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The Ever-Evolving World of BiopesticidesOctober 20th, 2014 by
Many homeowners know what a trial it can be to keep a lawn pest-free, but they may not be aware that many conventional pesticides can do just as much harm in the long run as the worst pests. Pesticides can build up in plants and soil over time, damaging and polluting once-healthy lawns. If you’re looking for a cleaner, more responsible way to keep pests out of your garden without picking up where the pests left off, you might want to consider incorporating biopesticides into your lawn care routine.
The active ingredients in biopesticides come from natural sources like animals, plants, and microbes rather than man-made chemicals and tend to be more chemically complex than those found in synthetic pesticide compounds. Because of this, biopesticides tend to be less toxic than conventional pesticides, and it takes longer for pests to build resistance against them. If you’re thinking about giving biopesticides a try but aren’t sure where to start, check out this list of common biopesticide varieties:
Types of Biopesticides
Microbial pesticides are biopesticides whose main active ingredients are microorganisms. Microbial pesticides are created using combinations of different microorganisms, which are each responsible for controlling a different kind of pest. For example, one type of microbe might be responsible for targeting the larvae of a harmful insect, while another might be responsible for keeping a common parasitic fungus under control. Most of the active agents in microbial pesticides are strains of the Bacillus thuringiensis bacteria, although other types of microorganisms are frequently used as well.
Plant-incorporated protectants, or PIPs, are organic pesticides that are produced inside of a plant instead of being applied to it. Companies that produce PIPs are able to achieve this by first recreating naturally occurring substances that keep pests under control and then introducing those substances into plants. When the process is finished, the plant will naturally produce pesticidal substances. These substances will keep away any target pests that try to eat the plant, but humans and non-target species won’t be affected; this is because the substances produced in PIPs are meant to control only specific pests. Because they are part of the plants in which they are grown, PIPs are biodegradable and won’t build up in the surrounding soil.
Biochemical pesticides keep pests under control through the use of active agents that are based on chemicals occurring in nature. These chemicals include pheromones; scents that recreate or mimic those that certain plants use to lure in and trap insects; and organic coatings that physically irritate pests or form a barrier between pests and the surfaces of plants. Since biochemical pesticides are made from naturally occurring chemicals, they break down more easily than conventional pesticides while needing less-frequent application, and they’re not as dangerous to non-target species as conventional pesticides can be.
Biopesticides are far less harmful to humans, non-pest species, and garden plants than many conventional pesticides; they are effective in smaller amounts, and their numerous and more complex active ingredients take pests a long time to acclimate to—which means less money spent switching out pesticides. Taking the time to choose one of the many Best Pick lawn services that offer green pesticide options means never having to choose between being effective and environmentally conscious when it comes to defending your lawn from pests.
Sources: Biopesticide Industry Alliance; EPA; Journal of Biopesticides; MarketsandMarkets; National Pesticide Information Center.
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