Organically Approved Insecticides and Fungicides

Chemically synthesised pesticides are not allowed in organic growing because they disrupt biological systems. In certain circumstances however where infestations cannot be controlled through other means, and as a last resort, most certifying bodies allow the use of certain (specified) non-synthetically derived chemical and biological controls. Some (but not all) of these inputs may also be registered for use with government bodies such as Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, Pesticide Safety Directorate UK and the Department of Agriculture USA.
It is inevitable that even given the above practices there will be some pest and disease problems.

Although organically approved products for pest and disease control will vary from country to country (and for a strict approach to organic growing even these products should only be used as a last resort), they generally include the following:

  • Boric acid

  • Copper e.g. Bordeaux and Burgundy in hydroxide forms as fungal sprays. Not oxychloride. Not to be used near aquatic systems and has restricted application rates and must be approved by certifying body before use. Used for fungal diseases and bacterial blights.

  • Clay, including bentonite and kaolin, as a plant protectant and insect repellent. Used particularly on orchard plants.

  • Diatomaceous earth – insect control. This is fossilised algae which, when ground into a fine powder, produces microscopic razor sharp needles which will cut small animals such as insects or snails without being any serious threat to larger animals or humans. It can be applied as a dust or made into a solution and sprayed on.

  • Foliar sprays, (such as liquid seaweed), that are not a substitute for soil fertility building and do not contain prohibited materials.

  • Fungal preparations that are not GMO derived.

  • Iron phosphate (snails and slugs).

  • Lecithin as a fungicide.

  • Lime sulphur as calcium poly-sulphide – fungicide.

  • Micro-organisms – bacteria, virus and fungi e.g. Bacillus thuringiensis, Granulosis virus, not genetically modified.

  • Milk – restricted use, should not lead to contamination of the soil.

  • Mineral oils e.g. paraffin – light petroleum derivatives only used as suffocating oil and fungicide.

  • Neem (Azadirachtin indica) oil and extracts of natural extraction (used as an insecticide) and as part of an IPM program only.

  • Pheromones in traps and dispensers only.

  • Plant extracts (marigold, garlic, chili etc.) that do not lead to contamination of the harvested crop.

  • Plant oils (e.g. pine oil, mint oil, caraway oil) that are of natural extraction. Used as insecticide, acaricide, fungicide and sprout inhibitor.

  • Propolis (beeswax) used as a pruning agent.

  • Pyrethrins – extracted from Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium. Used as an insecticide, but approval is required from the certifying body before use.

  • Quassia – extracted from Quassia amara only. Insecticide, repellent.

  • Ryania - extracted from Ryania speciosa only.

  • Seaweed liquids and powders from non-synthetic source. Not polluted with heavy metals.

  • Silicates (mineral powders) – for powdery mildew, pythium disease, botrytis.

  • Sodium bicarbonate as a fungicide.

  • Sticky baits that do not contain any prohibited substances.

  • Sulphur in wettable form only and from an unadulterated source, only as fungicide.

  • Vinegar - may be useful in controlling caterpillars and sap-sucking insects such as stink bugs, aphids, and mealy-bugs.