What Are Organic Pesticides And Are Organic Pesticides Safe To Use?
Organic pesticides are not the same as conventional ones. They do not contain any harmful chemicals or toxic substances. They have been tested and certified to be safe for human consumption. There are two types of organic pesticides: organically grown and non-organic grown. Non-organic pesticides include those from chemical plants, fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and other products used in agriculture.
Organic pesticides are grown without using synthetic chemicals such as antibiotics, hormones, steroids, pesticides and other industrial waste products. These organic pesticides are also free of genetically modified organisms (GMO).
GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), GMOs are organisms that have had DNA altered through genetic engineering techniques. Some people believe that these new varieties of crops may cause health problems because they don’t naturally reproduce themselves and instead require artificial methods to grow them. However, there is no proof that GMOs pose any danger to humans.
The term “natural” does not necessarily mean natural. Natural means produced without the use of manmade chemicals and practices.
Organic pesticides are produced according to strict guidelines set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These rules cover everything from how long pesticides last to what kind of containers they must be stored in.
Unfortunately, non-organic and natural pesticides can also persist in the environment and enter bodies of water. They can be ingested by aquatic life and insects.
Animals such as birds may then eat these insects and plants. This build-up of toxins and chemicals can then enter the food chain, which can lead to serious health concerns.
Organic pesticides, on the other hand, are in line with organic farming practices. They are made from natural ingredients that come from plants and vegetables.
Some of these ingredients include hot peppers, clove oil, garlic, mint oils and more. These ingredients may be used on their own or combined together to make a natural pesticide. To be classified as organic, they must not contain harmful toxins. Some of the active ingredients used in non-organic pesticides and not found in organic ones include arsenic, lead and mercury.
There are some organic pesticides that have a very short lifespan and can break down quickly. This quick breakdown allows them to not persist in the environment and cause long-lasting effects.
There are also some natural pesticides that are approved for use in organic farming but are not safe for people to eat. This is why it is extremely important to read the labels on all pesticides before using them. Even some natural pesticides should not be ingested.
How To Use Pesticides Safely And Effectively
Using non-organic or natural pesticides involves many of the same steps. You must first clean the surface you wish to treat.
This means taking time to scrub all dirt, grime, grease, oils and other contaminants from the area. This is because pesticides need something to latch on to in order to work properly. If the surface you are treating is not clean, the pesticides will have nothing to stick to and therefore will be less effective or not effective at all.
The next step is to allow any moisture time to air dry. Wet surfaces do not allow pesticides to adhere or bond effectively.
You must wait until everything is dry before proceeding.
Choose the right pesticide for your needs. If you are applying a product to kill ants, you do not need a product that kills weeds as well.
Be sure to read the label and make sure it is labeled for the specific task that you need it for. Some pesticides are only to be used outside. Others can only be used in greenhouses. Always read the label before applying any pesticide.
If possible, apply the pesticide to surfaces that run along the ground. Pesticides sprayed into the air will eventually drift downward.
If you are trying to kill pests that fly or crawl along the floor, the pesticides can easily reach them. If you are spraying onto a ceiling or high up on a wall, the pesticide is likely to simply run down the wall and drip onto whatever is on the floor.
Make sure the nozzle on your spray bottle is clean before using it. Oil, dirt and other contaminants can drastically reduce the effectiveness of your spray.
A few minutes of your time can save you a lot of wasted product and effort.
Do not apply pesticides when the sun is shining. The heat can cause the chemicals to evaporate quickly.
This loss of chemical concentration can greatly reduce the effectiveness of your spray. It also means you are using much more product than necessary.
Be sure to thoroughly wash your spray bottle after each use. Pesticides and other chemicals can stay in the nozzle and become extremely corrosive with time.
This can cause the inside of your spray bottle to become extremely dangerous. Thoroughly wash out your spray bottle after each use.
Store your unused pesticide properly. Be sure the container is tightly sealed and place it in a location that is inaccessible to children and animals.
Remember that pesticides are chemical products and all chemicals should be treated with care and respect. Always wear safety goggles and gloves when handling pesticides.
Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after applying any pesticide.
Always follow the instructions on the product label. Pesticides require specialized handling and you could harm yourself or others if you do not follow the instructions precisely.
Remember that you will kill whatever you spray the pesticide on. If it were possible to grow mushrooms on your kitchen walls, spraying a pesticide there would turn your walls into a giant mushroom farm.
