What Is Natural Insecticide? Organic gardening appeals to some people because it sounds important. It makes gardening sound exotic, like it's on some higher level. Organic gardening is accomplished by avoiding the use of laboratory-made fertilizers, growth substances, antibiotics, or pesticides. This means using nature's tools to grow your plants, fruits, and vegetables. It's a way of being kinder to the earth. Using natural insecticides is a part of that process and has grown in popularity. If done properly, it costs less. You can use nature to your advantage if you understand and take the time to make it work for you. If you learn to grown or produce your own insecticides, you're also aiding the eco-system by not putting man-made lethal concoctions into the dirt and air. You can help reduce the negative effect on the ozone layer by doing your part to help nature. Botanical is of plants. Plants are natural. So, botanical insecticides are naturally created from plants and plant parts. One such insecticide is sabadilla. It's gotten from the seeds of a plant similar to a lily and used in dust or spray form before harvest. It poisons insects when it touches them or gets inside their bodies. Natural insecticides must still be used with caution. They're not without side effects or problems. You must learn how to use them properly so that they're a benefit and not a hindrance. Washing your fruits and vegetables is still recommended before eating them or using them in cooking if you use natural insecticides. A misconception about insecticides of any kind can be that if you use a stronger concentration and/or more of it, the benefits will come quicker and will last longer. But this is an unhealthy attitude in many cases. If a technique or product isn't working, make a change only by being aware of the effects. What you need may simply be a different product or an extra helper to go along with it. Questions you need to ask about natural insecticides besides 'what are they' are: 1. Do they react to any other substances in a negative way? 2. What are the side-effects? 3. What harm can they do to me or my children? 4. What harm can they do to my pets or other plants? 5. What are the side effects if any is ingested accidentally? 6. What is the most effective form of use (dust, spray, etc.)? 7. How often should it be applied? 8. What does it cost? 9. Where do I get it? 10. How do I store any leftovers and for how long? 11. Can I make this insecticide safely myself? Some of the natural insecticides that are well-known are pyrethrum, nicotine, sabadilla, rotenone, and soap. Cornmeal and some hot peppers can also be effective against insect pests. It's still best to try to catch any gardening or crop pests in the early stages than to load up on insecticide of any kind. The best control can be awareness and early removal. Why Use Natural Insecticide? Some say that a natural insecticide cannot, by its nature, be as effective as a synthetic one. Chemical insecticides are used often by large farms. It may seem that the time for the use of natural insecticide is past, yet they are still in use. So, why use a natural insecticide? First, there is an abundance of plants that can be used for their natural insecticide properties. Over 1500 are presently being used for control of pests. This provides a variety of methods to get rid of unwanted insects. There are many factors that will determine which kind of natural insecticide you will use. Some are more inexpensive. Some are more easily obtained than others. Some are safer to humans and pets. If you decide to use a natural insecticide, you will have many choices. Most types of natural insecticide are biodegradable. This means that when the substance has served its purpose, it doesn't stick around to cause damage to the environment. It is washed away with the rain. It degrades and becomes a part of the soil with no harmful residue. A natural insecticide is often used when there is concern about a synthetic insecticide that is sold commercially. A synthetic insecticide can contain poisons and toxins that are not found in a natural insecticide. These can be harmful to living things other than the insects they were intended for. Synthetic chemical insecticides often contain ingredients that kill beneficial insects. These insects may be bees that pollinate fruits and vegetables. They may be ladybugs or butterflies, which are also helpful to have in a garden. A natural insecticide will probably leave beneficial insects safe. One downside of using a natural insecticide is cost. Many that are sold in garden centers are more expensive than their synthetic counterparts. If you can, you may be willing to pay the extra cost. Yet, if you can't afford a natural insecticide that is sold in a store, you have the option of making your own. The use of synthetic chemical insecticides has long been associated with a variety of chronic health conditions. The advantage of using a natural insecticide is that these conditions rarely occur with their use. When you use a natural insecticide, you can be sure that your produce will be safe to eat. All you need to do is to make sure that you follow instructions. Find out how long to wait after application of the natural insecticide to harvest. One advantage of a natural insecticide is that they don't use fossil fuels. Many of the chemical varieties do. Also, if you use a natural insecticide that is locally available, you will save on transportation costs. There are countless recipes for people to use to make natural insecticide on their own. You can look on the internet, or in your local library or bookstore for the recipes. These allow you to make inexpensive yet effective natural insecticide for your own use. If you're looking for a reason to use a natural insecticide, you will find several. Safety of plants and animals, environmental protection, and ease of use are only a few. A natural insecticide is truly a viable alternative to chemicals. Benefits of Natural Insecticides Many insect fighting chemicals on the market are the same basic ingredients with just enough variation to allow a different brand name. It's similar to buying ibuprofen. You can buy many different versions and strengths of it, but it all boils down to the same basic ingredient. Watered down versions can cause a problem as well as a waste of money. People are usually either for or against the use of natural insecticides. Whether or not your particular choice is a benefit depends on the circumstances. How advanced is the insect infestation? What are you allergic to? What will harm your plants? What will be safe to use around your pets or livestock? What is available and accessible to you and how fast can you get it when you need it? Do you need to use more than one method of control and removal? What is cost effective? To get the most benefit from natural insecticides, you'll need to understand the best way to use them. You should know what works best for the type of insect you're trying to control or eradicate. Be careful what you mix. Even natural insecticides can interact badly with the wrong combination of substances. One of the biggest benefits of a natural insecticide is that it comes from nature in some form. You'll be using something made from the earth. That doesn't mean it's problem-free. It just means you're benefiting the environment and actively participating in the recycling efforts. An example is liquid garlic. Garlic is a natural plant that is grown around the world. It can be used to keep insects off garden or farm plants. Another example is boric acid. Boric acid is defined as a white crystalline weak acid that contains boron. Boron is a mineral substance, and minerals are of the earth. If you use things made with what the earth provides, you benefit and so does the earth and other humans and life-forms. Using natural insecticide is a choice. It's not always the quickest way to solve your insect problem. It's not always less harmful. That's why education on your choices will be a big benefit! Our beloved earth suffers a lot of abuse, often by well-meaning inhabitants. As the earth suffers, so does its creatures and plant life. If you take away, you should give back in a positive way. Using natural insecticides is one way to participate in a positive way. Natural insecticides have increased in sales over the past few years and so have the vegetables and fruits made insect-free because of their use. When the mosquitoes scared us with the West Nile Virus, the citronella plant and its derivatives and products made with citronella increased dramatically in sales. Natural insecticides have always been around, but people had to wise up about their use and effectiveness. Some people just don't have the patience to use them or don't want to take the time to learn. Just like anything else, you don't know if you will like them until you try them. Wise Use of Natural Insecticides The word natural sounds safe and welcoming. It indicates that something is safe because it comes from nature. People trust nature. But anything used in excess can become a negative thing. Anything used in the wrong way or in the wrong combination can become harmful. So it is with natural insecticides. Wise use means using responsibly. Wise use means you know how the product can be harmful so that you make no mistakes with it. Natural insecticides have become more popular as the concern about the earth's safety and preservation has become more