Less Toxic Insecticide Methods To Consider

Less Toxic
Insecticide Methods
To Consider

I have found an excellent discussion of less toxic insecticide methods on the Clemson University website that is worth a share.

It compares many different approaches to the Insect or Fungi issues we face in the South: comparing advantages & disadvantages, damage issues from use, and possible plant sensitivities like foliage burn etc.


this worm looks almost like a walrus in the face!

Included in this list are:

Insecticidal soaps: 

Soaps that damage the protective coat of soft-bodied insects causing them to dehydrate;

Horticultural oils: 

Oil products that smother soft bodied insects on contact;

Botanical Insecticides: 

naturally occurring toxins extracted from plants; examples: neem / neem oil / limonene / capsaicin / pyrethrins

NOTE:   Neem oil is a botanical insecticide and available in many more complex formulations. Interesting point about Neem: it has some fungicidal activity, but its fungicidal activity is typically limited to powdery mildew control.

tree frog in citrus

Frogs in the garden can be helpful too

Essential Oils: 

volatile, highly concentrated substances extracted from plant parts; most work by disrupting an insect neurotransmitter that is not present in people, pets, or other vertebrates;

examples: cedar, cinnamon, citronella, citrus, clove,
garlic, mints, rosemary, and more;

Microbial Insecticides:

contain micro organisms like viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa or nematodes or their by-products; usually very specific to the targeted pest;

examples: Bacillus thuringiensis and its varients; found in many commercial formulations; Spinosad; Beneficial Nematodes;

silly ant

Ants and many other creepy crawlies detest the smell of cedar oils: 
good to use around entrances


Diatomaceous Earth -- "natural grade" is a non-toxic powder composed of fossilized, one-celled organisms called diatoms; used to control slugs, roaches, ants, aphids; but it can irritate lungs and kills honeybees;

Kaolin Clay -- irritates insects

Boric Acid -- acts as a stomach poison

Silica Gel -- inert material that absorbs moisture, causes insect death by dehydration;

Sulfur -- probably the oldest known pesticide in current use; nontoxic to mammals, but an irritant; also used as a fungicide and in the control of lichens; but can seriously damage plants in hot dry weather or when combined with other oils; many commercial formulations contain sulfur;

Insect Growth Regulators: interfere with egg development and molting of various insect life stages;

Click Here     to read the original article for more information.

And don't forget the final warning on that page regarding all insecticides or pesticides:

Keep Out Of The Reach Of Children!

Honey bee

Take caution not to hurt the bees while chasing the noxious insects:    we often need them for pollination


the effectiveness of Organocide 3-in-1 is hard to beat

Lady Bug and the Aphid

Use Organocide: Because she shouldn't have to do it alone!

Concluding Words

We're often asked often about many of the more popular products mentioned above like:
Neem (botanical insecticide)
Bacillus thuringiensis (microbial insecticide),  or beneficial nematodes (microbial insecticide),  but quite honestly, we still prefer the more broad spectrum product, Organocide, for our own use.

Organocide is a 3 in 1 approach: insecticide, fungicide, miticide, so we find it's simpler to keep one thing on hand to get most of the problems -- at least in their infantile states.  Read More

About the author

Green Genie

The Green Genie is the voice of AskTheGreenGenie brand -- organic, edible landscaping for home gardening made fun ! We're passionate about helping home gardeners to get more out of their gardens and enjoy the fruits of their labors -- literally. Organic gardening is a given. Fight pests effectively and actually win the battles. Oh, and palm trees -- I know, they're not all edible, but we love the ambiance!