The word “insecticide” refers to any product that is designed to actually kill a pest insect in some way. The word “pesticide” refers to all products that kill including ‘herbicides’ that kill weeds, ‘fungicides’ the kill fungal spores, and ‘insecticides’ that kill insects. The terms can be confusing. If you want to kill bugs, you want an ‘insecticide’. In many cases, you can solve a pest insect problem without having to go to that extreme.
An astounding statistic is that 98% of all insects never survive to full maturity. They succumb to the songbirds, to the beneficial insects that feed on pest insects, but mostly they die because of the weather. It can be too hot or too cold or too wet for a particular species at a particular time of the year; result is many dead insects. Of those 2% that survive, only about 5% of those survivors can be considered potential problems in the home landscape. In other words, in most cases, you don’t have to blow away the neighborhood to solve most pest insect problems.
HOW CAN WE RECOMMEND ONLY ORGANIC CONTROL PRODUCTS?
Easy. In the past ten years new organic products have been introduced that are just as effective as the synthetic products used over the past 50 years. The synthetic products all kill the target insect but they all had one or more side effects that was not so good; killing earthworms, kill beneficial soil microbes, etc.
IN EACH INSECT FILE IN YARDENER.COM WE TRY TO GIVE YOU THE OPTIONS YOU MIGHT CONSIDER FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL PEST INSECT. FIND THAT FEATURE ANYWHERE ELSE.
So there is no need for generalizations. We will help you decide right in the file about the pest insect you need to control. We give you all your options:
You always have a number of options before needing to resort to a product that actually kills the bugger.
You can sometimes wash it off the plant and it will stay off. There is an insect repelling wand available, although a regular watering wand does a fair job.
You can sometimes pick off enough with your (ughhh!) fingers to bring the problem under control.
You can sometimes use a product that actually repels the pest insect in some way. Neem oil soap, garlic, and hot pepper wax are examples of insect repellents.
You can use a product that serves as a barrier to the pest insect preventing it from getting on to the target plant. Diatomaceous earth is often used as a barrier for some insects.
You can sometimes use some kind of trapping device to catch the insects; usually you will dispose of them is some way, so this is a form of insecticide. You can trap yellow jackets, slugs, and flies to name a few targets easily trapped. See Insect Traps
Finally, if all else fails, you need to use an insecticide, a product that kills the problem insect. Here you again have a number of choices, the first being whether you feel strongly about using only natural pest controls or whether you are comfortable with synthetic products.