Pesticide Free Woodside

Pesticide Free Woodside GardenThe Town of Woodside has taken a bold step towards environmental sustainability by going pesticide-free (pesticides include rodenticides, herbicides, and insecticides). The decision is part of the Town's effort to promote a healthier and more eco-friendly environment for residents, visitors, and wildlife. The Town has committed to avoid the use of pesticides on all Town properties, and we need your help to avoid pesticide use on your property as well!

Woodside's Commitment

In 2023, the Town adopted resolution 2023-7577. The governing board of the Town of Woodside:

  1. Urges Woodside businesses to discontinue the sale of all Pesticides.
  2. Urges Woodside residents to avoid buying and utilizing pesticides and bait products, and instead use safer and more effective integrated pest management to control the pest population.
  3. Commits to use pesticide-free methods of rodent control on all Town properties.

What is a Pesticide

A pesticide is a special substance that people use to get rid of or control pests. Pests can be all kinds of things like insects, rodents, weeds, and other living things that can cause harm to plants, animals, or even us humans. Pesticides come in different forms, like sprays, powders, or liquids, and they're used in different places, such as farms, homes, and public areas. When pests are causing problems, people apply pesticides to kill or repel them.

There are different types of pesticides for different pests. Some pesticides kill insects, others get rid of weeds, and some fight against diseases caused by fungi or bacteria. Some pesticides can affect many different pests, while others are made to target specific ones.

Find out more here.

Go Pesticide-Free: Why a Healthy Garden is a Happy Garden

As Woodsiders, we love to see the lush growth and abundant, thriving nature in our community. But did you know that the pesticides you use to keep pests and weeds at bay, including rodenticides, herbicides, and insecticides, could be harming the very plants and soil you're trying to nurture? Not to mention the impact they have on our environment, health and wildlife!

Throughout California, the use of pesticides, including insecticides, rodenticides, and other toxic chemical substances has injured and killed thousands of wild animals and pets by spreading poison up the food chain. Predatory and scavenging birds and mammals, including owls, hawks, raccoons, bobcats, mountain lions, foxes, skunks, and coyotes who eat dead or dying rodents which have consumed these products will be poisoned. Pets are also harmed by eating dead or dying rodents and unprotected bait products.

Here are some compelling reasons to go pesticide-free in your garden:

  • Protect Beneficial Insects: Pesticides don't just kill the "bad" insects like aphids and caterpillars, they also harm the "good" ones like bees, butterflies, and ladybugs that help pollinate and control pests naturally. By going pesticide-free, you can create a healthy ecosystem that supports a diverse range of insect life.
  • Protect Local Rodent Predators: Owls, bobcats, mountain lions, foxes and other predators rely on rodents as their primary source of food. If these rodents are poisoned by rodenticides in your garden, the predators that feed on them can also be poisoned. When predators are sickened or killed, we lose a natural source of pest control, allowing rodents to thrive. By removing rodenticides from your property you can help save local birds of prey and other predators and naturally keep down the rodent population at the same time.
  • Healthier Soil: Pesticides and herbicides can strip the soil of essential nutrients and beneficial microorganisms that plants need to thrive. By avoiding these chemicals, you can promote a more fertile and healthy soil that nourishes your plants and helps them resist disease and pests.
  • Safer for Pets and Wildlife: Pesticides and rodenticides are toxic not only to insects but also to other animals, including your pets and local wildlife. By avoiding these chemicals, you can create a safer environment for your furry friends and the creatures that call your garden home.
  • Better for Your Health: Exposure to pesticides and herbicides has been linked to a range of health problems, including cancer, neurological damage, and reproductive disorders. By going pesticide-free, you can protect yourself and your family from these harmful chemicals.
  • Cost-Effective: Pesticides and herbicides can be expensive, and their effectiveness is often short-lived. By using natural methods like composting, crop rotation, and companion planting, you can create a sustainable garden that saves you money and reduces your environmental impact.

By going pesticide-free on your property, you can create a beautiful and healthy environment that supports a diverse range of plant and animal life, while protecting your loved ones. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or working with a landscaping company, there are many resources available to help you make the switch to a more sustainable and eco-friendly approach.

The truth is that no poison is a good poison-in other words, every poison available on the market in the United States poses a serious health risk to people and wildlife. The best way to control rodents, reduce weeds, reduce unwanted insects and protect wildlife, pets and children is to use poison-free methods, such as natural repellents, sealing all possible entryways, removing pest attractants such as garbage and other food sources, and embracing the presence of predator species. Additional details for poison-free pest management can be found in the robust resources linked in our quick links.

Your garden and the planet will thank you for it!

What You Can Do to Keep Unwanted Pests Away

  • Repel: Apply non-toxic repellents to discourage unwanted guests on your own or with professional help
  • Exclude: Seal possible entryways and ensure that wildlife attractants are securely stored
  • Deter: Remove artificial food sources for wildlife and consider embracing the presence of predator species

Additional Steps

  • Use mechanical traps such as capture, snap or electronic. Snap traps should only be used indoors to avoid accidentally killing beneficial wildlife. Never use inhumane sticky traps.
  • Keep trash and recycling areas clean
  • Secure trash cans and dumpsters from birds and rodents
  • Eliminate the rodent's food and water sources. Do not feed pets outside and leave food unattended. Clean up spilled bird seed at the feeder. Remove English Ivy which provides food, water, and shelter year round for rats and mice.
  • Prevent access to shelter, by sealing entrances, cracks and crevices that may lead into your home, garage, attic, and crawl space. Use 1/4-inch metal mesh (not chicken wire) to seal off entry points, and steel wool for smaller holes. Clean up woodpiles and yard debris.
  • Pick backyard fruit as soon as it ripens and keep rotten fruit off the ground
  • Maintain landscaping-keep a 2-foot space between bushes; remove tree limbs within 3 feet of structures; keep grass area to a minimum
  • Install an owl box! However, before installing an owl box, make sure your neighbors are not using Rodenticide, so you don't attract an owl to an unsafe area.

