What Is The Difference Between Organic And Synthetic Over-The-Counter Insecticides?

Over-the-counter insecticides come in many forms including liquids, aerosol cans, baits, sticky traps, dusts, and more. Despite the widespread popularity of environmentally friendly and non-toxic pest control methods, studies show that the vast majority of Americans use at least one synthetic insecticide product once per year. However, the demand for non-toxic pest control products has led to an influx of over-the-counter pesticides that are advertised as being “organic,” or “natural.” However, while these insecticides may be organic, there is no reason to think that they are non-toxic.

In order for an insecticide to be labeled as organic, it must be demonstrated that the insecticide contains only naturally occurring substances as opposed to substances synthesized in a laboratory. Most over-the-counter organic insecticides are composed of botanical extracts that are either repellent or toxic to insect pests. In order to defend against damage or death from hungry insects, a countless number of plant species produce defensive chemicals that either repel and/or kill insects. Such plants have been used for centuries for pest control purposes, and some over-the-counter insecticides that contain botanical insect repellents may be effective in certain situations. That being said, organic insecticides can be just as or even more toxic than synthetic insecticides.

Synthetic and organic over-the-counter insecticides both work by negatively impacting the physical body, metabolism, or development of insect pests. While both organic and synthetic products are toxic to insects, both can be toxic to humans as well, as numerous naturally occurring substances are poisonous to humans. One particular over-the-counter organic insecticide known as Rotenone is used to control chewing insect pests, and it is highly popular among consumers due to its efficacy and the rapid rate at which it degrades from the surfaces after application. Unfortunately, in its concentrated form, Rotenone is more toxic to humans than any professional-grade synthetic insecticide. Also, the modern pest control industry no longer favors synthetic insecticides as the primary method of pest control due to the inevitable resistance that insect pests develop in response to repeated treatments; instead, low-toxicity chemical baits, pheromone baits, and insect growth regulators have supplanted synthetic insecticides sprays as the most reliable method of pest control.

Were you under the impression that organic insecticides were inherently safer than synthetic insecticides?

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