5: Biopesticides

As you read in the opening section, DDT works well as an insecticide but isn't good for the animals that come in contact with it. Research has shown DDT to cause reproductive ailments in birds, such as thinner egg shells. This is an example of a manmade chemical produced to improve the quality of human life. But what happens when it damages the environment?

This is something to consider the next time you spray an insecticide on your lawn: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there's some inherent danger to humans and other living creatures from chemical pesticides. But what if you could control pests without harming the environment?

Biopesticides are growing in popularity due to their innate properties. A biopesticide is a chemical made from natural occurring elements that control the insect population rather than kill it. A pheromone pesticide, for instance, disrupts the mating patterns of some insects such as moths and butterflies in the lepidopteran group. These pheromones only affect the targeted insects and have no adverse effects on other animals. Some biopesticides contain scents that lure insects into traps. Others known as microbial pesticides use microorganisms to kill insects. Milky Spore is one such type of microbial pesticide. Once spread, lawn grubs ingest Milky Spore in the soil. Then, within days, bacteria grow and kill the grubs from within. Milky Spore has no effect on beneficial birds and insects.