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Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different methods of pest control

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Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different methods of pest control In the world today there is an ever increasing desire to increase agricultural efficiency in terms of producing maximum yields of crops and produce. Maximum output levels cannot be reached if pests are consistently destroying crops and this affects both the producer and the consumer. Consequently different methods of exterminating and reducing pest numbers have been developed in the forms of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides, which can be categorised under the general; heading pesticides. One effective way of protecting crops is the use of chemical pesticides, which are designed to control, repel or kill various pests or weeds which are potentially harmful to the plant. The most popular pesticide in developed countries is the herbicide, which are utilised as a means of destroying weeds which are native plants growing in cultivated soil and compete interspecifically with a crop plant for key resources such as light, water and minerals. Herbicides reduce the interspecific competition between the crop and the weed. A significant disadvantage of pesticides is that they are often poisonous. Farmers must therefore take care not to overuse chemical pesticides as they can have serious effects on non-target organisms including people, such as the farmer applying the pesticide or the consumer who will encounter the pesticide residues that are left on a crop plant. ...read more.


Another problem the environment has to face due to pesticides is known as 'persistent organic pollutants' (POPs). POPs poison non-target organisms in the environment and increases the chances of human disruption of the endocrine system, cancer, infertility and mutagenic effects. However these are at this point not complete in being backed up by sufficient evidence and research. Due to these potential health risks, the cost of developing new pesticides has risen dramatically over the past few years. The government has become involved and slowed the progress and development of pesticides and increasing the costs of the new products. This combined with the fact that pesticides have short market lives due to developed resistance by pests makes pesticides gain lower profits for the producers of these products. However despite the clear disadvantages of pest control there are also many clear advantages of using them. The most blatant advantage of using pesticides is that they are very easy accessible and available for relatively low prices. Pesticides are also very easy to use for farmers and this contributes to their popularity over other means of pest control. It is widely thought that pesticides are exploitatively expensive, considering they have to be distributed over such wide areas of land; however this is proven to be incorrect. Pesticides are very cost effective and require less human labour to maintain the pesticide process. ...read more.


This can be tedious and may be extremely time consuming until a balance is found. Biocontrol is used more effectively against pests with high tolerance levels, i.e. pests that may defoliate plants but not significantly impact crop yields. In a lot of cases biological control can be more expensive that pesticide use and often the results are not as dramatic or quick as pesticide use either. Another problem with biological control is that the predator itself may have a negative effect on the crops and may also begin consuming the plants, which has a consequently counteractive effect on what was originally supposed to occur. Also on the upper hand however is that with biological control there are no potentially harmful effects on humans that chemical pesticides have a high probability of causing. This means that biological control is overall a safer method of pest control than the use of chemical pesticides. In conclusion, it is fair to say that both types of pest control; pesticides and biological control have their advantages and disadvantages and it may depend on the type of crop or plant that the individual farmer grows that may decipher upon which system is most beneficial to that farmer. Pesticides have the disadvantage of their potentially dangerous and harmful chemical properties which are easily spread, however they are relatively cheap and effective. Biological control is advantageous for its lack of harmfulness to the environment and it's preserving of nature, however the process needs more research and is more time consuming and more difficult to fine tune. ...read more.

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