Recently a friend, after reading my column, asked if there was an environmental issue that I did not favor. I had to think about that for a minute. I am very concerned about our environment.

Then I found an issue that I thought was over the top.

I recently came across an article titled “Leaf blowers contributing to ‘insect armageddon’ and should be avoided.” (Visit to read the article.)

Leaf blowers are causing the Armageddon of insects? Really? Wow! I own a leaf blower, and just about everyone I know either owns one or uses a lawn service that uses one.

Are we destroying the environment? Other than bees, there appears to be no shortage of insects, bugs, ticks, mosquitos, etc. Should we not spray for mosquitos? It appeared that I found the environmental bridge that even I would not cross.

But then I read the article again.

As often happens when a research study is reported by the press, the headline of the news article might not fully correspond to the actual research that was done. Titles are meant to get the reader’s attention. A little poetic license might sometimes occur.

A closer read of the article about leaf blowers revealed that it is not so much the leaf blower itself at fault, but how it is too often used. I use a leaf blower to blow leaves off my driveway and walkway. However, when it comes to our grassy areas, we tend to rake in moderation.

As Dr. Turner, one of the researchers, told The Independent, “I think that leaf blowers fall into the category of being ‘too tidy’ and this can be very bad for insects.”

So it’s “too tidy” or neat users that are the problem, not the leaf blower itself. What the research actually dealt with is the trend to overuse herbicides, insecticides, pesticides, etc.

Too many of us seem to have a fixation with neatness at the expense of our environment. A manicured lawn – where every trace of weed is eradicated or no leaves are left to decay to replenish the soil – might look green and neat, but is an environmental desert. It’s relatively barren.

I am reminded of two things. First, don’t stop at merely reading the title of any article in any publication. Second, don’t overuse your leaf blower or weed killer. Leave a little room for a weed or two. Set aside a section of your property for the insects, birds, and other wildlife.

John Riolo lives in Moss Creek and is past president of the Nature Club of Moss Creek.