Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Green Gardening : How to eliminate bugs and pests without using poison

Town of Orangetown
Environmental Committee

at the Pearl River Library
80 Franklin Avenue
Pearl River, NY 10965

All workshops are FREE.

Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners
Tuesday, May 10th, 7:00 p.m
with Charles and Pam Paolino of Hook Mountain Growers, a micro-farm in Upper Nyack

The Health Threats of Toxic Pesticide Use on Lawns
Wednesday, May 18th, 7:00 p.m.
with community organizer and educator Rose Marie Raccioppi

Smart, Green Landscaping with Native Plants
Tuesday, May 24th, 7:00 p.m.
with landscape designer, Rebecca Gmucs
Pearl River Library is located at 80 Franklin Ave, Pearl River, NY 10965

All workshops are FREE!

For more information about the Spring Environmental Workshop Series or about the Orangetown Environmental Committee, check the town website at or contact Larry Soehnel Sr. at (845) 365-2173 or

Green gardening secrets:
How to eliminate bugs and pests
without using poison

Wednesday, May 04, 2011 by: Neev M. Arnell

(NaturalNews) As people are turning away from chemical ingredients in everything from cleaning products to beauty products, they are also turning to chemical-free foods by growing food in their own backyards.

In order to keep your homegrown produce as free from harmful chemicals as possible while keeping crop-destroying pests to a minimum use natural pest control methods. If prevention doesn't get the job done, try some home remedies first. As a last resort, you can turn to organic pesticide--just make sure all the ingredients are listed and they are all things you are not afraid to put on your food.


Preventing pest problems before they start is the best way get ahead of the problem ( You can do this by following some commonsense guidelines, such as pulling out any weak or already infected plants, building healthy soil to nurture strong plant growth, disinfecting tools after working on infected plants and minimizing breeding grounds for pests by getting rid of non-essential areas of the garden that might serve as a habitat. It is also useful to interplant and rotate crops because it will stop spreading or reinfestation of the many pests that are specific to one type of plant.

Fight nature with nature

Naturally attracting beneficial insects to your garden is one way to fight pests. These insects will prey on plant-damaging pests or their larvae and promote a healthier environment for your crops. Different predator species have different prey, so the type of predator insect you want to promote in your garden will depend on the type of pest problem you are dealing with.

Two commonly used predator insects include ladybugs and lacewings. ( Ladybugs eat whiteflies scale, mites and aphids and are attracted to tansy, members of the daisy family and yarrow ( Lacewings are also attracted yarrow as well as goldenrod, asters and black-eyed susan. They eat aphids and their larvae eat aphids as well as other varieties of insects.

University of Rhode Island Horticulture Program recommends dedicating five to ten percent of your garden space to growing flowers for beneficial insects like lady bugs and lacewings (

URI suggestion for annual flowers to encourage beneficial insects:

Spring: alyssum and buckwheat
Early summer: coriander, dill, yarrow and buckwheat
Mid-summer: coriander, fennel, dill, caraway, black-eyed susan, yarrow and dwarf sunflowers
Late summer: coriander, dill, black-eyed susan and dwarf sunflowers
Fall: alyssum, buckwheat and dwarf sunflowers

Homemade pest deterrents

If pests are still problematic homemade pesticides may provide the solution ( Ants, for example, are deterred by vinegar and coffee grounds, aphids by garlic and cayenne pepper, and slugs by eggshells.

There are as many different home pest concoctions as there are pests. Using garlic and onions, according to Mother Earth News, is just one way to kill aphids and apple borers, for instance. All you have to do is grind up raw onions or garlic into a puree, soak it warm water overnight and strain. The liquid can then be sprayed on roses, fruit trees, and flowers (

Commercial pesticides

Organic pesticides will often use ingredients similar to those in the homemade kind and have the added benefit of convenience. But consumers beware, just because a pesticide is labeled organic or natural does not mean that it is harmless to the environment.

A 2010 study from the University of Guelph revealed that some organic pesticides can have a higher environmental impact than conventional pesticides because the organic product may require larger doses.