Rat Poisons Endanger 10,000 Children Every Year in the U.S.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has known for decades that kids have too-easy access to a new generation of super-toxic rat poisons. Every year more than 10,000 kids under the age of 6 are poisoned by of them. From Scientific American

Poison - Skull and CrossbonesNever Use These Products (Veneno, Nunca Utilice Estos Productos)

  • Atrazine
  • Bromenthalin
  • Cholecalciferol
  • Chlorophacinone
  • Chlorpyrifos
  • Clopyralid
  • Diphacinone
  • EDTA
  • Glyphopsate
  • Metaldehyde
  • Methyl Bromide
  • Napathaline
  • Picloram
  • Sulfuryl Fluoride
  • Triclopyr
  • Warfarin
  • Zinc Phosphide
  • 2,4-D

Poison Free Solutions: Alternative to Insecticides for the Yard & Garden

Diatomaceous earth

  • Available at garden centers
  • Affects crawling insects, such as snails and slugs
  • Dust ground around plants with powdered diatomaceous earth (can also sprinkle directly on affected leaves)
  • Needs to be reapplied after rain (or heavy watering)

Neem oil

  • Available at many garden centers
  • Disrupts the life cycle of insects in any stage (egg, larvae, or adult)
  • Biodegradable, nontoxic to pets, birds, fish, and other wildlife
  • Won't pollute ground water or runoff
  • Won't harm bees, butterflies, and lady bugs
  • Effective against many common insect pests
  • Effective against powdery mildew and other fungal infections
  • To prepare for use, mix 2 teaspoons neem oil with 1 quart of water (option to mix 1 teaspoon mild liquid soap)
  • To use, spray on affected plant foliage
  • Spray early in the morning or in the evening. Avoid spraying during the heat of the day when the combination of sun and oil can burn foliage.

Peppermint, Thyme & Rosemary Oil Repellent

  • Mix equal parts (about 10 drops) peppermint, thyme, and rosemary essential oil in a spray bottle filled with water
  • Spray around garden
  • Repels (doesn't kill) flies, fleas, mosquitoes, cabbage looper caterpillars, aphids, squash bugs, white flies, ants, beetles, spiders, chiggers, ticks, and roaches.
  • Homemade Insecticidal soaps
  • Spray directly on affected foliage (avoiding heat of the day)
  • Affects many common garden pests
  • Oil spray
    • Mix 1 cup vegetable oil with 1 tablespoon liquid soap (such as castile soap)
    • To apply, mix 2 teaspoons of oil and soap mix with 1 quart of water. Shake, and spray directly on affected plants
    • Avoid spraying during heat of the day.
    • Works on aphids, mites, thrips, etc.
  • Soap spray
    • Mix 1 ½ teaspoons mild liquid soap (castile) with 1 quart of water.
    • Spray directly on infected plants.
    • Apply early in morning or in evening, not during the heat of the day.
    • Works on mites, aphids, whiteflies, beetles, etc.

For Wasp or Hornet Nests

  • Peppermint or Tea Tree Oil Castile Soap Spray
  • Add one cup of tea tree oil or peppermint liquid castile soap to a hose end sprayer.
  • Attach to hose and spray directly at nest until it disintegrates or falls.
  • The soap suffocates the wasps or hornets, and the peppermint or tea tree scent prevents them from coming back and rebuilding nests.

Alternative to Pesticides for the Home

Peppermint Oil

  • Spider and ant repellent
    • Mix about 5 to 7 drops of peppermint oil and a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle filled with warm water, shake well
    • Spray along windows, doors, and other places you might find spiders
  • Mosquito repellent
    • Place a few drops of peppermint oil in a shallow dish of water
    • Place in the room where you want to deter mosquitoes
  • Rodent repellent
    • Dip cotton balls or rags in peppermint oil and place around home (inside or outside) wherever the pest problem occurs
    • Repels mice, rats, squirrels, and rabbits

Alternative to Pesticides for Weeds


  • Effective weed killer. Will kill all plants-don't spray on anything you want to keep
  • Add a couple of drops of liquid soap to white vinegar to help it adhere to the plant
  • Spray on a dry, sunny day
    • Optional: add salt to prevent weeds from coming back. Salt will also inhibit other plants from growing, so only add salt where you know you never want anything to grow (ex: walkway, crack in sidewalk, etc.).

Boiling Water

  • Pour boiling water on weeds you wish to eliminate (will kill all plants- use only on those you wish to target).

Precautionary Principle - When to Use Pesticides

Emergency use of pesticides is the only acceptable use of pesticides. To optimize public safety and environmental quality, the use of all pesticides-even the Organic and Least Toxic certified products-should be minimized and treated as a last resort rather than a step of routine maintenance.

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