popular. But natural insecticides can still be damaging to pets, to plants, and to people if used improperly. You have to know the proper application, how much to use at a time (more is not always best), and what precautions to take while you are using the insecticide. If you plan your garden wisely, there are plants that repel insects and good insects that can safely dispose of the not so good ones. Many people think wasps are bad. They can be if someone is allergic to them and gets stung. They can be if a mischievous child irritates them just to see how angry they can get. But wasps are also good for our environment. They are not just insects that can harm; they are a positive force as biological control for our agricultural crops. They help keep caterpillars under control. If you wonder why this is helpful, ask the farmer or gardener whose crops are ruined by the caterpillars. If the crops suffer, we suffer as prices rise because of the damage that is done to reduce availability. Developing a pest management program is wiser than over-use of pesticides, whether they are natural or not. If you must use a pesticide because of the location of the wasps or because they have become out-of-control around your home or property, at least wise up about the best way to do so. There are natural insecticides that are so toxic that we must cover our faces to avoid ingestion while using them. One such product is the dust of diatomaceous earth. Even though it is a form of calcium, and calcium is a useful mineral, we must take care when applying it for insect control. The minute particles are not good for our lungs. Any dust that is inhaled excessively can be harmful. Rotenone is a botanical insecticide extracted from the roots of certain plants in Asia and South America. If you use this substance unwisely, you can damage your fish and beneficial insects. It causes stomach poison in insects, acts slowly, and loses effectiveness a week after being used on the plants. But if you inhale unsafe amounts of this insecticide, you could be sick longer than a week. Wise use of it can control aphids, some beetles, fleas, lice, and some caterpillars. So, if you don't want to hurt your butterfly population, you may want to choose another type of insect control. Of course, some natural insecticides are more harmful than others. Just remember to always wash your hands, cover your nose and mouth, avoid using them on windy days, and be careful with them around small children and animals. The Problem with Natural Insecticide There's an unfortunate belief that anything natural must be good for you. Being "good for you" is interpreted as being safe. So, one problem with natural insecticide is that not enough precaution is taken around small children and pets. Other insects that are helpful in the area can be harmed by the use of insecticides, whether they are natural or not. Even if you only spray the pests, the residue or fumes can cause harm. The consumption of the insects that were pests can be bad for the ones that aren't. People use more natural products with false security. There are many natural products that can cause problems if they are used improperly, to excess, or when mixed with other things. Take medicines, for example. Herbal medicines are created from natural plant sources. They can be dangerous and will do more harm than good if used carelessly or without proper knowledge of the effects of the herb and the correct dosages. So it is with natural insecticides. Just because it's called 'natural', many people mistakenly believe it's non-toxic. The problem is the word 'natural', yet it must be used to describe and differentiate. Take nicotine, for another example. It's a natural extract of the tobacco plant. In pure form, it's highly toxic to mammals. Yet, it's used to control insects near plant harvest time. The warm weather increases its effectiveness, yet it quickly degrades. Nicotine with cigarettes is a well-known, proven cause of lung disease. It's sold as a liquid concentrate for use against insect pests on vegetables and fruit. Still another problem with natural insecticides is that for many of them to be effective, they must be sued more often than poisons. The best bet is to combine insect control techniques so that insecticides of any kind are only needed sparingly. Just because an insecticide is safe for your plant doesn't mean it's safe for you or your animals. Some people have used pepper derivatives to fight against ants. If you've ever cleaned hot peppers with your bare fingers, then touched your eyes without thinking, you know just how painful the pepper residue can be. In strong concentrations, they can cause blisters to sensitive areas, cuts, or in the eyes or mouth. It would cause a big problem if you forgot to wash your hands and got the juice on your baby's bottle nipple or in their eyes. Rain or automatic sprinklers can dilute the effectiveness of natural insecticides. The problem lies in having to reapply them before you are ready. If you don't have enough on hand, it will take longer for them to help you control the insects. Many problems can be eliminated simply by taking the time to understand exactly what you're dealing with. The insecticide can work for you or against you. What good are natural insecticides if you fail to use them properly? Taking a chance can be hazardous for you, your animals, your children, other insects, birds, and your plants. As the football coaches say, "The best defense is a good offense." Problems with Natural Insecticide - 2 Natural insecticide has long been lauded by environmental groups as a safe alternative to synthetics. They kill a variety of pests found in gardens, yards, and homes. However, there are problems with natural insecticide. Although natural insecticide has been around longer, there is less information on the efficacy of it as opposed to synthetic insecticide. The most information of all of them can be found on Bt and on oils. One problem with Bt is that it is only effective against a limited variety of insects. It makes a good natural insecticide for crops such as corn, but for some other crops, it is useless. Another problem with Bt is that insects become resistant to it over time. Although a natural insecticide can be effective, it does not have the killing power of a synthetic chemical. Some would say that this is good. The beneficial insects are not harmed and humans and pets are not in danger. The problem is that a natural insecticide is also less effective against unwanted insects. A natural insecticide will degrade much sooner than a synthetic chemical. Again, to some this is an advantage. It decreases the negative effects of the pesticide on the environment. However, it also means that the natural insecticide needs to be applied much more often. This leads to a greater quantity being used. Overall, it would be a much greater expense, and supplies might be limited. It might be difficult to switch to all natural insecticide. One reason is that right now, organic farming is aided by the lowered insect population in some areas. This is due to use of high-power synthetic insecticides. If natural insecticide were introduced to all these regions, the insects might multiply quickly all over the area. The natural insecticide might have a problem keeping up. Eventually, it could work out, as natural predator insects came back. However, right after the changeover, it would be bad. Expense is a limiting factor in the use of natural insecticide. Since a natural insecticide will generally cost more, many people will take the cheaper way out and buy a synthetic chemical. Some do this because they simply don't understand the difference. In many countries, farmers have no choice but to use the least expensive insecticides available. These are usually outdated chemicals that have been banned in all the developed countries. However, if these countries don't use them, they will likely have to go without insecticides completely. There crops will be damaged by harmful insects. The effects on the countries producing the natural insecticide would be difficult to manage. They would have to devote much of their agricultural resources to growing the plants used for such preparations. Poor people undoubtedly would be exploited in the harvesting of the crop. So, there are definitely problems with the widespread use of natural insecticide. There are problems with effectiveness. There are problems with making a switch to natural insecticide. Even the production of natural insecticide is a concern. If all these problems can be overcome, a safer food supply can come about. Things to Try Before Resorting to Natural Insecticide Some gardeners or crop growers tend to use natural insecticide or other pesticides as a matter of course. They don't even consider trying to grow crops without them. Others use any such product only after exhausting all other methods. There are things you can try before you commit yourself to using a natural insecticide. First of all, you might just try growing your crops without any preparation. One wine grower recently tried this. He decided to try it, but to have natural insecticide on hand should he need it. As he waited for his crop to come in he watched the crop. Surprisingly, the crops showed no more insect damage than usual. He never needed to put on the natural insecticide, or any other for that matter. What's more, he noticed that the numbers of beneficial insects were increasing. In