"We found the mineral oil organic pesticide had the most impact on the environment because it works by smothering the aphids and therefore requires large amounts to be applied to the plants," said Rebecca Hallett, professor of environmental sciences at the University of Guelph in Canada (

Organic pesticides on the market often also only list active ingredients. But the active ingredients only comprise 1-2 percent of the solution, leaving 98-99 percent unknown. Nearly 4,000 inert ingredients--including several hundred that are considered hazardous under other federal rules--are used in agricultural and residential pesticides, according to Environmental Health News (http://www.environmentalhealthnews....).

"In terms of making pest management decisions and trying to do what is best for the environment, it's important to look at every compound and make a selection based on the environmental impact quotient rather than if it's simply natural or synthetic," said Hallett.

For those who do want to use organic pesticides, one that is effective against a number of pesticide-resistant insects and does not harm beneficial insects is neem oil. Also, being that it is biodegradable, it does not leave a residue on the final produce. Nature Neem offers a 100 percent cold pressed neem oil, so there are no other ingredients. Because it is oil it requires an emulsifier in order to mix with water, but it is possible to use household hand washing or dishwashing soaps.

Pharm Solutions Inc. is a company that also sidesteps the unknown ingredients pitfall by listing all ingredients on the label. Its Veggie Pharm insecticide and fungicide ( is made with the pure oils of cottonseed, garlic, peppermint and rosemary. The inactive ingredients include non-GMO canola oil, food grade oleic acid, and USP grade glycerin and carbonic acid monopotassium salt and carrot juice, and the remaining 83.3 percent is water. It has the added benefit that an emulsifier is already added, so it is ready to use.

Sources for this article include:

Article source:

Natural Pest Control - Solutions for Sustainable Living

Tanner's Kids
a true story
by Kristen Hayes-Yearick
December 2, 2009

On July 29, 2005 our lives were irreversibly changed by our Amish neighbor’s use of an Organo Phosphate Pesticide, Dimethoate 4EC. We chose to build our home in a new development in Central Pennsylvania. We were to be the first house in a development of twelve, two acre lots. What a gift to be living in such a beautiful place. What a gift to have a yard for our children and dogs to grow, live, love, laugh and play in. We were aware of farming practices and the use of pesticides but we weren’t living on land connected by farmed fields, or so we thought.

Prior to 2005, I didn’t understand the amount of chemicals in our everyday lives. I didn’t keep harsh chemicals in our home, because of my children. I thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing for my children, our health, our animals and our environment. I trusted that our Government Regulatory Agencies and Congress had our health and safety as their primary concern. I read labels and followed directions. I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing, or so I thought.

On July 29, 2005 we were outside with our three children then ages 9, 6, 2 and our beloved Golden Retriever, Tanner. Our Amish neighbor was spraying the lots adjoined to ours with what we assumed to be an Organic Fertilizer. We were told by the land developers they were just mowing the lots to use as bedding for their cows. We didn’t ask questions. We trusted that was the truth. We didn’t have a clear understanding of Amish farming practices but based on our limited knowledge, it never entered our minds that they were spraying a toxic chemical. As we played we exchanged smiles and waved at our neighbor. As he was spraying he was within 5 feet of our swing set, 20ft of our well. We felt the mist.

On August 7, 2005 our dog Tanner collapsed in our front yard. We took Tanner to the Vet. The Vet admitted Tanner and after 2 days his condition worsened. On August 9, 2005 the Vet performed exploratory surgery to find massive internal bleeding. His spleen had ruptured. We had to put Tanner to sleep. The Vet informed us Tanner had been poisoned. How? I remembered the day, the mist. I remembered Tanner rolling in the grass, eating the grass, drinking our well water and laying in the sun. I thought of my children outside playing with him.

My husband went to our neighbor’s farm to ask what he had been spraying that day. We were told Dimethoate 4EC. My husband asked if he used that near his home. He responded, “No, that is not to be used near homes!” He told my husband he was leasing the land from the developers to plant, spray and harvest Alfalfa. Alfalfa to be used as feed for his dairy cows.

Shortly after the spraying my son stopped talking. The light went out in our sweet boys eyes. He began repetitive behaviors such as running back and forth in the house and head rocking and banging. The once very social little boy withdrew from those he didn’t know well. He wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone outside of our family.