This means you must be extremely careful about where you spray any chemicals.
Never use a pesticide that has been stored for a long period of time. Old pesticides lose their effectiveness and could even be dangerous to apply.
Finally, never forget that you can do more harm than good when it comes to pesticides. It is always better to try an alternative solution first whenever possible.
Always think safety first. If you do choose to use pesticides, remember to always follow the directions on the product label. Using more doesn’t mean it will work faster or better, it could actually be more dangerous or even fatal. Be sure to store any pesticides in a safe place where children and animals can not get to them. If a pesticide is swallowed or gets in someone’s eyes, call your local poison control center immediately.
Always wear proper protective gear whenever handling pesticides. This means a full body cover (including your head), chemical resistant gloves and safety goggles.
Think ahead about where you are going to apply the pesticide. Some pesticides can be absorbed through the skin.
If you are spraying a product to kill ants, you might want to wear coveralls rather than shorts and a tank top.
The rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t spray it! Most pesticides must be diluted before using.
Use gloves to measure the proper amount of water needed for diluting the pesticide and avoid getting any of the concentrate on your skin. Many pesticides must be diluted before using.
Keep in mind that you are more likely to have an allergic reaction to a chemical if you are allergic to it or if you’ve had an allergic reaction to it in the past. If you are unsure about a product, ask your doctor or local poison control center.
Get a good night’s sleep before spraying pesticides. Working with pesticides can be tiring, so make sure you’re at your best by getting plenty of sleep the night before.
Use common sense whenever working with any chemical product. If you suspect a pesticide is too powerful for the job, consider looking for an alternative.
Always keep a first aid kit nearby whenever using or storing any kind of pesticide. While this shouldn’t replace proper medical attention, it could come in handy if someone gets a serious cut while handling the product.
The most common items included in a first aid kit are bandages, burn cream, and pain relievers.
Treating Mushroom Patches
Now that you have grown your own edible mushrooms, the obvious next step is to grow the fungi yourself! There are two steps to this process:
Grow the mycelium (the vegetative part of the fungus that looks like cob webs) in a sterilized substrate until you have a solid mass of mycelium. Introduce the mycelium to a substrate that you will actually be harvesting, such as cardboard.
When growing edible mushrooms yourself, always remember to be extremely clean. Keep your hands clean and keep the rest of your body away from the mushroom patch.
You do not want to introduce human germs into the environment, because they can easily grow out of control and ruin all your hard work. Always remember to wear proper safety gear, such as a facemask, goggles, and closed-toe shoes.
Grow the Mycelium in a Sterilized Substrate
When growing edible mushrooms, you will need a sterile substrate, or a food source for the fungi. Some common substrates are:
Vermiculite (a mineral that expands many times when heated)
Coffee grounds and filters
Grind the substrate into small bits, or spawn, using either a drill press or a large mortar and pestle. To create the mycelium spawn, mix 1 part spawn with 5 parts sterile water in a container.
Cover the container with saran wrap and wait for it to grow mycelium, or cob webs. The mycelium is ready for use when you see it developing on the surface of the water.
At this point, pour the spawn into its final substrate. You now have a substrate that is ready to be harvested after 90 days.
Harvest your Edible Mushrooms
After 90 days you can harvest your new crop of edible mushrooms.
Sources & references used in this article:
Reducing and eliminating the use of persistent organic pesticides by J Mörner, R Bos, M Fredrix – Geneva: United Nations …, 2002 – indiawaterportal.org
Competitive, sustainable natural pesticides by MFB Mfarrej, FM Rara – Acta Ecologica Sinica, 2019 – Elsevier
Consumer perceptions of organic foods in Bangkok, Thailand by B Roitner-Schobesberger, I Darnhofer, S Somsook… – Food policy, 2008 – Elsevier
Current status of persistent organic pesticides residues in air, water, and soil, and their possible effect on neighboring countries: a comprehensive review of India by IC Yadav, NL Devi, JH Syed, Z Cheng, J Li… – Science of the Total …, 2015 – Elsevier
Reducing and eliminating the use of persistent organic pesticides: guidance on alternative strategies for sustainable pest and vector management. 2002 by J Mörner, R Bos, M Fredrix – Geneva: UNEP/FAO/WHO, 2015 – pdfs.semanticscholar.org