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Mothballs & Landscaping

Mothballs are deeply ingrained in backyard folklore as a very effective pest repellent in the backyard and inside structures. Regrettably, the active ingredients in mothballs, naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene, are not effective against noxious pests and might harm children and pets if they eat the mothballs. They may be harmful in the soil, as well, causing long-term harm to your garden.

Proper Mothball Usage

Mothballs are labeled for control of clothes moths only. The labels typically instruct one to place them in an airtight container using at-risk clothes. Naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene have been fumigants, vaporizing in the room temperature — the poisonous fumes smother the clothes moths that cannot get away. Because the active ingredients in mothballs are insecticides, it is not only dangerous, it is illegal to use them in any way not specified on the tag.

Health Hazards

Mothballs present an assortment of health hazards, based on the concentration and type of exposure. Of the two mothball substances, naphthalene is absolutely the most dangerous, but can be poisonous. Some of the very serious effects of naphthalene poisoning are caused by damage to the neurological, hepatic, renal and ocular systems, but even minor exposure may lead to vomiting, headaches and skin rashes. Children and pets are particularly susceptible, and mothballs can severely damage red blood cells when consumed.

Mothballs in the Environment

In the environment, the active ingredients in mothballs will gradually dissipate, but the period these substances remain in the soil varies widely. Although they’re typically filtered from municipal water supplies, both naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene are consumed by plants and kept in tissues when dissolved in the soil. The fruits and leaves of food plants which have been treated with mothballs may be toxic, based on their degree of exposure to such substances.

Alternative Pest Control Options

Pests in the landscape can be bothersome, therefore it’s understandable that you might attempt anything to keep creatures from damaging your plants. But fighting animal pests is enormously a function of understanding the pest in question. Most pest mammals, such as deer, rabbits and voles, can be fenced from troubled areas. Other animals, such as snakes, that have been long perceived as insects, are frequently working for you by hunting rodents or amphibians that might be causing serious harm to your plants. Eliminating hiding spots and cleaning up debris in which those varied creatures may hide will often dissuade them from occupying your lawn.

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