How To Control Pests – Part IV

This post is the fourth in a series of posts on the control of pests.

When it comes to pests, the last question you should ask yourself is, “Are insecticides the best overall management tactic?”

Insecticides have strong and sometimes dangerous chemicals in them. After all they are designed to kill. Some of these chemicals not only kill insects but are toxic to humans and animals. Some of the chemicals get into our skin, nose and mouth. Some of those chemicals get into the soil and water and last for generations if not hundreds of years.

Just because the insecticides are sold in stores or allowed to be manufactured and sold by the government does not always mean that they are safe. Some of the newest research comes out showing the dangers of some chemicals. When enough research is done that shows that the chemicals are dangerous to humans, the government will ban them. But until there is a large enough body of research evidence, the chemical companies would never allow their products to be banned. So with insecticides as with everything else people buy, one should follow that old Latin saying “caveat emptor” which means “Let the buyer beware.”

When I was a child the insecticide that the government allowed used by everyone was DDT. In fact it was promoted as being a safe chemical. So everyone used it. It wasn’t until a lady by the name of Rachel Carson wrote a book called “Silent Spring” that caused society to examine the use of DDT. This book showed the harm to nature and humans caused by DDT. .Read a review of her book here.

It is not just synthetic insecticides that can cause problems to humans or beneficial insects. Even natural insecticides may cause health problem. One insecticide that sounds like it might be safe is made from the chrysanthemum flower.  Asians and other peoples eat different parts of the chrysanthemum – so one would think that if it is edible, it should or would be safe. Yet the insecticide made from pyrethrm is toxic to some humans. Want to know more about pyrethrum’s toxicity read this.

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