All three of my children have moderate to severe allergies. Two of my children developed Asthma. One of my children has evidence of Endocrine Disruption. She has a cluster of crystal filled cysts around her Thyroid. She has Raynaud's Disease and Vitamin D deficiency. One of our children stopped talking shortly after the exposure. My husband has severe respiratory issues, Asthma, Allergies and an enlarged right side of his heart. We were told the enlargement was due to Oxygen deprivation issues. My husband’s lung function has been so poor he couldn’t have lung function tests at various times because his lungs were too weak. He has been in and out of the Emergency room for Respiratory problems. November 2009, I had to call 911 because he couldn’t breathe, he was unresponsive. None of which was present before, spring of 2005. I have Essential Tremors, muscle degeneration, gait disturbances, allergies, severe Vitamin D deficiency, adrenal insufficiency and a cyst in my Pituitary gland.

In April of 2006 we notice our neighbor preparing the lots once again. We are in disbelief! He can’t actually be planning on planting, spraying and harvesting again, can he? We have documented all of this on film.

On June 10, 2006 after returning home from my Grandmother’s funeral the local Ag distributor comes to our door. He is informing us that our neighbor has hired them to spray a Pyrethroid Pesticide, Mustang Max(FMC Corp.). He said they would be spraying on Monday and to keep our children and dogs in the house at least until Wednesday if not longer. He informed us that you have to be licensed to spray Mustang Max and that is why he would be spraying it. After he left we decided to call them and advise this wouldn’t be in their best interest. After everything that has happened, how could he do this again? Is Alfalfa worth causing illness and an animal’s death? The Ag distributor decided not to spray for our neighbor but did deliver the Mustang Max. We were told they didn’t know what our neighbor’s intentions were at this time.

Several days later our 1 year old Golden Retriever, Claddagh was lethargic with vomiting and diarrhea. I had flu like symptoms. We had kept the children inside, but Claddagh and I had to go outside to walk her. Apparently our neighbor chose to spray in the middle of the night. He was avoiding confrontation and documentation of his administration of the Pyrethroid. The Pyrethroid he wasn’t licensed to spray. That morning we went outside and found manure from his horses on our property. He not only was spraying again but crossed our property line.

On July 14, 2006 our neighbor harvested, very late at night. My husband confronted him asking, ‘is the hay that important to risk my family’s health and safety?’ He didn’t respond. We didn’t understand how this can happen.

The planting, spraying and harvest continued through 2007. He told members of a local environmental group that he was going to continue to farm the land as long as he had the land developer’s permission. He told them he was completely aware of what happened to us but he would not stop.

As we know genetics loads the gun and our environment pulls the trigger. Pesticides leach into ground water, they are stored in fat and muscle, are excreted into breast milk. My son absorbed the pesticides through his skin, inhaled them into his lungs, drank our well water and I was breastfeeding him at the time. He was also eating non organic table foods. I was so careful, or so I thought. I limited what my children ate in what I thought was the only junk food. I breastfed for a year exclusively with each of them and continued until close to their third birthdays. I was aware, or so I thought. I didn’t use harsh chemicals, immunized on schedule, actively did things to protect our environment. I was a textbook Mother, or so I thought.

It is 2009 and very little has changed in our lives. I have continued to research, make contacts and raise awareness. Our health issues occupy much of our lives. Even more so the frustration as we realized that Big Ag and Big Chemical industries are woven tightly into every aspect of our Government and legislation. I didn’t understand when this first happened how or why I wasn’t being heard. I questioned my own sanity. I was constantly second guessing myself. Is this in my head? No. Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill? No. Why don’t our elected officials care? Why aren’t our medical professionals educated in the dangers and reality of pesticide exposures? Why are millions of Americans suffering because of the use and misuse of pesticides and chemicals? Why isn’t the general public aware that this is going on? How are parents supposed to protect their children if they don’t know?

I’ll tell you how, “Knowledge is power!” Our story is your story. What happened to us is not unique except that through Tanners death we were made aware of what is going on. We were made aware that Pesticides and toxic chemicals are in everything we do. We eat them, drink them, breathe them, they are everywhere in our daily lives. The problem isn’t in what we knowingly expose ourselves to. There is a difference between making poor choices in our lives that only we can be held accountable for and those choices being made for us. The problem lies within what we don’t know we are being exposed to. It is time for us to come together and demand that our health, our safety, our environment comes first. It is time for us to demand that People and Planet come before Profit and Politics.

