An insecticide is a form of pesticide that is used against insects in agriculture, industry, household and medicine. It is one of the most significant factors contributing to the increase in agricultural productivity. The categories of insecticides include systematic insecticides, contact insecticides, natural, inorganic and organic insecticides. Almost all insecticides have the capacity to modify the ecosystem. Many are poisonous to humans and others tend to remain in the food chain. Nonetheless, the frequent use of highly toxic insecticides has exposed the environment to the negative effects and the poisoning of non-targeted species. The excessive use of insecticides has become a major problem for birds and wildlife nestled around several waterways. Everyone who maintains a lawn or a garden must ensure that every time an insecticide is sprayed on the lawn or garden, some percentage of that insecticide ends up in the drain that ultimately carries it to the waterways. Moreover, it is also harmful to your health in case of personal handling or being exposed to them. The far-reaching effects of artificial and chemical fertilizers are not contained to books anymore.
Owing to several economic and medical reasons, there is an urgent need to control pests in the agrochemical as well as industrial sector. It is important to balance the agricultural needs of environment and health related issues, while using insecticides. Efforts are made to minimize the amount of toxins used in insecticides, without reducing their effect on insects. This has given rise to biological insecticides, commonly known as natural or greener insecticides. Some of the greener insecticides are Bacillus Thuringiensis, Spinosyns, azadirachtin and Pyrethrum.
Billions of dollars are lost due to the damage caused by insects that leads to the poor quality of crops. Over the years, only a few discoveries have offered effective ways to combat this severe destruction. Rohm and Haas conceptualized the idea of greener insecticides. Halofenozide and Tebufenozide are the compounds that were combined with the ecdysteroid receptor, in order to regulate the molting process in specific types of insects. These compounds are very specific to this particular receptor and they do not harm other organisms. This provides farmers, consumers and society with a safer and effective technology to control insects.
Benefits of greener insecticides: Greener insecticides are beneficial in the following ways:
- They do not damage the flowers, plants and wildlife, even if they get into the waterways.
- These insecticides tend to be effective for longer hours, as compared to other commercial products. This protects the plants for more time and reduces the need of constant monitoring.
- They are completely safe for you and your pet. Your pet and family can enjoy the view and company of all the plants so carefully planted in the garden, without the fear of being bitten or developing a rash.
- They do not burn your lawn. The soil quality remains unaffected. The soil is not affected, as it is when artificial and chemical fertilizers are used.
- They are economical, compared to other commercial insecticides. This helps you to save wisely and put the money to good use, to either enhance the appearance of the garden or add to the number of plants. The same money could be used for landscaping and considering the various types of gardens that you could design and create yourself.
Examples of greener insecticides:
‘Green chemistry’ is a branch of chemistry that is designed to minimize or eliminate the use or generation of harmful substances. There are a variety of greener insecticides that help in crop protection. This branch of chemistry is dedicated to the protection of crops, even as they are pest and insect free, the natural way. Some of the examples of these greener insecticides are as follows:
- Bacillus thuringiensis: It is a biological insecticide used as a larvicide against a range of caterpillars.
- Spinosad: It is made by the fermentation of a microorganism, occurring naturally. It is highly selective towards destroying pests that attacks trees, fruits, ornamental plants, turf, vegetables and cotton without damaging important insects or predatory wasps.
- Pyrethrum: It is referred to as a natural insecticide that is made from the dried flower heads of C. cineraiifolium and C. coccineum. They belong to the daisy family, Asteraceae.
In addition to all the advantages of using greener insecticides, the feeling of immense satisfaction that you are contributing your bit to the protection of the environment surpasses all. It is wise to use greener insecticides, since they are both, useful and cost effective. The use of greener insecticides and pesticides is fast catching up and is gradually being preferred the world over. The level of awareness towards the damage caused to crops and plants by the use of chemical and artificial fertilizers is increasing. Philanthropists too, are working overtime to educate people on the natural options available.