Chemical-free products with natural ingredients can effectively control pests while going easy on the environment and people's health.
Tukey, of safelawns.org, discussed innovations that include eco-friendly fruit and vegetable sprays, insecticidal soap and mosquito and tick control. Some of the products contain food-grade ingredients, making them far safer for humans, animals and the environment than their synthetic chemical counterparts.
About 80 million pounds of synthetic chemical pesticides are used on lawns and gardens in America each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Not only are the chemicals harsh on the environment, they pose significant health risks.
A study by the Harvard School of Public Health showed that people who reported exposure to pesticides had a 70 percent higher incidence of Parkinson's disease than those who didn't have exposure.
It might come as a surprise, but homeowners apply 10 times more pesticides than farmers do, according to the National Academy of Sciences.
Tukey discussed the benefits of the following products:
Mosquito and Tick Control from EcoSmart: The active ingredients in this product include rosemary, thyme, peppermint, sesame. This product may be used to control mosquitoes, millipedes, mites, crickets, gnats, ticks and fleas.
Fruit and Vegetable Insect Spray by Dr. Earth: Contains wintergreen, coconut, cinnamon, mineral, clove and safflower oils, as well as molasses, garlic extract and water. According to the manufacturer, the product blocks insects' neurotransmitters so they die quickly. May be used to control aphids, leafhoppers, Japanese beetles, caterpillars, whiteflies, mites, scales and mealybugs.
Earth-tone Insecticidal Soap from Espoma: May be applied to produce up to the day of harvest. The product works by breaking down the bug's protective coating, causing it to dry out and die. It may be used to target spider mites, earwigs, whiteflies, thrips and tent caterpillars, among other insects.
Bulls-Eye Bioinsecticide from GardensAlive: The active ingredient is spinosad, and this product may be used for home gardens and lawns. It doesn't significantly affect beneficial insects, while targeting pests, according to the manufacturer. May be used to control caterpillars, leafminers, fruitworms, cabbage loopers, borers, fruit flies, fire ants and other insects.
Homeowners seeking the ultimate in natural pesticides can even purchase ladybugs online and release the bugs in their yard. The natural pest weapons will go to work and add a nice splash of color while they do it.
Beneficial Nematode by Firebelly Organics: These microscopic organisms dissolve in water and can be sprayed onto the lawn to help control White Grubs. The best time to apply? Late summer, if you live in the northern part of the country.