Why is pest control necessary? Here is the purpose of pest control, well outlined.
Pests are unwanted organisms that penetrate and intrude into our regular activities. On the farm, they affect the yield of agricultural production. In homes or offices, they affect our daily social and environmental activities.
Pests are unwanted, and if left uncurbed, their destructive capabilities have no boundaries.
Is Pest Control Really Necessary?
The rate of agricultural losses is on a high rise despite the advancement and improvement of methods of combating these pests. According to Pimentel, half the food and fiber produced all over the world are lost to pests.
The uncontrolled population of pests raises concerns about food and nutrition security, health and well-being, and even the condition of the ecosystem. In other words, the ability to control pests plays a very significant role in the well-being of man and the welfare of the ecosystem.
The eradication of pests from our homes and farmland is necessary because they not only cause physical damages to the property; they are also capable of carrying viruses and bacteria that can cause life-threatening illnesses to man.
The fact that pests affect agricultural produce means it affects the source of our livelihood. It is trouble for medicine and a threat to the ecosystem. So yes, pest control is necessary, but the question is, how do we effectively curb these unwanted creatures?
There are four basic methods of control that can help to eradicate or minimize the activities of these unwanted species;
- Mechanical method
- Cultural method
- Biological method
- Chemical method
The Importance of Mechanical Pest Control Method
The mechanical method of eradicating unwanted organisms is an old, natural, and eco-friendly means of terminating the activities of pests. It is very effective in harmlessly curbing the activities of pests.
Unlike the chemical method, it preserves the nutrients of the soil while getting rid of pests. However, it cannot be effective for large scale farming, nor can it be effective in eradicating micro pests.
The Importance of Cultural Pest Control Method
This is also an old and traditional means of controlling a pest. It is a highly effective means of getting rid of pests by inter-cropping or crop rotation or constant weeding that help to expose pests to other predators. It is also a natural and eco-friendly means of protecting agricultural produce.
The limitation of this method is that it can only serve as a preventive measure; it cannot be used to combat a pest outbreak.
The Importance of Biological Pest Control Method
The biological is more effective than the cultural or mechanical method of controlling the pest. It is the process of setting nature up for action, especially when the predator of a pest is introduced. This method of control does not affect the nutrients of the soil, although it cannot be as effective in large scale farming.
Another process of setting nature up for action is by building immunity for the agricultural produce- this is highly effective, especially for large scale farming. This is a natural way of eradicating the pest since feasting on the host (crops or animals) has now become poisonous.
However, the limitation of these biological methods is that, while building immunity for the agricultural produce, some nutrients might be lost in the process or even alter the nutritional composition, especially in the case of breeding pest-resistant plants.
The Importance of Chemical Pest Control
The chemical method of control is very effective in large scale farming. It does not only serve as a preventive measure, but it can also combat a pest outbreak. It saves a lot of crops from destruction and ensures more agricultural production.
However, this method may end up causing more damage because of the chemical composition. The chemicals might tamper with the nutritional composition of the crops, and some animals may die of the chemicals faster than they may die of the pest infestation.
Some chemicals might get into the waterways, thereby contaminating the water.
INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT (IPM)
The limitations of each of the methods of Pest Control is the reason why it is globally accepted to use the Integrated Pest Management approach in eradicating or curtailing the population of the pest.
Integrated Pest Management is a pest control model that is based on long-term management of the pest. It is an eco-friendly approach that helps to curtail the activities of these unwanted species by engaging all of the methods of control to effectively and efficiently eradicate the unwanted organisms and improve agricultural productivity.
The IPM model helps to curtail the activities of unwanted species in the best way. This is because it helps to manage the pest in such a way that it poses little or no risk to the people or the environment. Using this model, pesticides are used to get rid of only the unwanted organisms.
Integrated Pest Management is a method of pest control that makes use of the combination of all the methods of control-mechanical, cultural, biological, and chemical- to combat pests and protect the agricultural product. It is also eco-friendly.
How IPM Works
This model is a productive pest control approach that makes use of all the methods of control by evaluating the effect and consequences of each of the methods of control and coming up with the safest and most effective strategy in combating pests.
This approach is practiced by following a four-tier model.
- 1st Tier: Pest Action threshold- this means that one must set standards for the pest population. Once the pests exceed the standard, action can now be taken against them.
- 2nd Tier: Study and Identify Pest- According to IPM control, not all pests are harmful. Some pests may cause some damage and are beneficial to man. The IPM approach tends to monitor and identify the pest before taking the next line of action.
- 3rd Tier: Prevention- The IPM model’s first course of action is to take the preventive route. So the IPM engages the cultural method of crop spacing, environmental sanitation to prevent pests from taking over.
- 4th Tier: Control- Once the pests breakthrough the preventive measure, exceed the action threshold, and it has been identified, the next course of action is to identify the safest and most effective method of eradication
The IPM is made possible and effective when one can get information on the cycle of pests and their biological and environmental interactions. With this information, one can ascertain what method will best eradicate such pests with the least risk to the environment and humans.
The Integrated Pest Management approach is dynamic and flexible, and it requires regular modification and updating of the results.
IPM is globally recognized as the most effective approach to pest control in small and large scale farming, and it has track records of reducing risks associated with the use of chemicals as it improves the quality of agricultural output.
The Importance of Integrated Pest Management
IPM brings about healthy plants and animals because it helps to promote the biological method of pest control, thereby reducing the environmental and nutritional risk associated with the use of pesticides.
It is an eco-friendly method of pest eradication that protects some other species that would have been affected while trying to get rid of the pest.
It reduces the extent of water or air contamination caused by a method of pest control. The IPM takes all the methods of pest control under consideration and adopts the safest and most effective method for a particular pest. In other words, the concern about the effect of the use of pesticides is eliminated.
Above all, the IPM is cost-effective concerning the scale of farming. In the long run, IPM makes all living organisms happy by providing the safest and healthiest ways of co-existing.
Advantages of Integrated Pest Management
- IPM is cost-effective. Compared to the amount spent in purchasing pesticides to get rid of pests, the use of the natural methods overrides the reliance on pesticides, which saves the cost. IPM cheaper to adopt because the different techniques adopted will produce a lasting solution to pest control.
- IPM is eco-friendly. Since there is less use of pesticides, which are considered dangerous to the environment because of chemical pollution on the land and in the waterways, the environment is better off with this approach to pest control. The lesser the application of a chemical to the soil, the more fertile they will be, and the more nutrients they will give to the plants.
- It reduces the hazards of pesticides. All the risk associated with the use of pesticides to eradicate pests is eliminated, whether it is a nutritional risk or environmental risk. IPM is a standard approach that will not make use of chemicals unless it is necessary, and there are no healthier alternatives.
- It is the antidote for pesticide-resistant pests. The IPM approach is capable of getting rid of pests who have developed resistance against a particular pesticide. More so, there will fewer cases of pests developing resistance since the use of the chemical is discouraged.
- It is the safest method of pest control. Using the IPM model will not affect plants or animals negatively. It is reliable and affordable.
Above, we have outlined some of the benefits of pest control. Is it necessary? Yes.