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What are Pesticide Alternatives and Why are They Sustainable?

With the ever-growing criticism of pesticides, many farmers are looking for pesticide alternatives that are better for the consumer and environment. With new technologies and products being invented every day, more and more chemical pesticide alternatives are coming to light. The first is biopesticides, which are substances or organisms that naturally deter pests. For example, there are certain types of bacteria that are safe for humans and other animals, but toxic to certain pests. Similarly, there are certain crops/spices/herbs that cause no harm to consumers but are toxic to insects. Another interesting alternative is hormonal/pheromonal pesticides, which use certain hormones to disrupt the body of insects. It can disturb their growth, reproductive abilities, and more, which ends up deterring them from the field. There are some farmers who use no substances at all, and rather use a different type of farming to keep pests away. Some of these farming methods include polyculture, which means planting multiple crops in one place as a way to mimic the natural ecosystem. Usually, the farmer will plant crops that repel the insects of the crop next to them, meaning the crops themselves act as the pesticides for each other. Similarly, there are farmers who plant strips of a certain type of grass for the insects to live in so that they don’t go to the crops and ruin them. Another way to prevent pests is to do something called biosolarization, which creates a natural pesticide in the soil. The process includes incorporating an organic matter into the soil and then covering it with a plastic tarp. Once this is done, allow the tarp to sit in the heat of the sun for a few weeks. When the process is complete, the organic matter would’ve fermented in a way that makes the soil toxic for pests but completely safe for humans. Overall, there are many alternatives to pesticides that greatly reduce the impact on the environment while also being completely safe for humans. Hopefully, these technologies will become more readily available to farmers so that we can make the shift to being chemical pesticides free!


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