Biopesticides are derived from natural organic and biological materials. Biopesticides have three categories: microbial, which is derived from bacteria and viruses; plant-incorporated protectants, which are made from the pesticides naturally produced by plants; and non-toxic, naturally occurring substances. Many believe that biopesticides are an eco-friendly alternative to conventional pesticides, since they are less toxic and disrupt the life cycle of pests without affecting the environment around them. However, there are several potential disadvantages posed by biopesticides.
One of the benefits of a biopesticide is that it kills only the pests that it is chemically engineered to affect, leaving other plants and animals unharmed. However, the greatest strength of a biopesticide is also its greatest weakness. If any pests other than those targeted by the biopesticide invade, they will be immune. This means that several types of biopesticides may be needed to deter all pests.
Biopesticide is more costly and less readily available than conventional pesticide. This may mean more money and time spent obtaining it. While this may be acceptable for the casual gardener, farmers with large crops may find it difficult to consistently use biopesticide.
Biopesticide is less toxic, and therefore inevitably less powerful, than conventional pesticide. A large amount of biopesticide may have the same effects as significantly smaller amounts of regular pesticide. This adds to the already high cost of using biopesticide.
In general, biopesticides have a shorter lifespan than regular pesticides. While a regular pesticide may last for weeks or months, biopesticides need more frequent reapplication. This can be a hassle, not to mention a drain on money.