By Sooraj Surendran
Every country worldwide has been fighting to control pests for ages. The term pest is usually referred to the harmful animals that are detrimental to human health or even the ecology. Pests can be even organisms, fungi, or weeds, etc.
Before we study the various means to control the pests, here are a few of pests that we have to fight with most commonly –
Caterpillar is a pest that causes damage to the crops. Termites are known to damage furniture, and structures. Ants, cockroaches’ wasps and flies are also pests. Can we forget mosquitoes and bed bugs? Rats, rodents and other mammals not just cause infections but are also carriers of diseases. Birds like pigeon, seagulls, and crows are regarded as pest when their population turns a nuisance, as they cause more damage than good.
Controlling pests has always been a part of human evolution, since a balance has to be maintained. In order to improve the agricultural output, one has to keep away the pests from the fields and protect the crops. It is generally seen, where there is human activity, and food flies and other insects gather. Public places where people throw or dispose waste it a common breeding ground for the pests.
There are various types and methods of pest controls used today some of them are –
- Electronic and
- Ultra sonic pest control devices
To control pest from being a frequent visitor or an inmate of your home, it is best to keep their source of survival and attraction away. Keep food closed, and close the trash. On a larger perspective, proper waste management and drainage system is important. The garbage is the breeding ground for mot of the pests. Rats, cockroaches, dogs, cats, mosquitoes are bound to be in your vicinity if the garbage is your neighborhood!
Today there are electronic and ultra sound devices that are used for home pest control. After using chemicals to control pest, today we have technology aided control methods. One has to understand, an electronic pest control system are not pest killers. These only drive away the pests and keep them away from your home.
These devices use the ultrasonic sound waves, UV rays, electromagnetic waves etc to keep the pests and flies away. Very commonly used in commercial places like restaurants, hotels, and food stalls, where these pests are easily attracted to, the electronic pest controllers are effective. Even birds and spiders or bats can be scared away by the device. There are electronic rodent pest controllers available too, that trap these rats and rodents.
Controlling pests is very important. Some of the common diseases transmitted to humans due to pests are Rat fever, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, Bird flu, Swine flue, Murine typhus, Leptospirosis and many more.
By Vernon Stent
The application of pest control ranges from do-it-yourself arrangements to scientific and very precise deployment of chemicals and predatory insects by highly skilled practitioners. Despite the fact that pest control is a world-wide industry it is still dominated by family or 1-person businesses. Those that need to control pests range from householders to large scale agri-conglomerates who need to maximize their yield. In between these two are restaurants, bars, food production facilities, farmers – in fact, anybody that routinely deals with food. Pest control can make us more comfortable – but can also save lives.
The word pest is subjective as one man’s pest may be another man’s helper. For instance, pest A may be a threat to crop A, and pest B a threat to crop B. However, if pest B is a natural predator to pest A, then the farmer who wishes to protect crop A may cultivate and release pest B among his crops.
There is a theory that without man’s intervention in the food chain through agriculture, hunting and long distance travel there would be no pests. The theory continues that man’s intervention (for instance, in cultivating and releasing pest B, or in carrying creatures long distances) has upset the balance of the food chain, producing instability in insect and other animal numbers and distorting their evolution. This instability has led to over-population of a given species with the result that they have become pests. Having said this, if we assume that the very first fly swat was the first instance of pest control – and we know that large animals swat flies – it could be argued that pest control dates back way before humans came on the scene.
The first recorded instance of pest control takes us back to 2500 BC when the Sumerians used sulfur to control insects. Then around 1200 BC the Chinese, in their great age of discovery towards the end of the Shang Dynasty, were using chemicals to control insects. The Chinese continued to develop ever more sophisticated chemicals and methods of controlling insects for crops and for people’s comfort.
No doubt the spread of pest control know-how was helped by the advanced state of Chinese writing ability. Although progress in pest control methods undoubtedly continued, the next significant scrap of evidence does not come until around 750 BC when Homer described the Greek use of wood ash spread on land as a form of pest control.
Around 500 BC the Chinese were using mercury and arsenic compounds as a means to control body lice, a common problem throughout history. In 440 BC the Ancient Egyptian’s used fishing nets to cover their beds or their homes at night as a protection from mosquitoes.
