Should all pesticides be banned for home use or just synthetic?

When I talk about banning pesticides from shops for amateur use (all non-professionals without licenses at the least), I’m really thinking about the synthetic ones like chemical sprays that indiscriminately kill all insects.

Someone recently misunderstood me and thought I meant organic, like nematodes, too. Which I didn’t.

But that got me thinking, should I mean all insecticides? Particularly for ornamental plants. What do you think?

I can understand the argument for banning even organic insecticides because we shouldn’t be killing insects etc, but given the spread of non-native ‘pests’ that may not have any predators and may decimate native species, or an imbalance in nature that means some native species may significantly increase in number, perhaps there’s an argument that at times we need to intervene. And do organic pesticides also tend to be more targeted and less indiscriminate? Alongside limiting available insecticides to organic ones, perhaps there also should be more messaging about using insecticides less frequently.

I think the case for banning the sale of chemical insecticides for amateur use is far clearer I’d guess that should probably be the aim for now.

That’s a very ‘off the top of my head’ response!

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Good points thanks Tom. I think starting with home (aka amateur) use of some of the worst pesticides is probably the best first step. E.g. things like systemic plant chemicals that kill any insect that interacts with a plant really has no place in home use, let alone carelessly sold on a shelf in Tescos where anyone could buy it and misuse it. That sort of thing is what I really object to. Treating these things a bit more like a pharmacy does with medicines. Where those qualified to use them (professionals) are the only ones allowed to buy them.

Things like contact organic pesticides and nematodes seem less harmful to a point. Though I do wonder what unknown damage it does to soil ecosystems to pour high concentrations of nematodes into them. No one’s really looked into that. I used to think organic slug pellets were sort of OK in moderation but even those I’m leaning more to being against because they’re generally unnecessary with the correct gardening set up.

It’s hard talking about synthetic vs organic because I think it’s wrong to try and divide everything like that as some chemicals are derived from organic things and some organic chemicals are still chemicals!

Anyway, some more thoughts for us all. I’m not totally set on anything about the systemic pesticides at the moment.

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I occasionally use organic slug pellets around young plants ornamental and productive. I grow these at home before taking them to the allotment. However, this year there has been a big increase in birds in the garden and I’ve hardly seen any slugs and snails so have not used at all. In blalace, although devastating to lose plants you’ve spent time and money growing, I’m not dependent on what I grow to eat or for business so can take a hit in some pest damage. Farmers and growers need to fully embrace integrated pest control and we’re getting there as long as Gov support it. Personally I use physical barriers like storing seedlings in trays surrounded by gravel and butterfly netting. I do think we need to stem the use of Glyphosate in urban areas. Some of that is better education/appreciation of ‘weeds’ as useful plants, change in grass cutting shedules which we’re already seeing and better pavement maintenance to avoid build up of problem vegitation plus alternatives to chemicals such as steam spraying. All these things become less expensive the more widespread they become. Finally I think a willingness to roll up sleeves and be part of the solution in your community if you want ‘neat and tidy’!

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Personally, I use Provanto Ultimate Bug Killer to control capsid bug on fuchsia. The fuchsia are heirloom plants which I would hate to see destroyed. Caryopteris also suffers from capsid bug in my garden and I have given up trying to grow it. I therefore spray the fuschias restrictively, once in the spring which usually works.

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