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Think twice before using pesticides. Identify the problem before you spray, squash or stomp.

Start with prevention

  • Build healthy soil with compost and mulch.
  • Select pest-resistant external link plants, and plant them in the sun and soil conditions they like.
  • Remove diseased to reduce the number of hiding places.
  • Pull weeds before they go to seed and spread.
  • Use a variety of plants; if pests attack one plant, others can fill its place.

Accept a little damage

Nature may control it for you, or plants may just outgrow the damage.

If a pest or weed problem persists, use the least-toxic solution

  • Use physical controls, repellants and long-handled weed pullers.
  • Mulch once a year to reduce weeds in beds.
  • Use least-toxic products, such as soaps, horticultural oils and plant-based insecticides.

Replace problem plants with pest- or disease-resistant ones

If a plant or tree has a chronic or recurring insect pest or disease problem, it's time to remove it and replace it with a more tolerant variety or another type of plant.

Avoid using weed-and-feed products and other pesticides

Weed-and-feed-type products have been identified as a number one priority for education in King County. Weed-and-feed products are the most widely used pesticide in King County, and many people are not aware that they are a pesticide. Sales of weed-and-feed products peak each spring as they are often used as a fertilizer rather than as a pesticide.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), 16 pesticides have been detected in the Northwest at levels that exceed standards set to protect aquatic life. One of those pesticides, 2,4-D, is a component of weed-and-feed products.

Overuse of these products damages soil and plant health. Studies have found increased health risks among families that use lawn and garden pesticides, especially among pets and children.

Learn more:

Integrated Pest Management Programs stress prevention through design and maintenance
Model Pesticide Policy for Child Care Providers external link Download PDF
Lakeside Living - Healthy Lawns Healthy Lakes
Integrated Pest Management in King County

bumble bee on flower
Only about 5 percent of the bugs in your yard are pests. Good bugs actually help control pests.
King County Solid Waste Division mission: Waste Prevention, Resource Recovery, Waste Disposal

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