Pesticides can be helpful in your garden to keep plants free from destructive insects, but some pesticides can wreak havoc on the environment. The Department of Health and Environment Control has released a South Carolina Smart Gardener Handbook which has great information about things you can do to avoid using pesticides and other chemicals.
For example, mesh netting can keep birds away from fruit and berry plants; building a barrier around your plants such as a 2 inch cardboard collar can help prevent cutworm infestations; beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings can be purchased and released to help control the pests. If you still require a chemical pesticide, purchase only as much as you need and look for the least toxic formulas. You should follow all instructions on the label and only apply the product when pests are present.