News and Reviews

Common Sense Pest Control

Many people don't want to use pesticides, especially around living areas. Anyone interested in using the least toxic methods for managing pests in and around the home, work place or community, or on a person or their pets should consider Common Sense Pest Control: Least-Toxic Solutions for Your Home, Garden, Pets and Community. This 715-page hardcover book, by William Olkowski, Sheila Daar, and Helga Olkowski, provides extensive specific information on managing pests without harsh chemicals. The book also includes the basics discussions of scientific classification, Integrated Pest Management, pest managment strategies, the major groups of beneficial organisms, and some of the "softer" pesticides, including microbials to provide enough background for the reader to understand the specific information and implement the suggestions. Black and white photographs and other illustrations are found throughout. The writing is clear and non-technical, and everything is thoroughly explained. Every major section ends with a list of references and additional reading, each with a brief synopsis of the article.

Although all pests are considered, the emphasis is on insects. Because of the broad scope of the book, of course not all pests could be included. The most important pests are discussed individually, while others are mentioned within a group having similar lifestyles. And if it's not included in the book, the references provide a starting point to find the information. The authors are Californians; hence there is some information specific to the western part of the country, but most of it is applicable to all regions of the country. The pests are divided into various groups based on where they occur: on the human body, inside the house, on indoor plants, house structure, in the garden or the community. The pests of the garden include those of lawns (sod webworm, Japanese beetle, chinch bugs, diseases, weeds, and moles) and food and ornamental plants (aphids, cucumber beetles, cutworms, earwigs, gophers, root maggots, rose diseases, snails and slugs, sowbugs and pillbugs, symphylans and whiteflies). Pests of the community include insects on shade trees (sapsuckers, leaf chewers, and bark beetles and trunk borers), rats, flies, yellowjackets and mosquitoes. For each pest, a detailed dossier is presented on its biology, damage, detection and monitoring methods (when appropriate), and suggested treatments. Several direct and indirect treatments are usually presented, progressing from cultural controls to physical controls, then to biological controls, and finally, chemical controls. Convenient highlighted summaries itemize the least-toxic alternatives for each pest at a glance.

This book is available for $39.95 (Postage is included; California residents must add $3.29 sales tax) from:


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