Insect and disease killers that come from plant extracts are called botanical pesticides or botanicals. Although derived from natural sources, botanicals are not necessarily safer or less toxic to nonpest insects, humans, and animals than synthetically derived pesticides. In fact, most botanicals are broad-spectrum insecticides, which kill both good and bad bugs indiscriminately. Some botanicals cause allergic reactions in people; others are highly toxic to fish and animals; and some may even cause cancer.
Use all pesticides, including botanicals, only as a last resort and only after thoroughly reading the label on the package. See Chapter 7 for information on how to use pesticides safely.
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