans. Many countries have initiated bans or partial phase-outs. Consumers can reduce exposure by choosing certified organic foods whenever possible.
In summary, certain plant-based and mineral toxins can play a selective role in pest management without leaving persistent chemical traces. But many manmade pesticides have proven environmentally destructive and pose health hazards to humans and animals. Wise pest control minimizes reliance on any toxins through prevention, exclusion, traps, and biological controls. When additional deterrents are needed, natural substances applied conservatively provide targeted effects without contamination. Ultimately, nurturing biodiversity above all creates a healthy, self-regulating environment that is naturally resilient to pests
read our article about How Pests Affect Your Health too.