This is important. I have written about the hazards of pesticides many times over the years, and I need to do it again as pesticides are destroying our ecosystem. If you agree with the content of this message, please share it. I will be sending it in column format to some newspapers and to government agencies as well.
There are several different kinds of “pesticides,”including insecticides, rodenticides, herbicides and others. Those first three are the most dangerous. Insecticides are frequently sprayed around homes to kill “pests”. They may kill a few pests, but they also kill a lot of harmless and even beneficial insects. There are numerous beneficial organisms in every yard. They can be beneficial in different ways. Some are pollinators and we certainly need them. Others feed on decaying or dead plant or animal matter, and they are important as well. And others are predators who feed on pests. They are all killed when pesticides are generically sprayed on your property. Along with many other beneficial insects that can be killed by the pesticides, there are bees. A single female honeybee can visit up to 2,000 flowers in a single day. They are the only insects that produce food eaten by humans and they pollinate about 80% of the world’s plants. Bees help feed the world. Pesticides used outside will also damage songbirds in the area that feed on insects that were in contact with the pesticides We can’t allow the birds and the bees and other beneficial animals to continue to be collateral damage from pesticides. There is no good reason for any pest control company to generically spray pesticides around a home. Pest management can be done safely and effectively, without using pesticides that destroy the ecosystem.
When government agencies or companies spray for mosquitoes, they may kill a few mosquitoes, but they also kill many other insects, including many beneficial ones, as well. Baby birds in a nest that cannot fly can also be seriously affected as will any pets that are outside during the hazardous spraying. The pesticides also repel bats from the area being sprayed and one bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes in one night.
When pesticides are sprayed generically in homes, they can affect anyone that may have a chemical reaction to them. Spraying pesticides along baseboards in a house can be hazardous to some people or pets. I was told when I started in the pest industry that we had to spray baseboards in a home or business to kill time, so the customer thinks they are getting their money’s worth. It was true then and is true now. It is reprehensible that pesticides are sprayed like that in homes. We need to stop this kind of pesticide pollution in homes and businesses.
Rodenticides are labeled to control rodents, but they can kill cats and dogs and any other animals that consume them, and they can harm hawks, owls or other birds that will eat animals that have consumed rodenticides. Rodenticides, in reality, are “murder” weapons. People often buy rodenticides to put on public land or somewhere, to kill coyotes or other animals they don’t like. The rodenticides kill anything that consumes them and that includes pet dogs that may be wandering in the area and the person who put the rodenticides out is guilty of murdering innocent animals. Rodenticides should not be permitted to be sold in stores or online.
When herbicides are used, they frequently destroy the ecosystem. Many so-called “weeds” have beneficial aspects. Dandelion, lamb’s quarter, burdock and some others are edible. Some “weeds” attract beneficial insects besides pollinators, that can protect other plants from insect pests. “Weeds” can also improve soil fertility and bring up nutrients like calcium and nitrogen from deep in the soil with their tap roots. Clover hosts nitrogen-fixing bacteria in its roots and fertilize the soil directly. Herbicides containing glyphosate, which are the most widely used and very hazardous as they kill honeybees according to a new report. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup and other herbicides. Glyphosates are widely used around the world and not only are they deadly to bees according to the report (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science), but they can seriously affect people. Nobody should use herbicides that contain glyphosate, and they shouldn’t be sold in responsible retail stores or online. Glyphosates are not the only pesticide deadly to bees. Neonicotinoids is a class of insecticides scientifically shown to kill pollinators like bees and butterflies. The European Union has banned neonicotinoids from outdoor use, and we should to.
Final note. Pesticides (to kill pests), insecticides (to kill insects) and rodenticides (to kill rodenticides), all are incorrectly named. They are all KILLicides (to kill everything). KILLicides are weapons of mass destruction, and they need to stop being used.
I have been associated with the pesticide industry for almost 50 years. I have worked with several pest control companies, and I was IPM Manager at the University of New Mexico from 1995 to 2006. I also was IPM Manager for the City of Santa Fe. I have written three books on non-toxic pest control, and I have written numerous entomological scientific papers while I was at UNM. I also taught several semesters of entomology in the Biology Dept. and I taught Continuing Education Units to pest control companies for the NM Dept. of Agriculture for about 20 years. I also write columns for several newspapers. My email address is email@example.com