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Is the use of pesticides an acceptable form of pest control?

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Introduction

Is the use of pesticides an acceptable form of pest control? A pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, or repelling any pests. Pests can be insects, mice and other animals, unwanted plants (weeds), fungi, or micro-organisms like bacteria and viruses. The different types of pesticides include herbicides (weed killers), fungicides, insecticides and other chemical substances. Pesticides use a variety of different chemical substances (such as organophosphates and organochlorines) which can be classified into the following groups: Contact pesticides where the pesticide is sprayed directly onto the crop and usually absorbed by the insect through tiny gas-exchange pores along it's body. They are inexpensive but often have to be reapplied. Systematic pesticides are also sprayed directly onto the crop and absorbed by the leaves, but the pesticide then transports itself around the plant. Therefore if a sap-sucking insect such as an aphid should feed onto the crop plant, it takes in the pesticide and is poisoned. ...read more.

Middle

In the 1960s, wildlife biologists were puzzled when the gannet population in Quebec, Canada began to shrink. The shells of the gannets' eggs were too thin to protect the embryos, therefore when the mothers tried to turn the eggs; they were too fragile and so cracked very easily killing the young inside. When the eggs had been analysed, the scientists identify the culprit DDT, which had been bio-concentrated through higher levels of the food web. The fish in the sea had been poisoned and this passed to the gannet populations. The populations of other predatory birds such as eagles and peregrine falcons were also affected in the same way. [http://www.essaybank.co.uk/free_coursework/1958.html] Wildlife habitat is also affected as the birds and mammals, which depend on specific habitats, were no longer able to live in their natural environments due to the use of the herbicides in the soil they occupied. Their predators were also affected, as there are no prey left for them to feed on.[ http://www.essaybank.co.uk/free_coursework/1958.html] An alternative method to chemical pesticide use is using biological pesticides or Bio-pesticides. ...read more.

Conclusion

The integrated approach actually tolerates some pests, so long as the damage they cause remains minor. In fact, small pest populations are welcome, since they ensure that the pest's natural enemies will also survive in the system. http://www.ns.ec.gc.ca/epb/fiddle/alternat.html IPM can allow for the growth of the right crop for the conditions, e.g. soil type, climate. It allows crops to be grown with natural resistance to pest in the area. Using IPM, farmers can depend on a method called "crop rotation" to control pests. A variety of crops are planted and then rotated to different fields each year. Pests that attack one variety will die off when that variety is replaced by a different crop the following year. In many cases, removing their preferred food and shelter can control pest populations. Overall it can said that pesticides prevent crops from being destroyed by pests, however pesticides can also cause serious illness and often death to both humans and animals alike. Using bio-pesticides as well Integrated Pest Management, can limit the amount of pesticide use by combing both the use of chemicals and nature together. ...read more.

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