fact, one way to save on natural insecticide is to bring in, or encourage the growth of, natural predators. These natural predators feed on the very insects you wish to destroy. They may be snakes, spiders, or other insects. If you can boost their population to an acceptable level, they will do their jobs without natural insecticide. An example of this happened in Africa in the 1970's when 80% of the cassava crop was being destroyed by the cassava mealy bug. They found its natural enemy, a tiny wasp. They let it loose in the region, and the threat of famine went away. A way to use the properties of natural insecticide without buying the products is to simply grow them. These are grown next to your other crops as companion crops. While they are actually a natural insecticide, they aren't one you buy or prepare as such. However, the close proximity of the natural insecticide plants lets their active ingredients protect your food crops. Several bugs can be eradicated mechanically or manually without the use of natural insecticide. For instance, you can trap wireworms by using a large can such as a tomato juice can. You poke holes in it and fill it with vegetable peelings. Put it in the border of you garden. After it's been set for a couple of days, you empty the trap and reset it. You can hand pick many different types of bugs off of plants. One such bug is the squash bug. This avoids using natural insecticide. All you have to do is drop the bugs into a pail of soapy water. Where you grow your plants makes a difference in whether you will need natural insecticide or not. If you put your plants up off the ground, they are less likely to get bugs on them. It is good to put them up on trellises if possible. There are a lot of other ways to keep from using natural insecticide on your crops and plants. The more natural you can make your garden the better, right? Besides, buying natural insecticide is often costly. However, if you find that you do need something extra, natural insecticide is the safest way to go. Using Soaps as a Natural Insecticide Soap sounds harmless enough. We wash our bodies with it, clean our vehicles with it, wash our dishes with it, and blow bubbles with it. But if our children drink it, it will make them sick. Toddlers have innocent, strange ideas of what might be tasty! Our toddlers aren't the only ones in our society that can become sick from soaps. Soaps of different sorts are used as insecticides. A commercially sold soap called Neem oil soap is an oily solution which can work as both a repellant and as a fungicide. It can interfere with the good health of delicate plants, weak plants, new transplants, and drought stressed plants. The oil draws the sun to the leaf surface and can harm blossoms. It doesn't work well with plants like the bleeding heart, gardenia, and lantana. So, be sure to test it on a small area and give it a full day to see if any wilting occurs before you apply it to larger areas. Some people control wasps by spraying them with a dishwashing liquid solution. But dishwashing soap solutions can harm some of your plants. Any detergents that contain ingredients to dissolve grease can hurt the outer protective layers of plants that need these protective layers for survival. Insecticidal soaps are not your everyday soaps found in the kitchen, laundry room, or bathroom. You wouldn't want to wash your baby with the same shampoo you use on your dog to control fleas. There are many different types of soaps that we use in our homes for daily use that can be used to control insects, though. Controlling and repelling are not necessarily the same as destroying. Soaps also work to kill insects by penetrating the outer covering to cause cell leakage and dehydration. If you need to protect your personal plants with your own homemade soap solutions, just make sure you know how to mix them properly and which plants won't tolerate them well. Also, learn which soaps to use. Palmolive, Joy, Dawn, Ivory, Dove, Tide, and Murphy's Oil Soap are some that are often used for insect control. Soaps lose their effectiveness once they're dry. Homemade recipes don't have instructions. You should research before making them and be leery of buying any from someone else. Automatic dishwashing detergents are not recommended. If someone has used the wrong soap, it could harm your plants. You also don't want to apply during the heat of the day or in sunlight since the use of soaps could burn your plants. It is possible to condition hard water to be able to mix it with insecticidal soaps. You may have to add a de-foaming agent as well. Soaps are safe for ladybugs and predaceous wasps. These are beneficial insects that help your garden and plants thrive. Not all types of the same insect are harmful to us. Predaceous wasps don't sting or bite. It's important to know which insects to keep and which to remove or destroy. How Natural Is Natural Insecticide? There have been many advances in the field of natural insecticide. Some would say that some of the advancements are not for the better. This is because the natural insecticide is not exactly in the state that nature gave it to us in. So, how natural is natural insecticide? Some of the people who grapple with this issue are those who seek to do their part in keeping the natural world in balance. They believe that the earth is an ecological system in which every living entity has a part to play. They have a strict idea of what natural insecticide is. They don't have faith in a system where, as they believe, the balance is upset by one species. They believe that man's emphasis on technological progress is damaging to the planet by its very nature. These people are extremely uncomfortable with biotechnology and its changing of natural insecticide. Then, there are those who don't agree that there is balance or harmony in nature. They see the world as a constantly changing system where new developments are always coming along. Advancements in natural insecticide are only one of them. Also, while the first group of people attributes good will to the "Mother Earth," the second group sees no morality to earth, good or bad. The people who see the world as ever-changing, the naturalists, are more likely to recognize the destructiveness of nature. They recognize that hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes, are devastating occurrences. Famine and disease can also be caused by nature. For this reason, naturalists see the world as something to be explored and understood. They may enjoy a beautiful waterfall, but they feel no reverence for it. They believe that a human being has intelligence in order to do a part in advancing the health of the planet. Part of this is in further development of natural insecticide. These naturalists, unlike those who believe in the Mother Nature idea, believe that biotechnology can produce products as natural as any other natural insecticide. They don't see the difference in using biotechnology for agriculture and using laboratory science to make pharmaceuticals, for instance. They see biotechnology for natural insecticide as a good thing. Naturalists are more likely to see the similarities between biotechnology and the cross-breeding of plants and animals that has been done for centuries. We have always used this method, if not this particular technique. Now it is being used with a natural insecticide. At issue are bioengineered crops such as Bt corn. Bacillus thurengiensis is a natural insecticide that has been used for many years. Now, it is being put into the genetic structure of corn. This makes the corn resistant to insects. However, many say that, now that the Bt is in the corn, it is no longer a natural insecticide. Those with a Gaia world view, that is those who believe in Mother Nature, are likely to believe this. The naturalists believe that Bt corn is a normal advancement. This argument carries over into all the biotechnological advancements in natural insecticide. The naturalists just believe they are using their God-given intelligence to make the world a better place. Those with a Gaia world view think they are over-stepping. How to Prepare Natural Insecticide If you want to get rid of pests in your garden or home, you can always get an insecticide at your local store. It may be a harsh chemical that you don't want in your home, though. You might prefer to use natural insecticide. If you do, you can prepare your own. If you get some boric acid powder, you can mix up all kinds of natural insecticide. For ants, you can put together a tablespoon of boric acid, a teaspoon of sugar, and some water. Put it on a cotton ball and set it out where ants go. Getting rid of ants will also decrease the possibility of having aphids. For roaches, it's simple. Just set out the powder where the roaches run. Boric acid can be mixed with a non-toxic version of anti-freeze called propylene glycol to kill termites. A natural insecticide can be made that is safe for use around children and pets just by using boric acid and household ingredients. You can mix the acid with water in a 10% solution for use on surfaces. You can make a natural insecticide for use on small pests that you get on plants. You can make a garlic spray. Take a good amount of garlic and chop it up finely. Add paraffin oil and soak it for a full day. Next, dissolve some soap in water and slowly add that. After you stir it up, strain it in cheese cloth. Only store it in a container that is made of