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


NRDC is spearheading an effort to reduce the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in NY State by lobbying legislators to enact new restrictions. If you don't yet know about this class of chemical, you must! Start by watching NRDC's new, user-friendly vid. Learn more at Beyond Pesticides.

Neonics are toxic to bees and other insects and become systemic in the plants they're applied to, and even when applied as a seed coating. Be sure to source uncoated seeds or your flowers may kill the pollinators you're trying to attract.

The movie The Pollinators is also a must-see, riveting film on the bee industry.

Did you know?

More than 2.25 million pounds of pesticides are applied in Westchester County every year. Westchester has the second-highest use in New York State, after suburban Long Island. 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 hands that 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!

  1. Stop using pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides in your home and in your yard. Even those listed as ‘organic’ may not be safe.

  2. Find out what chemicals your landscaper is applying and ask them to eliminate their use on your property. Check out this info on lawn chemicals - and the links at page bottom - there's one specifically on Weed and Feed.

  3. Treat all chemicals with care.

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, 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.