Get a lush and healthy yard with these simple steps: Read Pesticide-Free Zone from Clean Water Action.

Downloadable info - click for shareable pdfs on pesticides

Spotlight on "Neonics"

Neonicotinoid pesticides are toxic to bees and other insects and become systemic in the plants we apply them to, including when applied as a seed coating. If you source coated seeds, your flowers may kill the pollinators you're trying to attract. 

To learn more, start with this 3-min NRDC vid  that gives a brief overview. NRDC is working with legislators to enact new restrictions in NY State. The movie The Pollinators is a riveting film on the bee industry and provides some agri-industrial context.  Learn even more about how Neonics are toxic to bees and other insects at this webpage at Beyond Pesticides.

Did you know?

More than 2.25 million pounds of pesticides are applied in Westchester County every year (2.9 million pounds in 2021). Westchester has among the highest application rates in New York State. We are tracking these chemicals into our homes on our shoes and pets’ paws, and we - and our children - are breathing them in.

Pesticides endanger human health, especially children’s.  

Home pesticide exposure increases the risk of leukemia, brain and other cancers in children, and has been linked to asthma and developmental delays. Pesticides disrupt endocrine and immune systems and increase the risk of breast, thyroid and prostate cancers in adults. NYS banned herbicides on school playing fields and playgrounds - why would you apply them to your yard?  

Pesticides harm our pets.  

Dogs and cats exposed to pesticides have a higher risk of malignant cancers: the use of professionally applied pesticides was associated with a significant 70% higher risk of canine malignant lymphoma. (Link to study.)


Pesticides harm the environment.

Pesticides kill bees, birds and other pollinators that plants need to reproduce. Pesticides get into the water we drink and the food we eat. You may buy organic food for your children, seeking to limit their exposure to pesticides. Why would you then expose them – and the rest of the creatures in our ecosystem – to pesticides where they play? Pesticides get on  kids' hands and from there into their mouths - and shoes on lawns track pesticides inside.

NB: We recognize that sometimes the use of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides is essential,  for instance to control an invasive pest, but most uses are not necessary and many are ineffective. In addition, they are often applied incorrectly.

But What about Ticks?

Using pesticides for ticks reduces the number of ticks but does not help reduce incidence of tick diseases.  (USA Today coverage and link to study.)


Take action! 


For more information about the effects of pesticides and alternatives visit:

The Great Healthy Yards Project

Beyond Pesticides


Read this article on how to get a lush and healthy yard without any pesticides, and without endangering your health: Pesticide-Free Zone from

Watch this 1 minute, 18-second video explanation on how to reduce the number of the mosquitos on your property naturally, narrated by Doug Tallamy.

Tiny Vampires: Understanding Mosquitoes and Ticks in our Landscape

A recording of Hastings' own Melissa Reavis' Zoom talk on how to manage mosquitos and ticks.

Melissa covers the species of mosquitoes and ticks we encounter in Westchester: their roles in our ecosystem; what attracts them to people; and how best to protect yourself and your family. She discusses standard pesticide practices and alternatives. A treasure trove of information - you'll learn a lot! Melissa was hosted by Chet Kerr's Living Classroom project,  part of  the Rivertowns Pollinator Pathway.  For more of Chet's recordings, click here.