glass. Your natural insecticide is ready to use. For aphids, you can make a natural insecticide that is a stinging nettle spray. Just take some nettles and soak them in water for about three weeks. After this is finished fermenting, dilute it with water. It is ready to spray. There are several methods for killing the Colorado potato beetle. You can make a natural insecticide tea by soaking cedar chips. Then make it into a spray to apply to leaves. Another foliage spray used as a natural insecticide against this destructive pest is tansy spray. Dry out the tansy and grind it up. You can do this with a mortar and pestle if you have one. Then, mix it with water to make the spray. For cutworms, you can make another natural insecticide spray by using pineapple weed and water mixed together as a natural insecticide. Or, you can use sagebrush extract with water. If you just want to immobilize them, you can mix molasses with bran and sawdust. Put this on plants in the evening. Tomato hornworms destroy tomatoes and other crops. For a natural insecticide, you can lightly cover the area around the plants with cornmeal they will try to eat it. Their digestive systems can't handle it and they will pop. A spray can be made as a natural insecticide for many small soft-bodied bugs. You use a spoonful of canola oil and a few drops of liquid soap. This gets rid of mealy bugs, aphids, and mites. There are many other kinds of natural insecticide that can be used to get rid of pests. You can't concoct them all in your own kitchen, either. However, when you can, it makes using natural insecticide that much easier. Making Your Own Natural Insecticides Have you decided to go all natural? All natural diet, all natural pet food, all natural medicines, natural insect control, and all natural gardening have become the wave of the present and future. Many people think something is new just because it hasn't been in the spotlight. But natural alternatives have been around for years. They just didn't receive their kudos because of the convenience people prefer from leading busy lives. Most have found, though, that convenience can be damaging to our environment. Convenience has hurt our rivers and roadsides because of packaging being tossed away carelessly. Convenience has hurt our family time because of lost time preparing food, eating at the family dinner table, and gardening together. Convenience has hurt our ozone layer. This doesn't mean convenience is bad; it is what you make it. If you allow anything to take over your life it can turn into a negative. Natural insecticides take a little more effort to use if you make them yourself. They take a little more time because they can require multiple uses and degrade quicker. But the rewards you reap from preparing your own natural insecticides can be great. It will give you something to discuss with others at family reunions, club events, and when traveling. You can join people in discussions on the internet about organic gardening and natural insecticides. You can increase awareness of the benefits so that others are prompted to engage in the use of natural insecticides. You can help promote a healthier world, a healthier family life, ways to make the most out of your garden and landscaping. You can even save money by making your own natural insecticides. There are rules to follow, of course, like mixing properly. If you mix the wrong ingredients you could either cause more harm or even be wasting your time if the items use cancel out each other's effectiveness. You should understand how to use what you make, how much is safe, what plants or insects will be affected in a negative way so as not to harm the good ones, how to avoid foaming, how to store and for how long. Prevention is always best. But because it isn't always possible, taking safe alternatives to treatment is the next best thing. People have become disgusted with rising prices, so they decide they can do better if they just make their own products. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. If you don't research and educate yourself, you could be doing more harm than good. Some mistakenly assume that natural means safe, and they neglect to learn about the effects and proper uses of natural insecticides. Cooking is a way to kill harmful bacteria in some instances. But the heat from cooking can destroy the active ingredients of some of your homemade insecticides. Also, the water you use can destroy the effectiveness. If you have hard well water, there may be certain minerals that cause a problem. So, if you decide to make your own, know how to prepare them properly. What Kinds of Natural Insecticide Are On The Market? There are many natural insecticides that you can stir up in your own home. You can get their ingredients without much trouble. There are other natural insecticides whose ingredients are harder to come by. These are sold to those who wish to buy them. One natural insecticide sold that is very popular for many uses is Diatomaceous Earth. This is a fine, dry dust that kills household insects by dehydrating them. It is composed of the skeletal remains of plankton. The active ingredient is actually salt water. It is safe, and is allowed by the EPA. Rotenone is a natural insecticide that comes from the roots of the derris plant. It is not only toxic to insects but also to fish. So, you will want to protect your fish. The vegetables are not harmed and are safe to eat. Insects are killed when they come in contact with this natural insecticide. If not, they will die when it reaches their stomachs and poisons them. It takes it awhile to work, but then it needs to be applied weekly to get the best effect. Nicotine is sold as a natural insecticide. It is used on plants nearing the end of their growing cycle. It is harmful to mammals, so care should be taken when applying it. Pyrethrum is sold as a natural insecticide which paralyzes insects. The only trouble is, the paralysis often wears off and the insects come back. For this reason, it is more often sold in combination with a poison like synergist. This finishes the job the pyrethrum started. Sabadillia, another natural insecticide on the market, comes from the seeds of a lily-like plant. The natural insecticide effect is from stomach poison. It isn't extremely dangerous to mammals, although it can cause respiratory problems and eye irritation. It is safe to use it on plants just before they are harvested. The natural insecticide that is sold the most in the world is a bacterium known as bt, or Bacillus thuringiensis. Bt is widely used and has a good record of eliminating insect infestations in crops around the world. Many commercial versions of neem tree derivatives are sold as a natural insecticide. The neem tree was originally found in India and Pakistan. Now, people have planted it around the world for its natural insecticide qualities. Over one hundred different insects fall prey to the neem preparations. They kill by inhibiting metamorphosis, reproduction, and digestion. They also repel insects. There is a good market for neem products in greenhouses and for ornamental plants. Natural insecticide sprays are sold in many varieties. Citrus sprays are popular. Sprays made of lemon peel solutions are sold by some manufacturers. Others use orange peel. There are also sprays based on peppers and other plants. If you want to purchase a natural insecticide, there are many to choose from. Prices are usually not prohibitive and availability is good. You can control pests and keep from destroying beneficial insects. This is an advantage of using natural insecticide. Where to Buy Natural Insecticide It's nice to have a garden, a yard, a home, and pets. Sometimes, though, you need to be concerned with pest control. If you want to protect the environment and your family's health, natural insecticide may be the way to go. You will need to know where to buy natural insecticide. One thing you should be aware of is that there are unscrupulous salespeople trying to sell natural insecticide over the phone. This has become a problem in Oregon and other states. The salesperson will give a high pressure pitch for a product that may sound interesting to you. Be sure you ask a lot of questions. Tell them you won't buy from them unless they provide you with a label for the product they want to sell you. Nine times out of ten they'll just hang up at this point. If they don't, be wary. If you buy, ask to be billed rather than give out your credit card number. However, there is no reason to buy natural insecticide from over-the-phone salespeople when there are so many reputable companies to deal with. You can usually find natural insecticide at your local nursery or garden center. Major discount store chains are getting into the business of giving advice to go along with the natural insecticide products they sell. Target has the "Ortho Home Gardener's Problem Solver" book available for people to look through as they make their purchases. Wal-Mart also offers advice on pesticides, including natural insecticides, in their garden centers. K-Mart has joined the group with its "bug-finder" charts which offer product choices. With all this help, it's easy to find a natural insecticide for your garden. If you'd rather shop from home, there are several outlets for natural insecticide on the internet. Eco Safety Products sells many products. They have orange-based and garlic-based natural insecticide. They also have natural desiccant dust that comes in puffer bottles or can be used with an insecticide duster. Pest Products Online sells an all natural insecticide with pyrethrum and a propionate ingredient. This product is good for crawling and stinging insects. It also sells natural insecticide that is plant oil or boric acid based. For your pet, an online store called PetEdge sells a natural insecticide called DeFlea. It is good for both fleas and ticks. It sells other natural insecticide remedies for fleas and ticks as well. Orbico Organics sells some of the major types of natural insecticide. It sells Neem products. It also sells products with Rotenone. Some of its products are soap-based. One popular item is a natural insecticide that contains the spores of the GHA strain of Beauveria bassiana, a bug-killing fungus. It is safe up to the day of harvest. This product seems a little pricey, at $130 per quart. However, a quart will cover an acre. There are many other online stores that sell natural insecticide. Many of them are just offshoots of physical stores that exist in some part of the country. If you want to talk to someone in person, you can go to a garden center. There are plenty of choices when it comes to finding a place to buy natural insecticide.
