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Script 52.3

Script

Characters:

Narrator

Farmer Malex

Mr. Kufa:
Agricultural Extension Worker

Narrator:
These days many farmers use only one type of pest control – chemical pesticides. But this can cause problems. One problem is that pesticides become less effective as time goes on. At first they seem to work well. But as time goes on you may need to use more pesticides, or different ones, to kill the same number of pests. This happens because some of the pests in your field are not killed by pesticides. They survive, even after you spray. When these same pests breed, they create MORE pests just like them – pests that are not affected by pesticides. They have become resistant to pesticides. Soon, you have a large number of resistant pests, and spraying again will be less effective.

And there’s another problem. Pesticides don’t just kill bad insects. They also kill many of the good, useful insects which eat insect pests. So you have to spend more money to buy more pesticides to do the work that useful insects were doing before.

This is what can happen if you depend on just one method of pest control, such as chemical pesticides. But there is a better way to deal with pest problems. Some people call it integrated pest management.

The idea in integrated pest management is to use several methods of pest control at the same time. If one method fails, others will keep working. You might want to use three or four methods. Here are three examples of different ways you can manage pests.

  1. Rotate your crops.
  2. Plant many different crops together.
  3. Remove pests by hand.

Each of these is a good way to control pests. But a combination of two or three of these methods is best. Because if one method fails another method will continue to protect your crop.

In a moment, we’ll hear a discussion between a farmer and a local pest control expert about how to choose the best methods of pest control.

MUSIC/SOUND EFFECTS

Narrator:
Here we are with Farmer Malex and the local agricultural extension agent, Mr. Kufa. Farmer Malex is very happy to greet Mr. Kufa and discuss his pest problems.

Farmer Malex:
Mr. Kufa! How good of you to come out to my field today and examine my crops. As you can see there are lots of insects eating my precious vegetables. I have such trouble deciding which method of pest control to use.

Mr. Kufa:
The first step is to learn as much as possible about the pest. Learn about its life cycle, its home and its habits. Also, learn about its natural enemies and the relation between pest and crop.

Farmer Malex
: But how can I learn? I don’t have any books or teachers!

Mr. Kufa:
You can learn about the pest yourself, by watching it carefully in the field. You may be surprised to learn that some insects have three different stages of development and that others have four stages. And that some insects have mouths that suck and others have mouths that bite.

Farmer Malex:
Why is it so important to learn about the pest? Can that really help me with pest management?

Mr. Kufa:
Yes. If you can identify a pest at each stage of its development, you can decide at which stage you should control it. Some pests are easier to control as adults, others are easy to control when they are eggs or larvae.

You will also want to know when the insect feeds on the plant. Does it feed in the day or at night? In what season is it a problem? You want to make sure you are not wasting your time or money controlling a pest when it is not damaging the plant.

Farmer Malex:
I wonder how I should start learning about the pests in my field.

Mr. Kufa:
Here’s a suggestion. You can learn more about the life cycle of insect pests by catching some. Keep them in a can or bottle with some earth and some leaves. Punch holes in the top of the container. Watch how the insects change at different stages of their life.

Narrator:
When selecting a pest control method, start by exchanging ideas with your neighbours. Then experiment with a few different methods. Find out which combination works best for you. When you use integrated pest management you need to be creative and consider problems carefully.

MUSIC/SOUND EFFECTS

Don’t think of insects as enemies. They are part of the natural environment. Like people, they need to eat. In a balanced environment, both insects and people have enough to eat. Using only chemical pesticides changes the balance in nature. But by using integrated pest management, you can find ways to work with, instead of against, nature.

Acknowledgements

Contributed by: Jennifer Pittet, Managing Editor, DCFRN; with Hermogenes Castillo, ALTERTEC, Guatemala.

Reviewed by: Dr. H‚lŠne Chiasson, Ph.D. Research Entomologist, and Adjunct Professor, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

Information Sources

What is integrated pest management?: DCFRN Package 28, script 3, 1993.