View Full Version : Banned Pesticides & Herbicides

Green in Idaho
09-19-2003, 01:03 AM
How about this for more fun?

Let's start a thread listing all of the banned pesiticides and herbicides that were previously legal and widely used.

So to qualify it can be either

A) previously approved for regular use and is today not legal for consumers to use, or

B) previously approved for regular consumer use and now only licensed applicators can use it, or

C) previously approved and NO ONE can legally use it today.

Barrels of FUN!!!!

I'll start with DDT and agent orange.

Picture of DDT spraying.

09-19-2003, 02:10 AM
What does this have to do with organics? I think this is the LawnSite Organic Lawn Care Forum, not the LawnSite Anti-Pesticide Soapbox.

Green in Idaho
09-19-2003, 10:28 AM
It has to do with the REASON for using organics. :dizzy:

Hometown Lawn Care
09-19-2003, 11:15 AM
I know what Agent orange does, but what does ddt do?

Green in Idaho
09-19-2003, 12:30 PM
DDT was widely used for mosquito control (hence the photo). It was also well used for it's general pesticide qualities.

It is a good example of how some pesticides have HELPED us in some regards when we look at the short term. It was used in response to malaria and typhus.

It is also a good example of how "approval" does not always mean the product is safe for long-term use.

Here is a clip from an appropriate organiztion -The Peregrine Fund:

Orginally it was thought that DDT was a safe pesticide for killing insects. It was later learned that it does not readily break down. Instead, it accumulates in the environment and subsequently in the food chain, affecting many other species. For example, one study showed that birds eating fish had a DDT level that was 85,000 times higher than the DDT level in the lake water.

Extensive use of DDT began just after World War II. DDT caused peregrine falcons to lay thin-shelled eggs which were either crushed during incubation or simply did not hatch. The result was that Peregrine Falcon populations suffered dramatic declines. In 1970 the species was gone as a breeding bird from the entire eastern United States and had declined by 80 to 90 percent gone in the western United States. Arctic nesting Peregrine Falcons were also impacted and decreased by 50 percent

BTW the Peregrine Fund in based in Idaho.:D It does world-wide efforts to protect birds of prey- http://www.peregrinefund.org/index.html

I like eagles!

09-19-2003, 12:58 PM
I'm inclined to agree with Jim. We're not here to debate organics versus synthetics. I'd rather stick to the idea that there are customers wanting to start or continue their organic programs and you guys are here to help. The reason(s) for going to an organic program are really immaterial once the decision is made. And it is not until the decision is made that you guys get involved.

I suppose you could influence whether to go organic but DDT should not be in the discussion - IMHO.

Green in Idaho
09-19-2003, 02:03 PM
Originally posted by Dchall_San_Antonio
And it is not until the decision is made that you guys get involved.

I suppose you could influence whether to go organic - IMHO.

And how would one do that (influence a decision) without knowing the full background to the issue?

Someone who operates with organic methods is for sure going to have to explain WHY at some point.

Why don't you use Lindane any more?
Why can't I find Diazinon on the shelf any more?
Why can my husband use Dursban in his field but I can't use it on my lawn?

There is also the WHY NOT questions...

"Why not use X to control the ants instead?"
"You want me spend 20% more with you than with ChemLawn. Why NOT use ChemLawn?"

When people ask me why I avoid chemicals, I offer examples, like DDT. Then money no longer becomes an issue. :D I don't say, "Well they are both equal alternative and I know nothing about the history of the pesiticide industy so I guess you might as well flip a coin..."

For an organic-based operator, the competition IS synthetics. Any good salesman knows there are basics of selling one product over the competition. One has to be prepared for the staple questions, and one has to be able to compare their product vs. the alternative. If you were selling Tiger Woods over O.J. Simpson, what would YOU lead with?

Education of the customer and selling the benefits of organics over chemicals are essential to a SUCCESSFUL organic BUSINESS. And yes it is proper education, not rhetoric like "anti-pesticide soapbox" connotations.

David if you want to talk about being an order taker for lawn services, fine. "If they call you and ask for it, you will be ready. Good luck people!" But that is not going to help anyone increase sales. No sales= no biz, and two years later people will be saying, "I don't understand why organics doesn't sell to my customers."

Remember MOST people do not know about bans, and the details of pesticides just like Hometown they haven't heard of it. Organics will become more viable when the populus is informed and reminded of the status quo; more organic production will occure and lower costs will enter the market, and whala everyone will be happy!

As far as "debating", it is only a debate when there is an opponent (competitor). A simple list of banned chemicals is hardly a debate!

09-19-2003, 03:07 PM
Ok mostly I'm still in the listening mode here. I do have an opinion about this however. Simple...... Theres no such thing as being too informed. I for one appreciate Green in Idaho taking the time to contribute useful background info. IMHO. Theres to much bickering going on. If the info is acurate and informative I'm all for it.

09-19-2003, 04:20 PM
I agree with the not here to debate organics versus synthetics,That could get ugly.
However I do think it is a positive to be informed on why these things were regulated and what there long term effects are.
I think it helps with the discussion for people wanting to go organic.Not looking for a pi..ing contest, but information is always good if it is presented properly.

09-19-2003, 04:46 PM
If the information was the absolute truth, it might not be a problem. But the problem is that people can present AND interpret the information different ways and draw different conclusions from the same information. Of course that's what makes the world go round, but that is also the definition of bickering.

Should every one of us go out and read "Silent Spring" before we continue this? That book is the one about the bird's eggs being softened by birds eating insects covered with DDT which leads to crushed eggs. Ergo if you use DDT, you have no birds and the springtime is silent from the lack of birds singing.

