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Article: organic pesticides not more benign than synthetic ones

 
Emerson White
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Location: Alaska
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http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0011250

"Conclusions/Significance
These data bring into caution the widely held assumption that organic pesticides are more environmentally benign than synthetic ones. All pesticides must be evaluated using an empirically-based risk assessment, because generalizations based on chemical origin do not hold true in all cases."
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i tried using the ..let the birds eat all the bad bugs...pesticide plan for this year..and it worked really well for me..the only problem was some squash bugs that managed to evade the birds (all though i would continually move my feeders to the areas where they were)..but all the other bugs were eaten quickly by the hungry birds..as i would move the feeders wherever i saw any infestation of bugs..and so i had no need for any pesticides this year..

however..i also do NOT plant anything except the corn in rows or blocks of one type of plant..all my plants are in a food forest or mixed bed situation and nothing is growing where it will be a smorgasbord for the bugs..however..i did plant too many pumpkins and squash too close together..the vines grew together...so the squash bugs were a slight problem..but mostly just in the pumpkins
 
Tyler Ludens
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I avoid pesticide use in the garden.  The only time we use pesticides is once every few years for a wasp nest in an especially bad place, and sometimes ant bait for ants in the house.  I generally see "pests" in the garden as indicating I'm doing something wrong - plants are stressed somehow and so are more vulnerable to being eaten.

 
                            
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Ludi wrote:
I avoid pesticide use in the garden.  The only time we use pesticides is once every few years for a wasp nest in an especially bad place, and sometimes ant bait for ants in the house.  I generally see "pests" in the garden as indicating I'm doing something wrong - plants are stressed somehow and so are more vulnerable to being eaten.



I'm not an experienced gardener, but this is what I've read as well. The best "organic" pesticide method is a strong spray from the water hose and a green thumb to pluck critters off...
 
Emerson White
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dburkart wrote:
I'm not an experienced gardener, but this is what I've read as well. The best "organic" pesticide method is a strong spray from the water hose and a green thumb to pluck critters off...



Water hose can lead to powdery mildew and clean water is not available in an unlimited supply.
 
tel jetson
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Emerson White wrote:
"Conclusions/Significance
These data bring into caution the widely held assumption that organic pesticides are more environmentally benign than synthetic ones. All pesticides must be evaluated using an empirically-based risk assessment, because generalizations based on chemical origin do not hold true in all cases."



preaching to the choir, I'm sure, but they forgot "growing vast fields of soybeans could be a bad idea."
 
Al Loria
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Location: New York
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Brenda, we had the squash and pumpkin bug problem too.  As well as the powdery mildew experience.  We slit the vines and got some of the bugs out, but not all. Burying the vine after surgery sometimes helps. Still, it ruined the crop for this year.  In fact, we are just beginning to get a few squash from the surviving plants.  Very late in the season.

For the powdery mildew we used water diluted milk spray.  It did not do much in the way of eliminating it.  Might have helped control the spreading though.

The only pesticide we used so far this year is the iron phosphate for the slugs.

Pesticides are still pesticides, and whether organic or not, there are still consequences.



Al
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Location: Oakland, CA
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Hm...I'm thinking maybe pesticide shouldn't be a concrete noun: not a substance, but an act that a person can carry out, like homicide or fratricide. Perhaps like so:

Pesticide: the act of killing with pronounced contempt for the victim's place in the ecosystem.

Over the past couple years, I've been guilty of pesticide in the case of house flies and fruit flies, garden slugs, bitter lettuce, and pellitory-of-the-wall. The last time I used chemical methods was spraying some generic Windex on ant trails years ago, and I used ant bait a few times before that.

Thanks, Emerson, for pointing this out. It's very difficult to become aware of one's pre-conceptions, and science of the sort you linked to can really help.

I'd also like to second the notion that there is no "best" without context.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Joel Hollingsworth wrote:

Pesticide: the act of killing with pronounced contempt for the victim's place in the ecosystem.



Brilliant!  My husband says he wants to borrow your definition. 
 
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