Bait or Switch - A Pest of a Question!

Spring is arriving and as the weather turns warmer, we vegetable and herb gardeners cannot wait to start planting in the expectation of bountiful harvests. But, as the seedlings emerge, so do the crawling pests. Some of the most damaging are earwigs, slugs, pillbugs, millipedes and cutworms. There are as many home remedies for controlling this damage as there are critters. Some remedies use commonly available substances and others have to be brewed. All take time, effort and money to apply.

A class of commercial products using iron phosphate and iron phosphate EDTA as the active ingredients is gaining in popularity. Since the banning of metaldehyde and other highly toxic pesticides, many gardeners rely on these products, particularly for slug control. Some products combine Spinosad with the iron and iron chelates. Spinosad is particularly toxic to honey bees. As are the neonicotinoids that have been in the news of late. There are often usage instructions such as not applying at certain times of the day. Bees may not follow this schedule and residues on plants may be in different states of toxicity.

Every gardener has to weigh the pros, cons and recurring costs of using these products. At Seed Haven, we believe all creatures have a place and should be left alone. Why take any chances at all when there is a completely safe and economical alternative?

Here are some articles that provide information on these commercial substances.

Dog Poisonings:

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/bpl/avj/2009/00000087/00000007/art00011 

http://blog.oregonlive.com/pethealth/2008/07/gardners_beware_of_socalled_pe.html

http://www.petplace.com/dogs/iron-toxicity-in-dogs/page1.aspx

Earthworm Poisonings:

http://www.biosci.ohio-state.edu/~soilecol/Full%20articles/2008/Crop%20Protection%2028.pdf 

Australian Article with Mode of Action for Iron Chelate products:

http://www.regional.org.au/au/asa/2001/6/c/young.htm

National Organic Standards Board review of above product:

https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/NOP%20Final%20Rec%20Sodium%20Ferric%20Hydroxy%20EDTA%20for%20Crops.pdf