I think there is room for order takers here - at least at this point. Green In Idaho is well beyond the experience level where most of the readers of this forum are at this point. Up until a few weeks ago, some of the readers have not even been able to take the orders, because when they heard the word "organic," they drew a complete and total blank. If there are any of those readers around anymore, they haven't been reading very closely. Judging by the numbers of readers on certain messages, I'm going to guess that there are between 50 and 70 of you who are actually now able to hold an excellent conversation (including an aggressive sales pitch) about organic fertilizer and possibly even a few who could talk about herbicide.

On the subject of insecticide, half the topic of this thread, I would say that there are no approved synthetic chemicals allowed in the organic control of turf or garden insects. This is in my program. I'm more relaxed about spot applications of selective herbicides, but not for insecticides. If any good ones come along, I'll let you know. But to my way of thinking, there are few acceptable substitutes for natural control and those few are by and large natural occurring substances that happen to work.

Instead of synthetic insecticides, organic gardeners rely on bats (which are difficult to attract to specific yards and they have horrible public relations :) ), birds (which people generally find ways to invite to the garden), predatory insects (which they can buy or simply not kill the ones they have), reptiles (lizards and geckoes), toads, beneficial nematodes, and bacteria and fungi and their natural "exudates" (which occur in relatively large amounts in healthy organic soil). There are also certain naturally occuring oils and diatomacious earth that kill insects, but I shy away from those because they are nonselective in nature. I do use them but try not to as a first line of defense where beneficial insects are likely to be. It depends on whether the insect in question may be carrying a human disease or just eating plant juices. Somewhere between ticks and aphids is a line. There are also safe, natural products/materials to use on the plants themselves which build the plant's immune system against damaging insects. I'm still working on the FAQ for insect control.

Let's see how this topic goes. If we can keep the opinions from clouding up the information, maybe it will work.

09-19-2003, 04:53 PM
Agreed on the opinions versus fact.
Great to have you here.

09-20-2003, 08:50 AM
David - what is your opinion on Bt?

09-21-2003, 03:23 AM
Bt, Bacillus thuringensis (buh-SILL-us thur-en-GEN-sis), is a disease that kills various insects in their larval stages. Caterpillars take a bite of a plant with Bt on it and they stop eating, turns brownish, and never turn into a cocoon. It seems to be harmless to higher order animals like mammals, fish, reptiles, and birds. Caterpillars are best known of the targets for Bt. Another variation of Bt, called Bti for Israeliensis, kills mosquitoes and fungus gnats when dispersed into streams, ponds, and bird baths.

I've never used the straight Bt products and don't know first hand how well they work. I use Bti in the form of mosquito dunks as mosquito traps in my yard. I have a 5-gallon bucket half full of water with a mosquito attractant hung over the edge. Then I float a quarter of a mosquito dunk in the water to kill the larvae. I can tell when I need a new piece of dunk because I'll start seeing the wigglers in the water after about a month. Two days after I "redunk" I have no more wigglers.

I have also noticed that the bucket with the Bti in it never gets algae on it. In fact, if I start with a bucket covered in algae, in a month or so all the algae is gone. I'm not sure if it is the Bti killing/cleaning the algae or something else in the dunk, but it seems to work. I first noticed the algae effect in a bird bath I inherited with this house. The bath had a black bottom that was slippery with algae when wet. I kept the bath filled for years and always dumped it out every 10 days or 2 weeks to keep the skeeters down. Then I started putting dunks in it and noticed that all the algae went away and I could see the concrete bottom again. When I drained it the algae was really all gone - I could see the little pores from the original concrete pour (before bifocals), so it was cleaned off clicker than a whistle.

One of my organic gurus has experience with Bt. He says he applied it to his tomatoes in 2001 and not since. He planted tomatoes in the same bed in 2002. He is religious about spraying seaweed and molasses on his plants every 2 weeks. He claimed last year that he saw tomato horn worms turn brownish and die as if they had become infected with Bt although he had not applied Bt for a year. He believes the Bt continues to kill the caterpillars due to residual Bt in his soil that is kept active by the seaweed/molasses spray. I believe he is seeing what he claims to see but I'm not sure he's got the death mechanism perfect. He used to teach high school biology, so he's no dummy at this.

An issue with Bt is that a patented a corn species (called "Bt - Corn") that has the Bt genes built into it to kill caterpillars. Same with Bt - Cotton. There seems to be some concern that some caterpillars are developing a resistance to Bt. I don't know if it has anything to do with genetically modified crops or not.

Another issue with Bt is that beneficial caterpillars are killed along with the pests. Beneficial caterpillars are those that eat the leaves of plants that either nobody cares about or those that eat the leaves of plants that recover so fast that nobody cares.

And the last issue I'm aware of is that many, many butterflies and moths are important pollinators and may very well be the ONLY pollinator for certain species of plants. An interesting side to this is that the butterflies and moths don't usually pollinate the same plants that their caterpillars eat. So the caterpillars could be considered pests on one plant while the butterfly or moth could be considered critically beneficial to others.

From the point of view of the lawn professional, the only caterpillar I can think of that might need Bt treatment would be sod webworms. You guys know the lawn critters better than I do. I just don't seem to get them.

09-21-2003, 12:21 PM
Thanks, David. I've used Bt in the past with moderate-to-great success. My question is this: is Bt acceptable in an organic program. Thanks!

09-21-2003, 04:20 PM
Yes, Bt is acceptable in an organic program.

12-11-2003, 11:34 PM
Nicotine was used as a pesticide. It was banned because it was too toxic. Clue for you smokers??? :D

03-02-2004, 09:36 PM
BT Kurstaki is for worms and BT San Diego is for beetles. Bt does not affect beneficial insects like Lady bugs, lace wings or mantis. But, beneficial worms? I don't know about that one.