Sustainable Living In Saratoga Springs

Natural Insecticides

Last year digging in the soil, my daughter got upset that I was killing a "baby" grub, "but it's so cute", she said. Oh, the innocence! I didn't want to seem like a heartless killer, so instead I tried to explain that there are insects that we want around our gardens and homes, the "good bugs", such as lady bugs, butterflies, earth worms, millipedes, etc and then there are the "bad bugs", mosquitoes, wasps(can be helpful at times), ticks, japanese beetles, grubs etc.  In an idealistic state, things will be in balance and you don't have to worry about the "bad bugs". Of course, there is also reality, the wasps decide to build a nest where you come in and out of the house, the japanese beetles are decimating your rose or hibiscus plant, or your lawn is being ruined by grubs. 

Below, I have outlined some alternatives to toxic chemicals that are typically used to fight the "bad bugs".

The culprit: aphids, mites, white flies and powdery mildew.
The alternative: Neem Oil -Organica K+ Neem Insecticide and fungicide

The culprit: grubs
The alternative: Beneficial Nematodes-not usually stocked in nurseries but can be mail ordered

The culprit: Flying Insects such as flies, wasps, gnats, and mosquitoes
The alternative: EcoSmart Flying Insect Killer-uses only ingredients such as peppermint, wintergreen, cinnamon, and sesame oils.

Looking for alternatives that aren't highlighted here.  Let me know and I would be happy to help. 

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Karen Totino, owner of Green Conscience in Saratoga Springs, has a history of caring about environmental issues starting with her own family and neighborhood. Beginning with her already successful organic lawn care business, Karen became actively involved in community efforts supporting work on cleanups and conservation through Friends of Kayaderosseras, a not- for -profit organization focused on conserving the creek. As an energetic entrepreneur, Karen wants to effect change in a greater way through offering green alternatives to consumers who seek better choices for their families and for the environment.