Oils from culinary herbs can be used as a natural pesticide


According to Murray Isman, an entomologist at the University of British Columbia Canada, oils from herbs such as mint, rosemary, thyme and other herbs are gaining favor with farmers as natural alternatives to synthetic pesticides.

The oils repel insects in the same way that chili peppers can repel elephants. Some oils even kill pests outright.

These all natural pesticides were originally used for the perfume and food flavoring industries and are available wholesale but companies are currently working on bringing these oils to store shelves.

The plant oils interfere with the insect's nervous system making the muscles hyperactive to the point of death. They can also cause fatal leakages of fluids which disrupts the cellular membranes of the insects.

The plant oils are most effective against small, soft-bodied bugs that suck on plant juices, such as aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites.

Murray Isman says, "Small, soft-bodied insects are more vulnerable to having their membranes melted or smothered by the oils.

The oil-based pesticides evaporate quickly and degrade rapidly in sunlight. As a result, they have to be reapplied every few days, compared to every few weeks for conventional pesticides.

At the end of the day, what matters is how much it costs and the health and environmental impacts. And there the plant-based pesticides have an advantage."



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