Which Pesticide Should You Use? | Organic Gardening

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There are many kinds of pesticides out there in the gardening world for you to choose from. But which one do you use? Find out in this informative article.

When it comes to natural gardening, how do you know which pesticide to use? Find out here!

Read the article below, and watch a discussion of these gardening tools, along with some additional information here:

This article focuses on the pesticides that are currently approved for use in organic gardens, simply because that is the type of gardening that I do. One of the primary reasons that I have gardens here on the homestead, is because I want to know where my food comes from, as much as possible. And I want to have a say in how the vegetables and other things are grown. I don’t want to bring any sort of harsh pesticide into my environment. Really, avoiding harsh chemicals of any sort is a big deal for me. 

Many years ago, when I lived in Germany, my preschooler son had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a very common household product. That is that catalyst that made me think for the first time about we have in our homes. Later, that began expanding into what we put in our bodies. It’s why I make lots of homemade, gentler products like laundry soap, bug repellent, household & glass cleaner, or even weed killer.

I do have three recipes for homemade garden insect spray here on Cosmopolitan Cornbread, click here to read the article

Now before you panic at the first sight of a bug in your garden, snap a photo and look online to identify it if you aren’t sure what it is. Make sure it is actually a bad bug. There are many insects that are attracted to your garden that are wonderfully beneficial. Not only are there the pollinators, but there are also predatory insects that will hunt down and eat the bad bugs you don’t want.

But additionally, even if you see some bad ones, it doesnt mean you should reach for the spray. Currently, a couple of my tomato plants have some aphids on them. But I haven’t sprayed them with anything. Why?

Because my tomato plants are also covered with lady bugs. Lady bugs LOVE aphids. My tomato plants are strong and healthy, and are showing no signs of stress or harm. So I am letting the ladybugs do their thing and not worrying about the aphids.

Now my beans are another issue. They have been hit and hit HARD this year already. I have had Mexican bean beetles, cucumber beetles and even some Colorado potato beetles. I have HAD to spray those plants because they were being completely decimated. At this point I am hoping that the plants can recover enough to provide some beans for us this year.

So really, weigh the pros and cons before spraying your plants. Remember, less is better when at all possible.

This guide in particular is going to focus on commercially prepared treatments that you can pick up at your local garden supply store, or to use as inspiration for your own mixtures.

Not every “bug treatment” out there works for every pest, so choosing the right one is very important. Here is a list of the most commonly used pesticides, currently on the “approved for organic gardening” list, and which pests they are effective for.

Neem Oil

  • Aphids
  • Asparagus Beetles
  • Caterpillars (Cabbage  Butterflies, Diamondback Moths, Loopers, Army Worms)
  • Colorado Potato Beetles
  • Cucumber Beetles
  • Cutworms
  • Flea Beetles
  • Pickleworms
  • Squash bugs
  • Whiteflies

Insecticidal Soap

  • Aphids
  • Spider Mites
  • Whiteflies

BT (bacillus thuringiensis)

  • Caterpillars (Cabbage  Butterflies, Diamondback Moths, Loopers, Army Worms)

Beauveria bassiana

  • Aphids

Nosema locistae

  • Grasshoppers

Paraffinic Oil

  • Aphids (on potato plants)
  • Spider Mites
  • Thrips
  • Whiteflies


  • Bean Leaf Beetles
  • Caterpillars (Cabbage  Butterflies, Diamondback Moths, Loopers, Army Worms)
  • Colorado Potato Beetles
  • Corn Earworms
  • Cowpea Curculio
  • Cucumber Beetles
  • Cutworms
  • European Corn Borers
  • Fall Armyworms
  • Flea Beetles
  • Fruitworms
  • Harlequin Bugs
  • Hornworms
  • Mexican Bean Beetle
  • Stink Bugs
  • Tomato Pinworms
  • Yellowmargined Leaf Beetles


  • Spider Mites (on tomatoes, beans, peas)

Diatomaceous earth

I can’t complete this article without discussing Diatomaceous earth (DE.) DE is used for killing insects, primarily ones that have exoskeletons. DE is microscopic fossilized diatoms. It is also extremely sharp on a microscopic level. It works by scoring the exoskeleton of the insect and causing it to dry out and die. DE is not discriminatory about what it will kill.  DE works great, but only works while it is dry. Once it rains or your plants get wet, you will need to reapply.


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