From 300BC there is evidence of the use of use of predatory insects to control pests, although this method was almost certainly developed before this date. The Romans developed pest control methods and these ideas were spread throughout the empire. In 200 BC, Roman censor Cato encouraged the use of oils as a means of pest control and in 70 AD Pliny the Elder wrote that galbanum resin (from the fennel plant) should be added to sulfur in order to discourage mosquitoes. In 13 BC the first recorded rat-proof grain store was built by the Romans.
The first known instance where predatory insects were transported from one area to another comes from Arabia around 1000 AD where date growers moved cultures of ants from neighboring mountains to their oasis plantations in order to prey on phytophagous ants which attacked date palm.
Despite the enlightenment provided by the ancient Chinese, Arabs and Romans, many of their teachings did not pass down though time. Certainly in Europe during the dark ages, methods of pest control were just as likely to be based on superstition and local spiritual rituals as any proven method. Pests were often seen as workers of evil – especially those that ruined food, crops or livestock.
Although there were undoubtedly studies of pests during the dark ages, we do not have any recorded evidence of this. It is not until the European renaissance when more evidence of pest control
emerges. In 1758 the great Swedish botanist and taxonomist Carolus Linnaeus cataloged and named many pests. His writings were (and remain) the root and source of future study into pests (as well as plants and animals generally). At the same time, the agricultural revolution began in Europe and heralded a more widespread application of pest control. With the work of Linnaeus and other scholars and the commercial needs to ensure crops and livestock were protected, pest control became more systematized and spread throughout the world. As global trade increased, new pesticides were discovered. At this point pest control was carried out by farmers and some householders as an everyday activity. By the early nineteenth century however, this changed as studies and writings started to appear that treated pest control as a separate discipline. Increasing use of intensive and large scale farming brought matching increases in the intensity and scale of pest scares such as the disastrous potato famine in Ireland in 1840. Pest control management was scaled up to meet these demands, to the point that dedicated pest controllers began to emerge throughout the 20th century.
In 1921 the first crop-spraying airplane was employed and in 1962 flying insect control was revolutionized when Insect-o-cutor started selling fly killer machines using ultra violet lamps. Pest control is still carried out by farmers and householders to this day.
There are also pest control specialists (sometimes called pesties); many are one-person businesses and others work for large companies. In most countries the pest control industry has been dogged by a few bad practitioners who have tarnished the reputation for the highly professional and responsible majority.
One thing is for certain, from way before the Sumerians of 2500 BC to us in modern times, there have always been – and probably always will be – pests (including some human ones!). Thank goodness, therefore, that we have pest controllers.
By Jayne Bettles
Pest control is going to be a major threat for mankind in the coming future. Sooner or later we will all be affected by pests as it is omnisciently present everywhere. Whether it is ants or beetles in the kitchen or weeds in the vegetable garden, pests can be annoying. At the same time, many of us are not interested in pest control and the problems caused by pests as well as the pesticides we use to control pests.
Here are some questions most asked when thinking about pest control:-
– How can pests be reduced and controlled safely?
– Are the pesticides available, effective and safe?
– How and when should pesticides be used?
Pests are beneficial as well as a curse to mankind. Animals, bacteria and some insects are beneficial to people in many ways, but the same time they can also be pests. Pests such as rats, ants, cockroaches, mice and flies are common in houses and apartments. There should be an effective pest control to prevent pests in multiplying themselves in houses, which include effective pest management, pest control and pest prevention.
The best and most effective way for controlling pests is pest management which includes many steps. The first and most important step in Pest Control is to identify the pest problem. This includes finding out exactly what you are up against. Some pests (bacteria, animals) are really helpful to people, so it is very important to find out any harmful pests. The second thing is to decide how much pest control is necessary. Only the family who live in the affected area can judge how serious it is to take action. The third thing is to choose an available option for pest control such as chemical pest control or non chemical pest control.
You can control pests by many means; some of the options available are:-
- Non Chemical pest control
- Chemical pest control
- Biological Methods
Another good solution for pest control is the use of chemical pesticides. It is not advisable in and around the home and commercial premises, as it will affect people adversely. The major drawback of this method is the result of the chemical pesticides treatment which are generally temporary, which in turn need repeated treatments. If used incorrectly, home-use pesticides can be poisonous to humans. While you are using chemical pesticides for pest control, the most important thing to remember is to take care in choosing the right pesticide product.
Another effective way in controlling pests is using the biological method. This is the method of using pest’s natural enemies to control them. Spiders, centipedes, ground beetles and ants are some of the beneficial bugs. This method is not harmful to people in any means and can be implemented effectively.
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