PUT ASIDE THOSE PESTICIDES

“The environmentally-oriented gardener can enjoy not only red, orange, yellow and blue flowers, but also red, orange, yellow and blue birds.” … Roger Tory Peterson

 

Many think a mild winter means we’ll be overcome by insects the following summer. I like to think this means the birds in my garden will be well fed. Unfortunately, it also means many people will brandish chemicals to annihilate the problem, often without even differentiating pest control types, this can be very damaging to ecosystems that people are possibly not even intending to destroy.

Birds have played a major role in creating awareness of the problems with chemicals. The impact of DDT was first noted in the 1950’s when spraying led to a die-off of American Robins.

U.S. homeowners use up to eight times as many chemical pesticides per acre as the typical farmer, according to the Wall Street Journal. Two of the most potent are Diazinon, an insecticide, and 2,4-D (2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid), the most widely used weed-killer in the world. Both are known to kill songbirds, waterfowl and squirrels.

Care should be taken with chlorinated hydrocarbons. These “hard chemical” pesticides are indiscriminate killers, ridding an area of “good” insects along with “bad” ones.
If you must spray, use products with less harmful plant extracts like pyrethrin or nicotine.

Yet a better solution may be to encourage insect-eaters, like swallows and bats, to visit your yard. You can relax and watch them take care of your pest “problem” naturally.