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Sweet Pesticides

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Sometimes you can turn bad things can turn into good things. That’s what some of the farmers in India. are doing.

A few years ago, studies discovered pesticides in the sodas being made in India. The water used to make soft drinks was contaminated.

Once the word got out, people stopped drinking soda, but they still kept buying it. Why? Pesticides farmers use on their crops, bought from the big companies, were expensive, and they needed to be diluted, a part of the process where it’s easy for the farmer to take in a dose of pesticides, especially when there’s no money for expensive equipment.

So the farmers had a good idea: they started using soft drinks as a pesticide spray on their chili and cotton crops. They figured the sodas were a perfect formula for cheap, pre-diluted crop sprays, 80% cheaper than buying the commercial product.

Now a few years have passed, and Coke and Pepsi avow that all pesticides have been taken out of the manufacturing process and their drinks. They say that using sodas as crop sprays is ridiculous and ineffective.

But you know what? Results proved them wrong. The farmers noticed a definite drop in problems with insects. So far, the theory is that the sugar attracts ants, which eat the larvae of the insects that might be a potential problem.

If you have repeated problems with insects, you might want to try out this “pesticide” yourself. You certainly can’t beat the price.

But, as it says in the poison-label boilerplate, don’t drink it. It could be bad for your health.

(I got this info from David G. Wiliams’s newsletter, Alternatives.)

{ 12 comments… add one }

  • Frances May 19, 2009, 2:32 am

    Oh the irony! Now if it would work on slugs and snails and maybe bunnies……may have to give it a try! But not my beloved Schweppes Ginger Ale. :-)
    Frances

  • Monica the Garden Faerie May 19, 2009, 4:56 am

    This is really interesting; I wonder whether it works with diet sodas, too? And in the cooler climates of North America. Hmm, I can see research grants being written… HA!

  • tina May 19, 2009, 7:05 am

    Hey, if it works why not? Maybe Coke and Pepsi need to capitalize on this use!

  • Cyd May 19, 2009, 7:06 am

    How innovative. As least it is good for something.

  • Pomona Belvedere May 19, 2009, 8:22 am

    Frances, they say slugs prefer the good beer, but for this I would definitely use the cheap pop.

    Monica, you could be a tester yourself. Adding diet soda to the mix would create an opportunity for those particular poisons to shine. I’m not sure if insects are attracted to unnatural sweetness, but I do know it does all kinds of bad things to human bodies.

    Tina – sure you’re not in marketing? ; )

    Cyd – yes, that was my reaction, too.

  • Susie May 19, 2009, 9:24 am

    Love your blog & design philosophy. My goal as a landscape designer is to hopefully incite some plant passion in non-gardeners. Unfortunately where I live most homeowners just want pretty yards that they don’t have to take care of….. :(
    Oh to have a wild spot to garden in, the plants are calling me too.

  • Pomona Belvedere May 19, 2009, 10:52 pm

    Thanks, I’m glad you like it here. Maybe you could entice those homeowners with native plants (well, and bulbs), which are certainly easy-care once settled in. You could persuade them that they’re cutting edge – which they would be. And they’d certainly save a bundle by not having to coddle plants not suited to their yards. I guess you just have to work on their definitions of pretty…

  • catmint May 21, 2009, 6:47 pm

    thanks for a funny, also serious post. It’s good to be creative to avoid pesticides, I have used diluted washing up liquid against aphids. (No longer, I just share now)

  • wayne May 30, 2009, 6:01 am

    what a great story, thanks for passing it on.

  • Pomona Belvedere May 30, 2009, 7:00 am

    Wayne, I had actually thought of you when I was writing this; it would be a great school experiment.

  • wayne May 30, 2009, 7:33 am

    could you imagine the emotions of my students when I “wasted” perfectly good soda???

  • Nina October 24, 2015, 12:27 pm

    ???, June 4, 2013 at 3:46 am ??? I’m truly enjoying the style and luoayt of your website. It’sa extremely easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit often .

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