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.
- Rotate your crops.
- Plant many different crops together.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
What is integrated pest management?: DCFRN Package 28, script 3, 1993.