Precautions Should You Take When Using Natural Insecticide A natural insecticide is the safest kind you can use. The half-life, or the amount of time the substance stays active in the environment, is much shorter than for synthetic chemicals. However, there are some precautions you should take to use natural insecticide safely. One use of natural insecticide is for keeping chiggers off of humans. Oil of pennyroyal or mountain mint can be rubbed on as a preventative. If you are pregnant, though, you will not want to be in contact with these substances. They can cause you to start having contractions. Sabadillia is a natural insecticide that is a stomach poison for insects. It is not toxic to humans. It does cause irritation to the eyes and to the lungs. If you put it on your garden, be sure to wear a mask. You should also wear a mask when using another natural insecticide, Diatomaceous Earth. One natural insecticide that is also a respiratory tract irritant is rotenone. It is also very toxic to fish and somewhat toxic to mammals. You should wear protective clothing when applying this natural insecticide. You should also wear a mask. If you make a carbon dioxide tick trap as a natural insecticide, you will need to take the usual precautions when using the dry ice. Do not touch it; use extra heavy gloves or ice tongs. Don't let it come in contact with water or it will turn into fog. Do not ingest it. It can be very harmful if not handled properly. In the case of termite extermination, if you are planning to use a substance like a nicotine sulfate, be careful. It can be extremely toxic to people. It is best to have a professional exterminator do the work with this natural insecticide. * The family of trees that includes the walnut puts out a natural insecticide. It is called juglone. The problem with it is that it is toxic to many other plants. You might want to have ornamental plants or a garden. The juglone might stop you. This natural insecticide causes "walnut wilt." Plants near the tree, especially touching the roots will wilt and die. Some a little farther away will become stunted. The only precautions you can take are to put affected types of plants away from the trees. You can put juglone resistant plants near the trees. These include zinnias, carrots, and black raspberries. There are also some precautions you can take to make sure the natural insecticide retains its bug-killing abilities. If you make a preparation that is to be used dry, let it dry in the shade. Direct sunlight will ruin the active ingredients. There is a lot of natural insecticide that is made from recipes. If the recipe says to dilute it, be sure to do so. If you don't, the tender leaves and plants can be burned. It only takes a little time and a little water. You can do yourself a service if you take precautions when using natural insecticide. You can keep yourself safe. You can protect the environment. You can save your other plants. Also, you can be sure that your natural insecticide will work. Natural Insecticide for the Home Having bugs in your home is just plain disgusting. When you do, your first thought is often to run to the store and get the most powerful chemicals they have available to get rid of the pests. You actually don't have to go so far. There is natural insecticide you can use in your home. You can use natural insecticide recipes that will be much safer for your family and your pets. For example, you can use boric acid as a safe alternative in many cases. For ants, you can mix the boric acid with sugar; then add water. Next, you soak cotton balls in it and put them in bottle caps. Place them where ants have been seen. Boric powder has often been called "roach powder." Get a squeeze bottle of it, or make up your own. Squirt the stuff along floor boards and behind appliances. Put it anywhere you have seen roaches coming from. It is a great natural insecticide for roaches. For termites, you can mix boric acid with a non-toxic version of antifreeze called propylene glycol. The glycol is good because it helps the boric acid to go into the wood better. This is a natural insecticide for many types of termites. You can also use boric acid as a natural insecticide to kill silverfish. You mix 20% boric acid with any inert ingredient. Then you place this natural insecticide in areas like your closets and anywhere you have seen silverfish. Often, silverfish are seen in an attic, so this is a good place to put it as well. Boric acid can be used to make a natural insecticide for surfaces where you might find any crawling bugs, too. You have to boil some water, and then dissolve a small amount of boric acid into it. Wipe this onto surfaces. If the surfaces aren't ones you wash often, you won't have to apply it often. If you have no luck with boric acid, you might try the natural insecticide Diatomaceous Earth. It is made from the fossilized remains of plankton and other tiny sea creatures. It kills by puncturing the insects' hard covering, or exoskeleton. Then, the insect will be dehydrated by this natural insecticide. Diatomaceous Earth works well to eliminate silverfish, moths and roaches. If an animal has brought fleas into your home, this natural insecticide will take care of them, too. It destroys its victims in as little as one day. Or, it could take as long as two weeks. Natural insecticide products are being made of many substances. Some of these used in homes are made of orange and/or lemon extracts. These work very well on hard-bodied insects such as ants. Many companies are making products that kill roaches and other common household pests. These companies make natural insecticide available in stores and over the internet. The products they sell are often as effective as synthetic chemical products, if not more effective. If you want to use natural insecticide in your home, you have many avenues. You can make your own using boric acid. You can purchase a product such as Diatomaceous Earth. Or, you can go shopping for other forms of natural insecticides. It's all up to you. Natural Insecticide for People and Pets Sometimes you don't just need natural insecticide for your yard, garden, and home. You also need it for yourself and your pets. You want to avoid the aggravation and even the disease that can come from bug bites. You just don't want to put unnatural chemicals on your body that might cause another kind of harm. Luckily, there is a natural insecticide for your every personal insect killing need. Many people don't like to use the mosquito repellent with DEET in it. They fear that it is unsafe for their skin. Fortunately, there are all kinds of natural insecticide on the market to replace DEET. One mosquito repellent has only water, natural oils, and vanillin. One kind of natural insecticide for mosquitoes is a patch that you wear for 24 hour. After this time, you will be protected for 36 hours. One natural insecticide recipe for insect repellent works for fleas, ticks, and chiggers. It uses lavender, sage, mint, rosemary and wormwood. You mix these ingredients together and cover them with vinegar of the four thieves. Let it set for a week and then apply it with a cloth. Another natural insecticide insect repellent recipe is for all kinds of biting insects. You mix aloe Vera gel and skin lotion. Then you add citronella, eucalyptus oil, and patchouli oil. You shake it up in a bottle and put it on anywhere but your face. If your pet has brought fleas into your home, you can get rid of them by dusting your carpet with boric acid. Wait a week and then vacuum it up. You can also use natural insecticide to get the fleas, as well as ticks, off you pet. Diatomaceous Earth can be used as a natural insecticide in the home to keep fleas from coming back and attacking your pets. Pyrethrum or rotenone sprays will kill lice, fleas and ticks in your house to keep them off you pets. A natural insecticide called neem oil can be used directly on the pet to get rid of fleas. Orange oils can be used. There are also herb-based flea collars available to buy. These are all available to buy through brick-and-mortar or online stores. There are also natural insecticide methods you can use made with simple ingredients. You can put certain things in