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RachelleW posted a blog entry in Shades of an Apple Green HomeAs people become more aware of how important it is to protect the environment, many homeowners have become increasingly concerned with finding pest control methods that are eco-friendly. Along with protecting the environment, these methods are also much safer around pets, children, and wildlife, making them popular with more and more people. If you’re ready to go green with your pest control, here are some ways to do so that will be most beneficial to everyone. Microbial Insecticides Non-toxic to humans and animals, microbial insecticides don’t harm beneficial insects, but do target specific pests and cause them to get very sick. Especially beneficial if you have problems with various types of worms or centipedes, one of the most effective is known simply as BT. When used, pests are usually dead within two days. Insecticidal Soaps Able to be sprayed inside or outside a home, insecticidal soaps are very effective against almost all insects, including earwigs, aphids, bees, ants, and others. Non-toxic to humans as well as most animals, the soaps can be purchased at most garden centers. However, if you want to mix up your own version, mix one teaspoon of dish soap and one teaspoon of cooking oil in a one-quart spray bottle, then fill up the remainder with water. Insecticidal Oil A popular option for ridding a home of spiders, ants, cockroaches, and other pests, insecticidal oil kills the eggs and immature stages of insects, and is non-toxic to most beneficial insects. However, if you’ve got house plants or plants near your home, be careful when spraying, since the oil can cause some leaf damage. Bait Traps Used for everything from flies to mice, bait traps use non-toxic bait formulas to attract pests. Once inside, the pests are then trapped using special non-toxic glues, which are not harmful to pets or children. Available in many different styles, they can be set around on the floor near cabinets or doors to attract mice, or you can use free-standing or wall-mounted traps to capture flies or other flying insects. They are a great way to perform pest control on your own. Now available in designs that resemble pieces of furniture or other home accessories, bait traps are affordable and easy options to rid your home of pests in an eco-friendly fashion. Whether you use one or all of these pest control services in your home, the good news is that you’ll be able to get rid of any and all pests without worrying about harming the environment, your pets, or your kids.
NoNukes posted a topic in GardeningLike I said in another topic in this forum: I am moving to a new house soon which has a big garden. Or rather it has a big boring lawn. For the next summer I want a garden full of flowers that will attract bees and keep them safe. So which plants and flowers will attract bees the best?
People's World posted a article in BiodiversityFor some time, the bee population has been steadily declining worldwide, and this is most directly attributed to the negative impact of pesticides. Now, there's a lot of buzz around a recent study by Dutch researchers, which has found that the toxic chemicals we use are having a ripple effect farther up the food chain, causing insectivorous birds to rapidly decline in number. The study was the collaborative effort of researchers with the Radboud University Institute of Water and Wetland Research, the Dutch Center for Field Ornithology, and Birdlife Netherlands. In a joint statement, the researchers declared, "Neonicotinoid insecticides have adverse effects on non-target invertebrate species. Invertebrates constitute a substantial part of the diet of many bird species during the breeding season and are indispensible for raising offspring. In the Netherlands," for example, "local bird population trends were significantly more negative in areas with higher surface-water concentrations of imidacloprid," a type of pesticide. "At imidacloprid concentrations of more than 20 nanograms per liter, bird populations tended to decline by 3.5 percent on average, annually," they continued. The overall results of the study, they said, shows "that the impact of neonicotinoids on the natural environment is even more substantial than has recently been reported and is reminiscent of the effects of persistent pesticides in the past. Future legislation should take into account the potential cascading effects [of insecticides] on ecosystems." Neonicotinoids are interesting in that their origins lie with two corporations already strongly linked with outright for-profit environmental destruction: Royal Dutch Shell and Bayer. These insecticides, which are chemically similar to nicotine, were first developed and used in the 1980s by the Shell, and in the 1990s by the German chemical and pharmaceutical company. In 2009, on the specific neonicotinoid called imidacloprid that the Dutch researchers referenced, Bayer made a profit of over one billion alone, according to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. There is, however, a loss occurring, albeit an ecological one, not a financial one. Such was the conclusion of the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, which conducted another recent report on the matter. They explained, "Neonicotinoids persist for months and in some cases years, and environmental concentrations can build up. This effectively increases their toxicity by increasing the duration of exposure of non-target species. The effects of exposure [in wildlife] range from instant and lethal to chronic." Effects could include "altered feeding behavior and reduced food intake [in birds], reduced foraging in bees, and altered tunneling behavior in earthworms." Dr. David Gibbons, head of the Center for Conservation Science at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, remarked, "This elegant and important study provides worrying evidence of negative impacts of neonicotinoid insecticides on birds. Usage of these pesticides has been particularly high in some parts of the Netherlands. Monitoring of pollution in soils and waterways is urgently required, as is further research into the effects of these insecticides on wildlife."