I have applied for the necessary permits to have a peaceful demonstration in July 2010 in Washington DC. My now 7 year old son said to me, “Mom, why don’t you start a protest!” In my beautiful boys eyes things are so simple, so pure and so profound. Would you join me in organizing S.T.O.P, Stand Together Opposing Pesticides, Preservatives, Plastics, Pollution and Patented Seeds?

"You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?” --George Bernard Shaw

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."---Margaret Mead

And YES, This Is My Story
Grandmother Finds New Lease on Life
The Beebe News, September 25, 2003, Page 11

Chemical toxins caused serious health issues, now she is young at heart once more. An active mother, grandmother and award-winning and honored educator, Rose Marie Raccioppi knew she had to find a solution to her health problems. Like millions of women in America she had cleaned her home and worked in her garden, using toxic cleaners and sprays. "Little did I know what ills the future would bring,” says Rose Marie.

A growing number of communities, physicians and medical researchers are concerned that the liberal use of insecticides, herbicides and other chemicals on home lawns and gardens may be hazardous to human health. U.S. lawns and gardens use 70 million to 75 million pounds of pest-killing ingredients annually. These substances, some of which include potential carcinogens and hormone disrupters, may present hazards to people who apply them and may leach into groundwater, says an article published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

”Innocently I placed weed killer on the flower and shrub beds and paid little attention to the light headed feeling and annoying rash. I thought it would pass,” said Rose Marie.“Spraying, cleaning, polishing, all seemingly noble deeds of a dutiful housewife resulted in headaches, skin rashes and a sinus infection that led to the use of antibiotics,” she says. “I had an allergic reaction to the medication, which resulted in the prescription of additional medication that brought about a pancreatic reaction and required hospitalization,” she explained. Rose Marie developed food allergies and became hypersensitive to the smell of perfumes, tobacco, cosmetics, hair preparations, fabric finishes, carpets and household cleaning products. She was getting headaches, nausea and fatigue. Then the final phase of her illness began, her symptoms became unbearable: utter fatigue, weakness, leg and knee swellings, headaches and body sores. She also got Lichen Planus, a disease that affects the skin, the mouth, or both with painful lesions. Rose Marie got it on her tongue and upper lip.

Rose Marie was at the end of her tether. "I could not live such a compromised existence, I had a successful private practice serving children and families with special education needs.“I was the recipient of honors and awards, I had three devoted sons and two beautiful grandchildren, all reasons to celebrate this gift of life; not to be a victim of what ever was oppressing my health.”She began to search for a solution to her health problems. At a meeting with a like-minded group of advocates for learning disabled children, Rose Marie heard about the New York Times best-selling book Clear Body Clear Mind by L. Ron Hubbard. The book covers Mr. Hubbard's breakthrough research about how toxic residues get trapped in the fatty tissue of the body and affect our health, both physical and mental.

Each chapter brought me closer and closer to the conviction that this was what I needed to consider,” she says. Rose Marie investigated the places that delivered the detoxification program outlined in the book, which is a carefully monitored program of nutrition, vitamins, exercise and sauna to release and sweat out the toxins trapped in the fatty tissue of the body. Rose Marie was referred to a clinic in Sacramento that delivers this program. Although the program was vigorous and very demanding, as the program progressed, symptoms elevated and then subsided. The body seemed to re-experience the memory of each toxic experience. When she was complete on the program Rose Marie felt as though a heavy fog had been lifted from her. “ I am free of the devastating state I once lived. I can now enjoy the love and company of my family in good health,” she says. And she felt so strongly about it that she needed to express her experience in another medium. Rose Marie took up painting and began to create vibrant watercolors. She is now a successful artist with her own website“ Each painting is a metaphor expressing the delight in life now lived,” says Rose Marie. “ I am now an exhibiting artist, published poet and vigorous enough to maintain a private practice serving the needs of learners across the age span.”

A Post Script - Over A Decade Later

Yes, and I reach out, write, post, teach, research, learn, paint, create, in good health, with a missionary zeal, sparked by a vision of understanding need, of responding to that inner voice of BEING, of living change and holding to gratitude.

