When the heat comes, so do the bugs. Summer fun can bring insects that love to bug you indoors and outdoors. But before you go head out to find a pesticide to deal with the situation, take a look at our latest product investigation on pest control. Most conventional pesticides are problematic because they contain hormone-disrupting chemicals that pose a problem to the health of your family, especially young ones. And while none of us really love spiders, heading to the hardware store and grabbing an all-in-one bug spray can damage the beneficial insects outside your home that are helping you get rid of the bad bugs. Even organic pesticides should be used with care. And be extra careful of pesticide companies that ring your doorbell. Who knows what lurks in the pest control service spray. (Look for Green Shield Certified companies to protect your family if you get a professional.) You’ve trusted Mamavation to bring you themes like how to ensure you have safe water, safest protein bars, & 13 foods you don’t need to buy organic, join us now as we explore safer pesticides for your family.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Health Impacts of Toxic Pesticides, Including Ones for Home Use
Some of the most common diseases of the 21st century are linked to pesticides like asthma, autism, learning disabilities, diabetes, birth defects, infertility, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s & cancers. As the years go by, more and more of these studies are reminding us that the world of pesticides is a scary place for the development of children. Scientists are saying that we need to reconsider our dependence on synthetic pesticides every time we see a bug. It’s problematic for our health and for the planet.
Biologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber has a lot to say about the links between cancer and pesticides in the President’s Cancer Panel report:
We have sprayed pesticides … throughout our shared environment. They are now in amniotic fluid. They’re in our blood. They’re in our urine. They’re in our exhaled breath. They are in mothers’ milk … What is the burden of cancer that we can attribute to this use of poisons in our agricultural system? … We won’t really know the answer until we do the other experiment — which is to take the poisons out of our food chain, embrace a different kind of agriculture, and see what happens.
Since the widespread use of pesticides after World War II, these chemicals have found their way into 90% of our streams and rivers in the US. And this is so much of a problem that pesticides are being found in the cord blood of babies. These are pesticides that can cause real health impacts such as lung damage, cancer, and infertility.
And there are resources to help us track these things. Beyond Pesticides is a nonprofit organization that focuses on pesticides and has created a database to track all the pesticide-related diseases to warn the public about pesticide use around your home. You can use this database to scour the studies on pesticides and their perils.
But If you are slapping at skeeters and cussing out ants in the kitchen again, we’re here for you.
The Mamavation Pest Control Investigation
We checked out a number of bug repellent and pest control products and researched ingredients that are both effective and safe to use. We also looked into how these ingredients impacted beneficial insects that will also alleviate the pest problem and help your living spaces stay healthier. For instance, even with a growing swell of studies showing the hazardous effects on bees, the EPA currently refuses to ban neonicotinoid pesticides. But don’t worry, we wouldn’t recommend any of those nasty chemicals to you.
If you are in a high-risk area for insect-borne diseases, check out the Environmental Working Group’ guide to bug repellent for relevant advice for avoiding bug bites, including safer concentrations of certain pesticides that will keep you safe from chemical overdoses and dangerous diseases. (For instance, the EWG recommends DEET at or under 30 percent concentration. Stronger concentrations aren’t any more efficient.)
Protect Beneficial Insects by Avoiding Certain Chemicals
It’s true that not all bugs are bad. In fact, bees, ladybugs, monarch butterflies & spiders are among the bugs that are of benefit to us. (Yes, even if you don’t like spiders…they kill all the flies so it’s not bad to have some around that aren’t poisonous to your family.) Therefore it’s not a good idea to buy a synthetic pesticide that kills ALL the bugs around your home because some of them you want to keep. When you are looking for a pesticide to use around the house OR are interviewing a professional pesticide company make sure to avoid these chemicals:
Neonicotinoids, (including acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, nitenpyram, nithiazine, thiacloprid, and thiamethoxam)
Organophosphates are widely banned in residential areas, but it’s still possible to get a hold of products such as malathion.
P.S. Avoid glyphosate in your herbicides, which has been shown to affect beneficial insects.
Ingredients To Look For When Choosing Pest Control
And then there are ingredients and chemicals that are safer for your home and the beneficial bugs around your home. You can find them in the list below:
- Picardin (repellant)
- lemon eucalyptus oil (repellant)
- Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) and spinosadm (pesticides)
- Insecticidal soap (insecticide)
- horticultural oil (pesticide)
- diatomaceous earth (irritates adults and watch around small children)
- beneficial nematodes (microscopic beneficial predators)
- iron phosphate (kills slugs and snails)
- neem oil (pesticide)
- garlic (repellant)
- Citronella (repellant)
- Pyrethrins (insecticide)
- Borax (insecticide – use with caution)
BAD BOYS–Avoid These Brands Like the Plague
They contain beneficial insect-killing chemicals (don’t kill the good bugs), cancer-causing insecticides, and can be hazardous to touch, especially for children and pests. Some require a waiting time for harvest after pesticide spray.
