Friday, May 17, 2013

The Difference between Herbicides and Pesticides

I have used herbicides and pesticides interchangeable in my thoughts and in my writings, not knowing the difference between these two terms.  It is clear, however, that we want to get rid of the pests that require these chemicals.  The pests can be in any shape and form.  We are most familiar with insects and weeds, fungi and microorganisms, even plants, mammals, birds, and fish are classified under the heading of pests.

The reason that they are considered pests is because they compete with us humans for food, spreading disease, and destroying property.  You have heard of termites, have you not?

Pesticides are chemicals, biological agents, or disinfectants.  They are made to repel, control, and terminate pests to make our lives less troublesome.  The classification of pesticides is often based on the type of organism it is designed to target and kill.  Basically, insecticide is merely a type of pesticide designed to  kill insects.

Some herbicides are made to specifically eradicate certain plants e.g. dandelion, crabgrass, and dollar weed.  Selective herbicides are often used on golf courses, lawns, and gardens.  Other herbicides do not discriminate but kill every plant it touches.  The latter may be used to kill greenery along railroads.

Additionally, herbicide is just a category of pesticide along with fungicides, rodenticides, nematicides and algicides.  It should be noted that some, if not all, are toxic to humans and animals.  It is extremely important that caution be taken when using these chemicals.  Gloves should always be worn and that goes for masks to cover mouth and nose.  By all means, use goggles, too, and shower after using these chemicals.

Here are some suggested safe solutions for landscapes and houseplants:

Insecticidal Soap:  Mix 4 tablespoons of liquid dish soap with 1 gallon (almost 4 liters) of water.  Spray liberally to combat aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites.

Horticultural Oils:  Mix 2 tablespoons liquid dish soap and 2 tablespoons of vegetable cooking oil in 1 gallon (almost 4 liters) of water.  Spray liberally, especially undersides and leaves.  This will control mealybugs, scales, and spider mites.

Coffee Grounds and Tea Bags:  Don't throw out the coffee grounds and tea bags.  The tannic acid prevents mosquito larvae from hatching.  Use the grounds and bags in damp places where mosquitoes are seen.

Beer:  Share your beer with slugs and snails.  Put a small container of beer on the ground to attract these pests.

Hair Shampoo:  This is a health warning!  It involves shampoo when used to wash your hair in the shower.  When I wash my hair with the shampoo with the label "For Extra Body and Volume," it runs down my whole body.  No wonder I have been gaining weight!  Well, I got rid of that shampoo and I am now going to start using Dawn Dishwashing Soap.  Its label reads "Dissolves fat that is otherwise difficult to remove."

Have a great weekend.  I'll return on Tuesday.  
As always, thank you for visiting my blog.  Please, leave a message.

1 comment:

  1. Oops! I for got to list my Sources: and
    U IFAS Extension