your pet's food. Some of these are fresh garlic, brewer's yeast, and flaxseed oil. It's an unpleasant thought, but through no fault theirs, people can sometimes end up with bed bugs. These bugs are tenacious and very good at hiding in crevices of the bed. There are several ways to get them out of your bed. To get them off you, soap and water helps, but the natural insecticide neem oil does wonders. No one wants to think of having bugs on themselves or their pets. It isn't a pleasant thought. Besides, it is uncomfortable and hard to deal with. Natural insecticide can help take care of the problem. On top of that, they can even make it safer for your health. Maybe it's time to give natural insecticide a try. Natural Insecticide and the Third World People in the US have been using natural insecticide for years. Some are becoming more concerned about the environment and the safety of the food supply. Many of these have switched back to natural insecticide. So, how much is natural insecticide being used around the world? Growers in the Philippines have been troubled by the health hazards caused by using synthetic chemical insecticides. Their producers are becoming ill with chronic health problems. Their consumers end up with produce that contains chemical residues. They are interested in natural insecticide. Thailand is another country whose government and citizens are concerned with the chemical residues on agricultural produce. Many in Asian countries feel the same way. Their middle-class is growing. This gives them more options, one of which is choosing natural insecticide. In many African and other economically disadvantaged regions, this is not the story. Natural insecticide is not an option. Chemical insecticides that have been banned, such as methyl bromide, have shown up in ports of these countries. Methyl bromide was banned because it was harmful to the people eating the produce. It was also bad for the ozone layer. This chemical is just bad news all around. Now it is being dumped into developing countries because it can't be sold elsewhere. The people in these countries will take these chemical insecticides because they can't afford natural insecticide. For that matter, they can't afford any other insecticides. DDT is another chemical insecticide that has been banned for years in the more developed countries of the world. It is used abundantly in Third World countries in South America and Africa. These countries might be more apt to use natural insecticide if it was as cheap and plentiful as the more hazardous chemical varieties. Unfortunately, it is not. Many countries are producers of natural insecticide; yet do not use them in their own countries. India, for example is one of the chief growers of the neem tree. Products from the neem tree have long been used as natural insecticide. However, India has fallen prey to the cheap and easy availability of chemical insecticides. Its natural insecticide is saved for countries who can afford it. It may help their financial bottom line, but it is doing damage to their citizens' health in the meantime. Many countries around the world are suppliers of natural insecticides. Pyrethrum is a natural insecticide that can be used on fruits and vegetables. It is made from a specific species of chrysanthemum. These are imported mainly from Kenya and Ecuador. Rotenone is another botanical natural insecticide. It can be used for aphids, beetles and caterpillars on plants. It is made from derris plant roots which originate in Asia. It can also be extracted from cube plants which are indigenous to South America. It seems that the nations in the Third World give more than they take when it comes to natural insecticide. It may be financially advantageous for them to use chemical insecticides in the short run. However, in terms of the cost of ill health among their people, they will be paying much more. Killing Ants with Natural Insecticides Ants can be a nuisance, a threat to those who are allergic to ant bites, and have been known as killers. It wouldn't seem possible of such a tiny creature, but their biggest defense seems to be their numbers. They multiply rapidly, easily, and quickly. They can take over a yard if left to themselves. A small child who accidentally falls into a fire ant bed and becomes quickly covered in them will be in misery and pain, sometimes having to be rushed to an emergency room. A dying animal can be overtaken by them and used as a food source. Ants eat a wide variety of things. They're not nearly as picky as we humans when it comes to their dinner choices. They don't even need silverware! They can carry large weights in comparison to their body sizes. It's human nature to immediately grab a can of ant spray or a bag of granules and begin walking the yard to search for their colonies. If you've lived in places like Texas and Louisiana, you know that ant beds can become huge. The fire ants are aggressive and dangerous. It's much better to control an infestation than to wake up one day and realize that your property now belongs more to the ants than to you. Sometimes insects can become immune to the chemicals sold on the market. Ant bait and ant poisons can lose their effectiveness due to overuse and years of enduring the same poisons. The chemicals can also cause harm to other insects and animals. If you don't store them properly, your children could become poisoned by them. While it's true that many natural insecticides can be dangerous as well, they are safer for our environment and safer overall than chemical poisons, especially if you know how to use, mix, and store them properly. Natural or organic insecticides are those which come from natural resources. Boric acid, which is a form of the mineral boron, is used on ant beds. Sometimes it is mixed with other things like sugar and boiling water. It can also be mixed as borax soap with sugar and water and is safe to use around pets and small children. Many people sprinkle it along the entry points in their houses and apartments or campers. Another natural insecticide to use as an ant control is cayenne pepper, made into a liquid and used as a spray. You can grow your own pepper plants just for this purpose. Hot peppers are also used to control or kill other insects. Just make sure you don't let your small child have access to your pepper plants. Hot peppers can sometimes cause blisters when eaten. Corn meal can be used as ant control; it's a low-cost alternative to poisonous chemicals. If you grow your own corn, you may even know how to make your own corn meal. It's a food the ants like to eat, but can't digest. There are many solutions for natural insecticides that can benefit your pocket book, your plants, and your environment. It's a way to treat insects that can help everyone win! Jobs That Thrive Because of Natural Insecticides Have you ever thought of the results of your actions? If you've gotten into an analytical, philosophical, or educational frame of mind, you may have considered the many aspects of using natural insecticides. You could say, "Big deal, so they help nature. How does that benefit me?" Well, it's like a domino effect. You line them carefully in a row, touch one, and that one touches another and so on. Life is that way when it comes to nature. Your choices about everything in life can have a domino effect in many ways. So, who benefits from natural insecticides? Other insects can benefit if you use them wisely. The beneficial insects would thrive without the pesky insect predators, which means that your garden benefits. That, in turn, helps you get more usable vegetables, herbs, and fruits. This benefits your family. Using the natural resources of the natural insecticides benefits our eco-system and our economy, which also benefits your family. Other ways the use of natural insecticides can benefit your family is through the different jobs provided. Growth of things that produce natural insecticides can provide an income. There are jobs that study natural insecticides like scientific jobs, entomologists, chemists, teachers and instructors. People get jobs in warehouses connected to the plant farms that grow ingredients for natural insecticides. Plant nurseries offer jobs as a result of the use of natural insecticides. If their nurseries thrive because of the use of the insecticides, it means sales increase, which means more employees are needed. People who write books, articles, newspaper stories, farm reports, and newsletters benefit from natural insecticides. Health stores that sell herbs can benefit from natural insecticides since herbs can be used to create them. Grocery stores benefit from the sales of those herbs, which helps ensure the job of the person put in charge of their care. People involved in importing goods benefit from natural insecticides. Jobs that are connected to their shipping and sales, driving the transport vehicles, and so on, are some of the benefits of natural insecticides. Those who study nature, insects, plants, chemicals, animal health, and medicine to counteract the harmful effects of those used unwisely benefit from natural insecticides. The jobs created are sometimes a direct result and sometimes an indirect result. But the fact exists that a positive impact is created in so many ways, and it is hard to pinpoint them all. One action, one person, one positive choice can make a difference. Sometimes it is a big difference all at once, and sometimes it is a difference that must