- Hot Shot
- Bayer Advanced
- Bengal Combat
BETTER BRANDS–These Companies Are Safer
These contain EWG-approved concentrations of repelling chemicals and safer essential oil choices. These insecticides are usually safe for beneficial insects, and for use in the home while following instructions. Because of the change in weather patterns, it’s more common to have serious diseases transmitted through insect bites. We recognize this and would encourage certain parts of the country to use more powerful pesticides to protect children from those occurrences. This is why we have also linked up the better brands for your convenience.
- Skin So Soft Bug Guard
- Monterey (check for neonicotinoids in some formulas)
- Fairy Tales
- Burt’s Bees
- Quantum Buzz Away
- Bug Band
BEST BRANDS–These are the Good Guys to Buy From
These contain organic ingredients and mostly essential oils. They also use traps or barriers as an option for pest control.
- EarthKind Stay Away (moths, spiders, ants & mosquitos)
- The Bug Bite Thing
- Pure Haven Bug Off Spray (seasonal release)
- Baxter’s Naturals
- Garden Safe
- Repel (lemon eucalyptus oil-based)
- Shake Away
- Nature’s Care
- DoTerra Terrashield
- Now Foods
- Bed Bug Patrol
- Swamp Gator
- Home Sentinel
- Garlic Scentry
- Victor M380 Fly Magnet
- Rocky Mountain Oils
- Arbico Organics
- Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade
- California Baby
Want More Tips On How to Detoxify Your Home?
Pick up a copy of Green Enough: Eat Better, Live Cleaner, Be Happer (All Without Driving Your Family Crazy!). If you are interested in removing most of the hormone-disrupting chemicals inside the products of your home, this book will become your bible, so to speak. And it’s also very easy to read, digestible and funny. Yes, really. Inside you’ll find product investigations on safer kitchen appliances, food, personal care, cleaning products, food packaging, bakeware, cookware, and disposable dinnerware.
Questions From You
Is there any product you think we have missed or would like us to look into? Please put them below in the comment section so we can consider it when we revisit this post for an update. Thank you!
*Have you studied Miracle-Gro for safety?
*Any other fertilizers?
*And weed killers?
Amazing post, this is so informative. Do you think Skin So Soft Bug Guard, Cutter, Repel or Terro is the best brand?
Wildthings Natural Bugspray! 🙂
I can tell you work super hard on your posts and I just wanted to say great job! Also, this particular post was most helpful to me. Thanks a million – Randy
Townsville Termite Specialist
Glad to come across this post, it’s very informative! Thanks for the thorough mamavation pest control investigation! Whether summer or the cold weather, there’s always a kind of pest to look out for. I have been recently searching for oranic pest control products and this article of yours sure coms in handy.
What do you suggest to help get rid of ticks in your yard?
I did not see Buggins Insect Repellent on the list (Bugg Products, LLC, P.O. Box 129, Long Lake, MN 55356). The active ingredients are essential oils 2.11% and “other ingredients” 97.89%. It says “this plant based formula contains no DEET or alcohol.” I always wonder about “other ingredients!” Thanks for the research that you do! Kitty
Wildthings Natural Bugspray!! Amazing stuff – they have a water-based formula that can be sprayed on clothes and gear (smells wonderful – comes in lavender, citrus wildflower and forest scents), and also an oil-based formula in jojoba oil for skin. Off the charts for ticks, skeeters, no-see-ums!!!! They also have a home spray for ants at home that you only need to spray once or twice and the ants are gone forever. All natural, just essential oils, mostly organic. Doesn’t kill bugs (it’s non-toxic to beneficials) – just repels them incredibly well. Small company, but a great product. http://www.cedarberry.net or http://www.wildthingsbugspray.com Katie at Kitchen Stewardship rates them #1
Thanks for sharing this very informative article. I learned a lot from this. As much as possible I want to use a non toxic pesticide because I want my family to be secure and away from those chemicals that will harm them.
The pest control company my husband works for uses Eco-via for their organic customer requests. He also told me that Terro is a very good product and works almost instantly. Terro kills scorpions like evil magic, something that’s greatly appreciated here in Arizona. lol
Yes, Terro was in our “better” list! I’ll make sure to check out EcoVia and see where we can add it. Thanks!