I recommend against using any pesticides at all, but if you must, please use something safer than the extremely toxic chemicals widely available. Many of the non-organic pesticides are not biodegradable and they stay in the environment forever, killing off wildlife and polluting water systems that we rely on.
If you only grow organically, it’s important to make sure that any pesticide you use is OMRI certified. The Organic Materials Review Institute is a non-profit organization that decides what is considered organic and allowed for use in organic growing. Products certified by this organization are allowed to be used under the USDA National Organic Program, and within Canada’s organic standards as well.
Neem oil is one of the most common organic pesticides. It is naturally occurring and extracted from the seeds of the neem tree. Neem oil is biodegradable, so you don’t have to worry about it lingering around in the environment. While it is very toxic to insects, it can be potentially mildly toxic to humans, so it’s best to wash any food you grow well before consuming it. Neem oil is also very effective in controlling fungal infections on plants.
GrowSafe is a proprietary blend, so the ingredients aren’t fully known. It claims to be safe for bees, which is great because the bee population has been severely declining due to pesticides. It is known to work against spider mites, powdery mildew, aphids, and whitefly. GrowSafe is OMRI certified. It works by creating a long-lasting coating on plants, this layer lasts for 7 days before you need to spray again. GrowSafe does NOT work agaisnt caterpillars, so if you need something for caterpillars then check out the pesticide below.
Monterey B.t. is used for caterpillar and worm type insects like cabbage looper, bagworm, gypsy moth, fall cankerworm, elm spanworm, and other similar organisms. This pesticide isn’t supposed to kill bees, earthworms, or lady bugs if used as directed. This pesticides active ingredients are bacillus thuringiensis subspecies kurstaki strain SA-12 solids, spores, and lepidopteran.