Killing them softly

First came the rain. Then came the weeds, setting the stage for more work in the garden — and just as you were ready to settle in a comfortable chair with some iced tea and a good murder mystery! Moreover, the insects that are eating your flowers and veggies are becoming difficult to manage. Why not dispatch weeds and pests gently, without harmful chemicals? Why create residual damage in the name of insect control?

Insect control substances are called pesticides; weed killers are called herbicides. (The suffix “-cide” means “a killer of.”) Alas, such products often have unwanted and harmful effects, indiscriminately killing the good along with the bad. Being rid of thrips on your roses or squash bugs in the vegetable garden is desirable, but using something that also eliminates native bees or ladybugs is not a good idea.

Know your plants and pesticides

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