For the concerned citizen, EPA has a Web site devoted to information about pesticides. You can also:
Pest Management - Alternatives to Pesticides
Visit these sites for more information on Alternative Pest Management:
"Pest Notes" from the UC Davis Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Project provide in-depth information on insect pests and alternative control measures.
Bio-Integral Resource Center (BIRC) in Berkeley provides consultation, literature, and periodicals on non-toxic pest control to individuals, businesses, public agencies.
The Sacramento Stormwater Program's Water Wise Program has a number of pest-specific cards available on this website, at nurseries, and through the UC Master Gardener Program.
Invite "Good Bugs" to Your Garden
Spring and summer bring warm sunshine, fields of flowers, vines bursting with tomatoes and, of course, those destructive little pests and bugs! But did you know some are actually "Good Guys" in the garden? For example, antlions really do feast on ants, and lacewings have a voracious appetite for aphids. Studies have shown that the use of chemical pesticides can actually cause outbreaks of pests by eliminating these natural predators.
Consider alternative pest management practices such as biological controls. Many nurseries sell beneficial insects like ladybugs. Ladybugs, both adults and larvae, are known primarily as predators of aphids. But they also prey on many other pests such as soft-scale insects, mealybugs and spider mites; and they devour the eggs of beetles and borers.
One of the best ways to promote biological control of pests is to encourage beneficial insects by choosing plants that provide them with pollen, nectar and shelter. Fennel, coriander and dill provide the tiny flowers savored by parasitoid wasps. These tiny wasps are aggressive beyond their size when it comes to pursuing aphids and caterpillars.
And rather than pulling out all of your "wild weeds" such as dandelions, goldenrod and mustard, leave a few in the back yard. They're all good sources of food for many predatory insects.
Stewards of Our Waterways
By saying "NO" to chemicals, you're also protecting our creeks and streams. Unintentional rinsing of chemical pesticides into storm drains pollutes our creeks and streams because storm drains are direct paths to our waterways.
If your pest problem cannot be controlled biologically, consider using less-toxic pesticides like and insecticidal soaps, dusts and horticultural oils. Apply pesticides sparingly, follow label instructions, and apply only to problem areas. Some don'ts to remember:
- Don't let water run-off your yard right after applying pesticides.
- Don't apply pesticides if rain is forecast.
One teaspoon of diazinon makes 2.5 million gallons of water toxic to aquatic organisms like water fleas. Diazinon is one of the most widely used pesticides - 50,000 pounds of diazinon are used every year in the urban areas of Sacramento County. Water sampling reveals that toxic levels of diazinon are almost always present in our creeks and streams.
In December, 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an agreement to phase-out diazinon. The phase-out of products for indoor use began in March 2001 with registration cancellation; retail sales stopped December 2002. Manufacturing of diazinon for lawn and garden uses stopped June 2003, and sales and distribution by retailers ceased August 2003.
Proper Pesticide Disposal
Proper disposal of pesticides, such as diazinon, is just as important as proper use. Never dispose of chemical pesticides, or any other toxic waste, by dumping down storm drains or sinks. Take your unused toxic chemicals to the City of Sacramento's Household Hazardous Waste Facility for disposal. This service is available by appointment on Fridays and Saturdays, from 8:00am-5:00pm. Call 379-0500 to schedule a drop-off time. The facility is located at 8491 Fruitridge Road, across from the old Army Depot.