Ever with faith,
Rose Marie Raccioppi


  1. In innocence, I lived the ravages of toxic pesticides and chemicals and know how devastating their ill effect is upon all organ systems. With developed awareness, ongoing research, an applied detox program, and complete change in product use, I was able to regain my health and well being. All information gathered and here shared has two definitive intents...AWARENESS and PREVENTION.

  2. This history can and should make us reflect on the damage caused by pesticides....
    we can not and should not impair our and others'lives in any way, I believe that the use of pesticides can be considered a crime against humanity, pesticides are absolutely contrary to nature's so easy to understand .... but here too the god of money is more important than the lives of many human beings .....,
    All my sympathy to the family of this terrible story ....Thanks Rose Marie, for making participation of many interesting topics ,with affection ,Barbara

  3. Yavaun Swanson commented on your link.
    Yavaun wrote:

    "Dearest Rose , have noticed this post a few times before when you posted it and never really had the time to stop and READ IT. So thankful to God I stopped to read this article now that you posted on Tanner and the devestation of pesticides... on this one family. Will FOREVER change how I use household cleaners, what I buy , put on my body and in my mouth to eat . Never thought about it and all the exposure.

    My gosh, have an exterminator that comes here every month and sprays our yard, and I use a myriad of household chemicals to clean the home. Never thought how these Pesticides can work so subversively and insidiously can make one so severly sick. This poor family having to go through such an ordeal and be treated as insects is the power of pesticide and greed. That farmer had one agenda and that was to reap in that harvest of Alphalpha at the expense of his neighbors health and well being, " do unto thy neighbor as you would do unto yourself." It will do people better if they will consider to face facts and be aware of the truth.

    After reading this article of the Tanner tragic events I now recalling and putting parts of a puzzle together in my own minds memory of my past experience with Pesticides. When I was in my late 20's about in late 1980's or early 1990's. There was a " fruit fly " epidemic in No. Hollywood, Callifornia. An entire section of the North Hollywood area was informed via local news stations, newpapers, and flyers mailed out that they were planning a massive spraying over certain areas that would go on repeatedly for several nights. Our exact area was one of the most heavily targeted. Around midnight nightly helicopters would spray the hech out of our entire area. We were all instructed to cover our cars with tarps so this MELATHION would not harm the paint on our cars. At the time it all seemed exciting and I had no concerns at all as I was young, uninformed and little thought about what they were spraying as being any kind of threat to me. Just assumed it was all safe and that the only threat to mankinds livliehood was the little unseen " Fruitfly " that no one seemed to be able to spot or see but was rumored to be the beginning and end all to our entire agriculture.

  4. Post Continued...from above: Yavaun Swanson commented on your link.

    Looking back , there was no agriculture in North Hollywood or our area. This was a neighborhood . Every morning I would go out and remove this giant yellow tarp I had placed over our car for protection of our paint with my bare hands. Lifting this drenched in poison tarp off from our huge Mark IV Lincoln Continental . This tarp would have this thick brown sticky syrup type element all over it I vividly can recall because I dreaded this chore every morning as it would get all over my hands.. Being young and completely unafraid in that era of any toxic threats I would just grab the tarp throw in the garage of the building and pull it out again at night and struggle again with my bare hands touching that sticky substance as I would try to cover the car again for another night of helicopters spraying the death into those fruit flies.

    This was not a light spraying but a heavy and all night raid . No one will ever believe me and I have no proof but it was now that I look back and thinking of this article about Tanner and the family in their story that I am making a connection of my own exposure to these harmful Pesticides. It was during that same time of the MELATHION spraying that I began to " not feel good , " experiencing deep tissue muscle pain ", a strange flu like symptom that never lifted or left me. Vividly recall walking down the hall of my apratment complex one evening and sensing I was very ill and it felt as if I had been invaded by something unknown. Very ill but not something I could identify.

    From that time on this mysterious way of life just became something I struggle with or accepted as the sympstoms were so unidentifiable. Remember at the time Epstein Barr was some virus everyone was talking about and I thought, " I wonder if I have that?" I went to a Doctor and I told them " I am tired and I dont feel good and I cannot excercise like my friends do to Jane Fonda video's etc and not feel pain." I would inquire to my friends if they felt extreme pain and weakness in their muscles and found excercise unbearable and none of them had the symptoms I described. They tested me for Epstein Barr and they said I didn't have it and I tested negative.

