Chemical Vs Natural Pest Control Methods
We have all fought a pest infestation at least once in our lives. Either in our garden or our home, it is never pleasant. Of course, there is always a dilemma. To use a chemical pest controller or a natural pest control method? Chemical pest control methods involve synthetic pesticides to control or eliminate pests. In contrast, natural pest control methods use natural predators, parasites, or other means, like DIY sprays, to control pests.
The choice is always challenging when it comes to toxicity and efficiency. Hopefully, here you can find all the details needed to make an informed choice.
Chemical pest control methods
Chemical pesticides are generally classified into two categories: broad-spectrum and selective. They are often more efficient in eliminating pests quickly but can be toxic to humans and pets if not used properly. Some can also lead to the development of pesticide-resistant pests over time.
Examples of chemical pest control methods include:
- Insecticides: used to control insects
- Herbicides: used to control weeds
- Fungicides: used to control fungi
- Rodenticides: used to control rodents
Broad-spectrum and selective pesticides
Broad-spectrum pesticides, such as carbamates and organophosphates, are toxic to many insects and other pests. These types of pesticides are often more toxic to humans and animals because they can have harmful effects on the nervous system.
On the other hand, selective pesticides are designed to target specific pests while having less impact on beneficial insects or other non-target organisms. These types of pesticides are often considered less toxic than broad-spectrum ones. Examples of selective pesticides include pyrethrins, neonicotinoids and Bacillus Thuringiensis.
Available pest controllers on the market
Currently, several types of chemical pest control products are available:
- Sprays: These are the most common type of pesticide and can be applied as a liquid or aerosol. They control a wide range of pests and are available in various formulations, including ready-to-use, concentrates, and wettable powders.
- Dusts/Powders: These are dry formulations of pesticides that can be applied as a powder. They often control insects and other pests that live in tight spaces, such as cracks and crevices.
- Baits: These are formulated to attract and control pests like ants, cockroaches, and rodents. They can be in a solid, liquid or gel form and are typically placed in areas where pests are known to be active.
- Granules: These are tiny particles of pesticides applied to the ground to control pests like grubs, mole crickets, and other lawn pests. They are scattered by hand or using a spreader.
- Foggers: These devices release a fog or mist of pesticide into the air. They are often used to control flying insects, such as mosquitoes, and can be used indoors and outdoors.
- Timers: These release a specific amount of pesticide at a specific time. They control pests in commercial settings, such as warehouses, food processing plants, and stores.
Toxic and less toxic ingredients
It is important to note that some chemical pest control methods are considered less toxic than others. However, some chemicals have been banned in many countries due to their high toxicity to humans and animals.
Some specific examples of these that are considered more toxic are:
If, by chance, you have decided to try a chemical pest control method, you can look for these ingredients on the label:
- Neem oil
- Iron phosphate
These are considered less toxic. However, just because a pesticide is considered less toxic does not mean it is completely safe and should always be used with care. A pest controller’s toxicity can vary depending on the specific formulation and its use. To ensure that you are using a suitable pest controller, it’d be better to consult a professional pest control company regarding the infestation you are dealing with. They will advise you on the type of chemicals and the amount you need to use. Always read and follow the label instructions when using any chemical pesticides to ensure safety and the best results, and wear protective gear to minimise any potential exposure.
Please note that all of these chemical pest control products must be used per the label instructions. That includes proper handling and storage, and they should be used only when necessary and with precautions.
Natural pest control methods
Natural pest control methods are generally considered safer for humans and pets as they use natural predators, parasites or a different approach, like DIY sprays and traps, to control pests. They are also considered more environmentally friendly. However, natural pest control methods can be less efficient and may take longer to achieve the desired results. It is also important to note that not all natural methods are safe, and you should research and use the most appropriate method for the specific situation.
Some examples of natural pest control methods are:
- Biological control: This method involves using natural predators, parasites, or pathogens to control pests. Examples include ladybugs to control aphids or nematodes to control grubs.
- Integrated Pest Management (IPM): This method involves using a combination of methods to control pests, including cultural, physical, and biological methods. This can include things like proper sanitation, crop rotation, and using traps or barriers.
- Trapping: This method involves using physical traps to capture and remove pests. Examples include sticky traps for flying insects or live traps for rodents.
- Companion planting: This method involves planting certain plants together to help repel or attract pests. For example, marigolds can repel nematodes, and chrysanthemums can repel various insects.
- DIY pest control: You can make several DIY pest control methods at home, such as using soap and water as an insecticide spray or a mixture of peppermint oil and water to repel ants.
- Essential oils: Some essential oils, such as peppermint oil, cedar oil, and citrus oils, can be used as natural pesticides to repel or kill certain pests. They can be used in sprays, diffusers, or added to cleaning products.
- Cleaning: Proper sanitation, such as regular cleaning, can help reduce the number of pests in your home by removing food and water sources.
- Natural predators: You can also introduce natural predators to your home or garden to control pests. Examples include bats, birds, and praying mantises.
Choosing a pest control method to help you against a particular type of pest is never easy. Most of the time, it is accompanied by fear of poisoning ourselves or our pets or not accomplishing any results. However, being aware of the type of infestation we are dealing with and knowing what can be effective from chemical and natural methods would help us choose the best one. Reading the labels carefully and consulting with professionals will lead us to results and us being safe. Whatever you decide, it is crucial to be fully informed and use it with care.