Think Again Before Using Pesticides

What’s the Problem with Pesticides?

 There’s a huge green caterpillar in the herb garden. What’s that on several branches of the River Birch?  The Nine Bark has fuzzy white stuff on the leaves, AGAIN!  Quick, run to the garden center or big box store and buy some pesticide to spray or dust on all these “PROBLEMS”……… Wait a minute; Take a deep breath and Think, Reflect, and Research these problems thoroughly before jumping into any willy-nilly solution.  Whether they are meant to kill plants (herbicide), insects (insecticide), fungus (fungicide), or rodents (rodenticide,) pesticides are poisons.  But these poisons are also very harmful to us, our families, pets, our soil, and our ground water.  The wind carries these pesticide chemicals to neighboring plants, onto the good insects, and to the birds who eat the insects.  The rain carries these poisons into our soils, ground water, and rain-runoff into our streams.  Now we are also impacting the fish, frogs, and other water creatures.

But aren’t these products safe?  We are lead to believe that they are. Now, however, we know that not only is DDT harmful to our environment, the EPA has just released a bulletin that Glyphosate (Roundup) is a carcinogen. Roundup’s stronger replacement, 2,4.D is also a carcinogen. These replacements to DDT are even more toxic and harmful to us all.  There are statistics that show home gardeners apply more pesticides in their gardens and on their lawns at greater concentrations and frequency than approved for agricultural pesticide use. All of these poisons stay on the produce that we eat, even the pesticides approved for organic gardening.

Are all these pesticides really necessary?  Can we find alternative solutions for our gardens?  Most importantly, what about MY garden problems?  Are there alternatives to using pesticides for these issues?  The few branches of the River Birch are easily pruned and the offending Promethean moth caterpillars are placed in a black bag and left in the sun to die.  The Nine Bark leaves are also pruned and are properly disposed. A little research shows that the plant actually needs more frequent watering so the shrub will be more resilient when it is less stressed. Another look through my caterpillar book shows that the big green caterpillar in the herb garden will become a Black Swallowtail.  She can stay and eat all she wants.

At WMMGA, one of our purposes is Public Education. We think that Education on the Use of Pesticides is vitally important for gardeners to know.  We are dedicating our website in February and March to Think Again Before Using Pesticides.  We have three feature articles for you:  the revised WMMGA Pesticide Policy; Integrated Pest Management which describe Cultural, Physical, and Biological Alternatives to Pesticides in your garden; and How to Read a Pesticide Label. This article describes how to select the proper chemical to use and to minimize the damage to yourself and our environment, when YOU DO MAKE THE CHOICE TO USE A PESTICIDE.

Our Book Reviews start with the Good Bug Bad Bug and how to manage insects organically in your garden; Peterson First Guides for Caterpillars for identification of some of the critters in our gardens. We are also linking two Book Reviews from last year:  The Practical Encyclopedia of Garden Pests and Diseases with Alternatives to Pesticides; and Coffee for Roses, a look at some homegrown remedies to pest problems.

We hope that we have piqued your curiosity about Pesticides, and that you will research and investigate this topic.  We are living in this fantastic world together, let’s work together to keep it safe and fantastic for us all.

Click each of these links to our Feature Articles

WMMGA Pesticide Policy            Integrated Pest Management          Read the Label

Click each of these links to our Book Reviews

Good Bug Bad Bug       Peterson First Guide to Caterpillars      Pests and Diseases        Coffee for Roses








Click Here to access our Previous Feature Articles