Question: I really don’t want to use pesticides. Are there good alternatives to insecticides and fungicides? What about using things like detergent, pepper sprays, baking soda and vinegar?

Answer: Use them on a trial basis. If they seem to help, and if you’re comfortable with the results and any risks that may be associated with them, use them. However, note that many of these remedies have not shown high efficiency when given serious university testing. Most are relatively harmless to people, but you definitely need to think twice when you’re dealing with the more toxic home products and remedies. Conventional insecticides and fungicides have gone through millions of dollars’ worth of testing and proof before they could be sold for pest control. You can trust them to do what they claim they will do, and to do it efficiently and safely. As always, however, read and follow the label directions implicitly. And, before you get to the spraying stage, try all other possible avenues of control. Plant resistant species that are known not to have serious pest problems. Use mechanical and biological controls whenever they are available, and use recommended organic controls as they are appropriate. When all of these means fail, and before the problem is at the crisis level, treat confined areas with a labeled insecticide or fungicide.

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