All gardeners have been there: a nuisance type of grass that keeps shading everything out, or a particularly frustrating swarm of locusts that cause nothing but destruction. After a while we just want to give up, and it’s usually when we’re overwhelmed with frustration that we begin to look at synthetically-derived forms of control, most often in the form of some kind of pesticide.
Pesticides have been around since the end of World War 2 and have become one of the primary methods of pest control on most large agricultural farms. But the more we learn about pesticides and how they affect both us and the environment, the more important it becomes to find better alternatives.
They Cause Long-Term Ecosystem Damage
It’s easy to think that when we spray an insecticide on to a plant, that pesky grasshopper is taken care of and that’s the end of it. But when it comes to complex synthetic chemicals, it takes a very long time for the environment to break them down, sometimes even years.
During that time, they can spread throughout the rest of the ecosystem, becoming more and more dangerous as they concentrate up the food web. That means that an insecticide often not only kills the pest, but also the predators of that pest, such as birds.
They Make The Problem Worse
Sure, a strong dose of insecticides will undoubtedly cause the grasshoppers or aphids to die off – at least for this season. But because the pesticide also kills the predators of the aphids, and there are generally fewer of them, it makes it that much more difficult for the predator to become re-established in the garden. Pests often have very short life cycles and can have many generations over the course of a single growing season.
What that means is that it’s very possible for the pests to build up a resistance to the pesticide quickly, making them tolerant to further sprayings. And because predators don’t breed as quickly, they are unlikely to have any kind of tolerance. This means spending money on more and more chemicals, money that could instead be spent on rent, groceries, video game, or even just extra cash for ICC World Cup betting.
Pesticides Are Not Necessary
We’ve been led to believe that the only real way to control pests in the garden is with the use of chemicals, but this isn’t true at all.
Numerous evidence and research have found that an ecosystem, even a small garden, will eventually balance itself out. The gardener just needs to ensure that there’s plenty of diversity in terms of plants to attract as many predators as possible, and to shade out any weeds that might try and take over.