be seen as a result of several things combined. Sure there is a downside to using natural insecticides. There's a downside to eating too much ice cream, too, but if you get sick once from it you can learn to be more cautious in the future. Sometimes it's a matter of learning from experience; sometimes it's a matter of gathering useful information before you make a mistake. But everything has a positive side and a negative side, and so does the use of natural insecticide. Education, awareness, and research... that's the key to a positive future in this field. Is Natural Insecticide Is Harmful to Humans and Animals? You would expect a natural insecticide to be perfectly safe for people and pets. The truth is that some cause irritations or burns or are even toxic to humans and animals. If you are going to use a natural insecticide, you should be aware of whether it causes problems beyond the pest. Rotenone is a natural insecticide. It is made from derris plant roots. While it is fairly safe for people, it does harm fish. If you use it, you should take precautions to keep it away from water where you have fish. Rotenone is somewhat toxic to warm-blooded animals. It is even somewhat toxic to humans. You should therefore protect yourself during application of the natural insecticide. The good news is that it doesn't affect the safety of vegetables grown using it. A natural insecticide that causes eye and respiratory irritations is Sabadillia. Although it causes discomfort, it is not toxic. However, you should take care not to breathe it in when using it. A mask should be worn. Dried peppers can be ground and mixed with water to make a spray. This is used as a natural insecticide. However, it too can cause eye and respiratory irritation. The crucial time to be concerned is when you are grinding the peppers. Termite control products that contain nicotine sulfates are actually more toxic to mammals than synthetic products are. These natural insecticides should be used with caution by an experienced exterminator. Some people use nicotine either in a commercially made product or they make it on their own from tobacco leaves. They use this natural insecticide for many different insects. The trouble is that it is toxic to people. You can't breathe the vapors. You'll want to avoid letting it touch your skin. On the other hand, many a natural insecticide is completely harmless to people and pets. Boric acid is so safe that it can be used in areas where children play. It is toxic only to insects. Diatomaceous Earth is a very popular natural insecticide that is safe for all mammals, including people. Bacillus thurengiensis, Bt, is safe for use on plants as well. It does not harm humans or animals. Orange, lime, and grapefruit oils are being developed as products to be used as natural insecticides in Third World countries. They are very good at killing many different insects. At the same time, they are completely non-toxic to humans. The natural insecticide from the neem tree is not just non-toxic. It has actually been used as an antiseptic. It has also been used by herbalists to treat many diseases. It has been used for over forty years. If you use a natural insecticide that contains harmful ingredients, you need to be sure to use it properly. If it is a commercial preparation, follow instructions on the label and use in recommended amounts. It is also important to be aware of how long you need to wait between use of the product and harvesting the crop. Some kinds of natural insecticide are harmful to people and/or pets. Some are not. The key is to know which natural insecticide you are dealing with. Then, be sure you know everything about it. How to Use Non-Plant Natural Insecticide Often, a natural insecticide can be used rather than a man-made chemical solution for unwanted insects. Many of these preparations are made by using plants and plant derivatives. However, there are some non-plant kinds of natural insecticide. Oils are commonly used as a natural insecticide. Some of the common oils used are mineral oil and different cooking oils. If cooking oil is used, liquid soap is added to the mixture. Either way, the oil is diluted with water and sprayed on the plant as a natural insecticide. The insects and eggs will be suffocated or dehydrated. It certainly isn't pleasant to collect animal urine, but you can use it for a natural insecticide. You mix it with soil and let it set for a couple of weeks. Then, you dilute it with water and put it only on mature leaves. Never use this natural insecticide in full sun. Chalk is an easy type of natural insecticide to use. You should soak it in water. The soaking time varies depending on what grade you use. Construction grade chalk soaks for twelve hours and natural chalk soaks for days. You can only use this preparation on mature leaves. If you have a source of fresh, unpasteurized cow's milk, it can be used to make a natural fertilizer. It is combined with flour and water and sprayed on the plant. It kills many insects and their eggs. Boric acid is, of course, a good all-around natural insecticide. It is used as a powder, or in a solution as a spray. It kills roaches, silverfish, termites, and many other insects. It is not a danger in any way to people working with it. One way to protect your plants from the ravages of destructive insects is to use lime around the base of the plant. This is a form of natural insecticide. The lime powder not only repels most insects, but it suffocates the ones that try to come through anyway. You can use a spray made of glue for a natural insecticide. The glue used is just the common household glue kids use in elementary school. You mix it with water and spray it where mites are a problem. The sprayer will become clogged if you don't wash it, so do that afterwards. To get rid of ticks in your yard, you can use a CO2 trap. This is a natural insecticide that employs the use of dry ice to trap ticks. A piece of flannel is used under the dry ice for the insects to gather on. This method gets rid of ticks in a seventy-five square foot area of yard. A natural insecticide called milky spore is used for grubs. It comes in the form of granules. It is said that one treatment lasts for decades. It kills only the grubs. It leaves beneficial insects alive. There are many types of natural insecticide. Some of the non-plant kinds are often called remedies. However, they work to kill insects and they come directly from nature. It seems that they are indeed natural insecticides. How Natural Insecticide Kills Insects A natural insecticide will kill insects, that much is certain. Natural insecticide has been used for centuries, at least. If you are a curious person, you might like to know how natural insecticide kills insects. Diatomaceous Earth is a natural insecticide made of the skeletal remains of plankton. What it does is to puncture the bodies of the insects. Then, it dehydrates them. When this natural insecticide has done its work, unwanted insects will dry up and practically blow away. Rotenone is a natural insecticide, as well. It is made from the roots of the derris plant. It does its killing by poisoning the stomachs of insects. However, it is slow-acting and needs to be reapplied often for maximum effect. Rotenone also seems to keep insects away from plants. It will keep the insects from growing and will stop them from eating if they are not adequately poisoned. Sabadillia also kills by stomach poison. From Ecuador and Kenya comes a species of chrysanthemum that yields a natural insecticide called pyrethrum. This natural insecticide destroys insects by paralyzing them. It works instantly and it works on most types of insects. The only problem is that the pyrethrum will often wear off. The insects will come around after awhile. They are not killed after all. For this reason, it is often combined with a poison that finishes the insects off. Natural insecticides used in the termite control industry work in a different way. They cause the termite to lose their appetite. In fact, they can't eat at all. The natural insecticide will cause the termite to be disoriented due to damage to its nerve endings. (People and animals do not have these same nerve endings and so are safe.) Due to all these problems, the termite will eventually die. A bacterium, Bacillus thurengiensis or Bt, is another natural insecticide that is popular these days. It is best used when the eggs of insects are just hatching. The young come out, eat the toxin, and are poisoned. They will stop eating and die of starvation. Neem preparations get rid of insects in many ways. This natural insecticide repels the offending bugs by means of an active ingredient that mimics an insect hormone. It makes it hard, if not impossible, to digest food. It stops their cycle of reproduction. It works well on insects that chiefly eat leaves. Some non-plant natural insecticides do their work by dehydration, as Diatomaceous Earth does. Chalk dries out insects on contact. Mineral oil either dries out or suffocates its victims. A mixture of cow's milk, flour and water can be used as a natural insecticide. It is very good at killing the eggs of the insects. It also destroys insects themselves, by suffocation. Corn meal can be sprinkled around plants to kill insects. If a tomato hornworm happens to eat some, the cornmeal will swell up in the insect's stomach. The insect will explode. There are all kinds of ways to kill insects. Some are by simple