This compound is a particularly attractive product because it has low toxicity to nontarget insects and people, and thus far tests … show it to be noncarcinogenic. It’s considered to be safer for beneficial insects …
Milky spore disease (Bacillus popilliae). Let’s cut to the chase: Both the newspaper article and Gillman agree that this works OK used community-wide, not so much in an individual yard. Gillman adds that it might reduce numbers of Japanese beetles, but is not as effective as it once was.
Pyrethrum. They say: It is fast-acting (good for wasp spray) but not exceptionally lethal. Pyrthroids, such as Talstar and Raid, are synthetic versions of pyrethrum and are fast becoming popular insecticides because they are safer than many synthetics.
Gillman says: This poison breaks down rapidly so is only toxic for a very short time. … but it’s not completely safe [it is often sold mixed with synthetic compounds, even mild carcinogens] and should be used with the same respect afforded to any potent poison.
Rotenone. They say: Obtained from the roots of tropical plants, rotenone is a broad-spectrum insecticide. Although it is mildly toxic to humans, it is highly toxic to fish, so it should be used with care around water.
Gillman says: My least favorite pesticide. … known to cause Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms when injected just below the skin of rats at extremely low doses … Why would any sane person use this?
I don’t mean to pick on one newspaper article, nor do I mean to hold Gillman up as an all-knowing guru. But I’m concerned about the all-out marketing blitz we’ve already seen and are going to see much more of in service of “green” garden chemicals. Caveat emptor, indeed. Better to be forearmed with as much knowledge about these products as possible.