    Perplexed for the last 25 years I have just accepted this is how I feel , work around it , and I ignore it as normal to feel not good. As it has not killed me and there are I realize much worse symptoms and illnesses people can have but still now I wonder if that MALITHION did more to people who were doused nightly with that toxic poison than they would have us know. At this stage of my life I don't even want to know if the exposure could have been toxic if touched . Will share this story on my wall for people to be aware, think about effect of toxins and perhaps guard against potential exposures. Thank you for posting your story."

  5. Thank you for sharing your experiences dearest Yavaun. YES, when others can see that they too, may have symptoms that may not be easily associated with a specific illness, they too will look with greater awareness to the possibility of toxic chemical/pesticide exposure bringing about a compromised immune system.

    As I too, told my story, (Grandmother Finds New Lease on Life
    The Beebe News, September 25, 2003), on to this post following the story of "Tanner's Kids," there are thousands more. Chemical Sensitivity from toxic exposure is unfortunately a growing problem.

    The posted articles on and document how increasing numbers of our children are becoming progressively more and more impaired. Solutions are at hand. With awareness and action we can assure greater safety for ourselves and our children.

    Again, Thank You for taking the time to bring your story forward. Do not hesitate to share this link.

  6. Yavaun Swanson commented on your link.
    Yavaun wrote:

    Dear dear Rose, just read your story. Did not realize last night your story followed the Tanner tragic events. Your story is an amazing journey and could be a book. Have heard of the L. Ron Hubbard or Scientology detox from years ago and believe me if I could afford such a detox I would not hesitate but perhaps I can take the vitamins and some of the other tips since I don't have such manifested symptoms as your body had to suffer. What you experienced was a radical reaction from obvious poisons and developing as you mention secondary hyper- sensitivities.

    That you are now completely free and liberated physically from the serious effects that saturated your system is nothing short of your instinct and intuition coming together at the right moment to bring that book " Clear Body Clear Mind " to your awareness is synchronicity at it's perfect timing. That you were able to take action and cleanse these toxins that had attached themselves to your inner body fat tissues is nothing short of miraculous and thank goodness someone is addressing these issues. You have no idea how many person may be helped by your sharing your story " A Grandmother's New Lease On Life."

    What I found most touching and moving was that from the intense and challenging detox and finally feeling as if a fog " had been lifted " you were able to experience new realms of creativity and actualization. This makes sense because when one is fighting everyday to just function through normal life at less than optimal levels the ability to fully realize potential is asking too much. Beautiful to see how you paint and write poetry in new energy , health and well being of clear spirit that can soar freely. Just so inspiring Rose. It is almost ironic that your name is Rose and that the past nightmare all began in your Rose garden. Your story is now truly a Perfect Rose.

    Rose I do hope you write a full book and I even can see a movie of the week on Hallmark station or even a full length movie perhaps. There are many elements to your story . The early life , your momentous career and life , then suddenly this almost biblical attack on your body liken to Job. The eventual and fascinating journey to regain your health and discovering the culprit was such an insidious home invasion. Ultimately this extraordinary heighten level of divine gifts you possessed earlier but how they really began to blossom and bloom in your rosefield. Just truly believe there is a story and movie here to be told. We shall see what Rose's garden shall yield.

    Thank you Rose and I hope you continue to repost this story often as I again repeat many times how I saw the headline and was not sure what it was about at first glance. If I don't have time to read something I will pass it by or give it a " like" to say "hello." Not sure if that serves me well but FB is an art in time management. The good news is an Angel name Rose continues to share her story and Tanner story over again. Sooner or later a person will stop and read and perhaps change their life for the healthier with awareness. Thank you , thank you , thank you ...cannot say it enough Rose. Will buy that book by L. Ron Hubbard " Clear Body , Clear Mind."

  7. Yavaun, Thank you for allowing me to post your comments to the blog post. You have contributed so significantly. Please feel free to share the link. Much much love, Rose Marie

  8. i got some more amazing tips from his for get rid of house centipedes you can have a look to this one too

  9. Huma, Thank You - YES, there are indeed viable alternatives - these to be our wise choices.