poisons. Some ways are more exotic ways. It may not really be important to know how a natural insecticide kills insects; only that it does. Attacking Insects with Natural Insecticides Some people have the mistaken idea that all insects are bad. An abnormal paranoia of anything that creeps and crawls or slithers can sell a lot of chemicals and natural insecticides. The market feeds off people's fear of insects. Parents teach their children to be leery of insects. While it's true that there are many insects that can cause harm, they usually do so as a way to protect themselves and preserve their species. Attacking all insects is irrational. It would cause a huge imbalance in nature if we didn't have insects. It's even necessary to feed off the predatory insects to keep the insect population under control. If you need to attack insects, at least do nature the justice of attacking the ones that are only a threat to you or your plants' survival or health. People who are allergic to certain insects have little choice but to rid their homes and property of them. A wasp or bee sting could put some people in the hospital. Some insects that are beneficial and do not cause harm to us will cause harm in some form to our plants. Butterflies are beautiful creatures, but gardeners and fruit crop growers may not appreciate their caterpillars! Beneficial insects that don't hurt us or our crops are ladybugs and some species of wasps. Honeybees can sting when threatened, but without honeybees, our honey supply would suffer. People aren't the only ones who benefit from honey. Insects and other animals benefit as well. If you must attack insects, natural insecticides can be safer for our environment than the chemical poisons that line the shelves of our stores. Natural insecticides are made from oils, flowers, seeds, and sometimes even bacteria. Neem comes from the Indian lilac tree. It prevents feeding and is a growth regulator. Pyrethrum is one of the most popular natural insecticides for attacking insects. It is used to paralyze and must be applied directly. It's contained in many pet shampoos for flea and tick control. Nicotine is well known as a tobacco product, seen mostly in a negative light because of the harm it causes lungs when smoked. It can also help control some insects. Rotenone and sabadilla dust can be considered exotic natural insecticides because they are made from plants that exist in other countries. Sabadilla can wreak havoc on a honeybee population, though, and is a short-term insecticide. Boric acid has been used for many years to help control nasty little roaches. Ants have been an age-old problem because of their ability to bite and take over our kitchens. Wasps that do sting cause allergic reactions, fear in small children and many adults because of their aggressive nature. People usually use some form of spray to attack them so they don't have to get too close and risk their painful stings. They've been attacked by hairsprays and soap solutions. People who live in rural areas can be quite creative in their attempts to attack insects with homemade insecticides. Some say cinnamon placed around a central air unit can keep the ants from entering and invading the points used to help run the units. Whatever your preferred method of attack, please be sure to use caution and consideration. Helpful Information about Natural Insecticides Did you know hot sauce mixed with garlic and water can chase away those annoying caterpillars who have been feeding on your precious plants? You may appreciate butterflies, but not their babies. So, maybe you just want them to relocate to another area. Many natural insecticides are used as repellants rather than as a way to kill insects. Spider mites hate the mixture of hydrated lime (1/4 c.) and water (add a small drop of soap to help it stick). Be careful not to use too much or the lime could hurt your plants. Tomato leaves mixed with water can repel insects. Soaps are used in several different types of mixtures. But soaps are washed away with rain or automatic sprinklers. If you choose to use nicotine, be aware that it can be deadly as a concentrate to more than just those pesky aphids. It's not only dangerous as harmful cigarette smoke, but it can be beneficial if used properly on plants. For us, the concentrates can cause convulsions and death. So, don't let that toddler grab your supply by accident. It's usually mixed with sulphur and is not recommended for use on edible plants. Horticulture oils suffocate insects by covering them with an oily film. If that sounds barbaric, just think of the damage that can be done to crops and gardens and even humans by an overpopulation of insect pests. Insect pests can spread diseases and famine. Homemade sprays can be a great economical alternative to bought sprays. You must know how to adequately measure, store, and use them even if they are homemade and seemingly harmless. Of course, you can try tricks to rid your problem areas of insects. Like the ants that want to crawl into your hummingbird water. Maybe it doesn't bother the birds, but if it bothers you, you could be imaginative and not have to use any pesticide that may endanger your tiny visiting birds. But tricks aren't always enough. Sometimes you need to use more than one method to keep insect populations under control. While you don't have to be scared of insects, you do have to be sensible to keep from becoming overrun with them. You should also be a responsible parent and teach your children how to safely combat insects. What your children learn can benefit the next generation. It helps to encourage their interests while they are young and willing to absorb what their parents have to say. Even if they seem to totally ignore all you've taught them as teenagers, they will many times come back to their senses as they grow older. One day, they'll be sharing their insecticide information with their own children or grandchildren. Teaching about the safe use of insecticides and natural insecticides is the gift that keeps on giving. Your child may want to use this information to obtain a career later in life that revolves around insects, gardening, farming, or science. Nature will thank you for your contribution by continuing to thrive because of your responsible actions. The Future of Natural Insecticide Natural insecticide has gone in and out of favor in the past. At first, of course, that was all there was. Then, when chemical insecticides came around, people saw them as the wave of the future. They were all too anxious to try them. However, it may be that natural insecticide still has a place in agriculture and homes now and in the future. Bacillus thurengiensis, Bt, has been developed as for use as a natural insecticide. It is made from a bacterium that works with the bacteria in an insects gut to poison the insect. It will need to be used in new ways. Farmers will need to change natural insecticide usage from one to another to another. This will help to keep the insects from becoming resistant to any one natural insecticide. They will also need to introduce natural predator insects to help with the job. It will also help if they plant more than one crop. In the meantime, Bt has been so successful that biogeneticists have been working to put its genetic material inside of the vegetables instead of on them. This allows the vegetables to grow strong and insect-free. Corn has already been bioengineered this way. It is called "supercorn" and it is already in supermarkets. Is this natural insecticide? It depends upon how you look at it. Many people think that, while it uses a natural insecticide as its basis, it is highly unnatural. They wouldn't think of eating supercorn. One natural insecticide may have a use outside of the insect-destroying business. Diguelin is a natural insecticide that has been used in South America and Africa. It has been discovered that it is effective in slowing or stopping the growth of lung cancer in humans. It is thought that it will have important implications in the treatment of certain types of lung cancer. Many countries in Asia, Latin America, and Africa are banding together to implement a new type of insect control. This is called Integrated Pest Management. Rather than use a natural insecticide made from a plant, a bacteria, or a mineral, IPM is based on using other insects. These insects are natural predators of the harmful ones attacking crops. With the use of such methods, ordinary natural insecticide methods will likely be ignored in these areas, at least for awhile. Plant terpenoids are being investigated for different uses in natural insecticide. Some of these substances can be used to repel unwanted insects and attract beneficial ones all at the same time. Molting can be prevented by use of certain plant-derived steroids. Other plant terpenoids can be used to over-excite the nervous systems of insects. They can disrupt their mating habits and even make them sterile. The only problem with the development of these plant terpenoids is that companies are looking to make synthetic versions of them. They will no longer be natural insecticides. Many people are concerned about the environment. They want to use natural insecticide to protect the safety of their food and the world around them. However the power of modern agribusiness is overtaking these people. If natural insecticide is to be a viable solution, changes have to be made.
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