Pest Control: An Organic Approach

Pest Control: An Organic Approach

Biological and organic pest control dates back to 3000 BC in Egypt where cats were used to control pests like rodents that were invading grain storage. By 500 AD in Europe, domesticated ferrets were used as mousers. Mongooses, believed to have started with ancient Egyptians, were used in homes to control rodents and snakes.

Within agricultural management, pests may be animals, insects, and rodents that harm crops and vegetation. Largely, chemical and biological methods are used to control pests. For some urban dwellers, pests are defined as insects, rodents, birds, reptiles, wild animals, and other organisms that invade residential and commercial buildings as well as gardens, residential yards, orchards, surrounding vegetation and outdoor buildings. Most residential homeowners and commercial business owners attempt to control pests by using chemical products or traps. Few use organic or biological methods to control pests. Pests invade residential, commercial, and industrial sites within cities and urban areas. They contaminate food, damage structural wood (termites), chew through fabric and infest stored dry goods. They cause financial loss, carry disease, cause fire hazards, and are a real nuisance. Some methods of control include improving sanitation and garbage control, removing standing water, modifying habitats, using repellents, growth regulators, baiting, trapping, and chemical pesticides.

Biological pest control is a method used to control insects and mites, by using other organisms. Though this method relies upon human management to control the process, it involves predation, parasitism, herbivory, and other natural forms of pest control. One of the disadvantages of biological control is when the control insect turns into a major pest. For example, the multicolored Asian lady beetle was introduced into the United States to control aphids. Instead, it became a pest that invades homes during the winter months. In Hawaii, the small Indian mongoose was used to control snakes and rats in the sugar cane fields. But instead, it preys upon native Hawaiian birds, amphibians, reptiles, and poultry. Annually, the mongoose population causes approximately $50 million dollars worth of damage in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Similarly, in the U.S. mice, rats, squirrels, and other rodents cause tremendous damage chewing on wires, fabric, plastic, and other household items.

Physical pest control uses baiting and trapping methods to control wild animals, rodents, and insects that damage homes and property that disturb human dwellings and cause humans physical harm. Old-fashioned sticky flypaper is a method of physical flying insect control. Additional methods use glue boards, chemically treated bait traps, ultraviolet light bug zappers that use sticky chemicals to attract and trap flying insects. Rodents are trapped using spring traps. Some wild animals are trapped and relocated. Acoustic devices are used for detecting damaging timber beetles.

Organic and natural gardening and pest control are used because people want to avoid using harmful pesticides within their gardens and homes. Commonly used household items can be used as solutions to eliminate insects in a garden or within a home. Lavender and spearmint can be grown within indoor container gardens to help repel moths but they do not kill the moths or their eggs. In the outdoor garden, two effective plants for nematode control are the painted daisy and French marigold. Both of these plant varieties actually kill nematodes in an efficient manner. Learn more about organic and natural gardening and pest control methods to safely grow herbs, vegetables, flowers without using harmful pesticides.

Ben Wright

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