What are Biorational Pesticides?A biorational pesticide (insecticide) is one that is environmentally friendly, organic, and commercially produced. (See Table 1.)
The routine examination of garden plants, or scouting, helps to determine when pest problems are reaching a critically damaging threshold. Scouting also helps to determine the stage (larva, pupa, adult) of the insects. Insect traps can be used to monitor insect populations before they build up to harmful thresholds. If damage is noticed before an insect population is firmly established and when the insect is at a vulnerable stage, many problems can be easily thwarted by environmentally-kind measures ranging from hand-picking to hosing off the insects with water to using soaps and oils.
Gardeners must make decisions on when to apply a pesticide, by analyzing their expectations of "perfect" produce and recognizing the trade-offs involved in seeking the perfect product. Damage thresholds are related to both the level of damage a plant can tolerate, called injury threshold, and the amount of damage a gardener can tolerate, called aesthetic tolerance. Such trade-offs include potential harmful effects to soil and water quality, encouraging resistance to pesticides within pests, and possibly killing beneficial insects. Caution: honey bees actively forage in your garden during the day, so to avoid bee kill apply insecticide in the evening after the bees return to their hives.
When chemical pesticides are necessary, use the least toxic one available and only spot spray. Carefully follow the label instructions and wear gloves, goggles, and long-sleeved clothing. Ready-to-use, premixed products are convenient and avoid the problem of disposing of out-of-date, unused chemicals. For your safety and the safety of others, securely lock up all pesticides. (See Table 2.)