Natural law

Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s necessarily eco-friendly. At least that’s the take-home message from a University of Guelph study that found some natural pesticides are worse for the environment than conventional chemical pesticides. The main reason is because the natural ones may require larger doses, reports Science Daily.

Researchers in the study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, tested six pesticides—two conventional, two reduced-risk pesticides, a mineral oil-based one that smothers aphids, and a fungus that infects and kills pests—and their effectiveness in killing soybean aphids. They looked at how well the pesticides targeted the aphids while leaving “good” bugs like ladybugs and flowerbugs alone.

In this study, the natural pesticides were less effective and killed beneficial insects more so than synthetic pesticides. The researchers warned against making pest management decisions based solely on whether something is natural or synthetic and to instead look at every compound and its overall environmental impact.