A comparison of natural and chemical pesticides
Have you ever seen your parents spray a chemical on your summer tomato plants? If so, you have probably seen someone apply a pesticide, a chemical designed to keep pests - primarily insects - away from agricultural plants. Pests can cause serious problems for farmers by destroying their valuable crops, which can make our food more expensive because it becomes scarcer.
In recent years, a move toward biopesticides has been observed due to concerns over health problems caused by the use of chemicals. You can buy a traditional chemical pesticide at your local hardware store, but biopesticides are probably closer than you think, often found in your kitchen!
To determine the effectiveness of pesticides, experts look at plants to see if holes have been bored in their leaves or bite-marks are found on the flowers. Some insects will leave a sticky residue on the leaves, as well, or the bugs might actually be seen on the plant!
In this experiment, we will compare the effectiveness of three biopesticides - neem, onion and chili peppers - to a more traditional chemical pesticide. Remember that we will be using a control during this experiment to eliminate error from our experimental procedure.
General safety rules apply. You should take care with the hot water and chili peppers; protective gloves are recommended. An adult should be enlisted to assist you.