Gardening and Pest Control Exposed

Although it seems rather easy to set up gardening and pest control, there are many things that you must consider first. In fact, many of the things that you’ll read about here are not discussed often. Before you start your garden pest control, consider this…

Gardening and pest control is at least as old as agriculture. It’s an industry that’s growing rapidly. The pest control business has grown more than 50 percent in the last 5 years or so, and nationwide it has become a $7 billion industry.

With more homes being built in rural areas the problem of pest control has become more urgent.

What is Gardening and Pest Control?

It’s basically the reduction or eradication of pests. Whereas structural pest control is the control of household pests and wood-destroying pests and organisms or such other pests which may invade households or structures, gardening and pest control tends to be the control of pests that are affecting your plants, lawn and/or soil. That can sometimes spill over into the house as well, but by and large, it’s the garden we’re talking about here.

In order to protect our growing areas as well as our health, proper gardening and pest control is a necessity. It is often ignored until pests and their damage are discovered or it has got out of hand. Well there are measures you can take to help eradicate the problem.

How Do We Control Pests in the Garden?

Many people see gardening and pest control as a do-it-yourself job. Well that’s fair enough – up to a point. Gardening pest control is like visiting the doctor: to prescribe effective treatment your physician must correctly diagnose the problem and determine the extent of the injury as well as the potential for further injury. In surveys, it’s been found that many householders don’t bother to read the instructions carefully or feel the need to vary the instructions ‘because they feel they know better’.

That leads to over-concentrated doses of insecticide for example which could be hazardous to your health and any visitors. Of course we are specifically referring to chemicals, as chemical pest control is still the predominant type today. However, that said, the long-term effects of chemicals has led to a renewed interest in traditional and biological pest control towards the end of the 20th century.

For those who don’t do DIY gardening and pest control, there is the option of monthly visits from your local company. One advantage is that someone should be looking at your house and garden for pest problems regularly. One disadvantage is that homeowners insist that PCOs apply a chemical treatment monthly whether there is a pest problem or not!

The facts of pesticide use in the home and garden are very surprising:

- Each year 67 million pounds of pesticides are applied to lawns.
- Suburban lawns and gardens receive far heavier pesticide applications per acre than most agricultural areas.

Think before you spray a pesticide. You may kill the insects that are helping you keep pests in check. This means you will have to spray more in the future. Also, insects benefit your garden by pollinating your plants, helping them grow and propagate. Don’t use persistent, broad-spectrum, contact insecticides like diazinon, malathion and carbaryl. These provide only temporary pest control and are likely to kill more of the natural enemies than the pests. When their enemies are gone, pest populations may soar and become more of a problem than before they were sprayed.

Most consumers also don’t realize how potentially harmful they can be:

- Pesticides are easily tracked indoors — an EPA study found 23 pesticides in dust and air inside homes.
- Lawn chemicals can harm pets. Dog owners who use the herbicide 2,4,-D four or more times per season, double their dog’s risk of developing lymphoma.

It’s an eye-opening shock isn’t it? Can we really, really not be without these methods of pest control?

Gardening and Natural Pest Control

We believe the logical approach to gardening and pest control is to create a balance of organisms in your yard or garden. Natural pest control is less expensive than buying and applying pesticides, and it’s safer for your garden, natural wildlife and the environment.

Let’s look at some hints and tips to help your gardening and pest control:

- Beneficial insects that prey on problem bugs are available for sale
- If a plant, even a tree, has insect pest or disease problems every year, it’s time to replace it with a more tolerant variety, or another type of plant that doesn’t have these problems.
- By preventing pests from reaching your plants, you can avoid the damage they cause. And in cases where you only see a few pests, physically removing them can often keep the problem under control.

Let’s also look at some useful bugs you want to encourage in your garden:

Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.)
Bald-faced hornet
Centipede
Damselfly
Ground beetle
Honey bee
Mason bee
Parasitic wasp
Soldier beetle
Yellow jacket

Use these tips to make dealing with gardening and pest control a lot easier. If you follow the basics you will virtually eliminate your problem of garden pests forever.

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Biological Pest Control – Is it the Answer to Pest Control-Related Environmental Concerns?

Before we can get into trying to understand whether biological pest control is the answer to the pest-control related environmental concerns, it would be proper to give ourselves a little background information on this whole pest control business; for the benefit of those who may be encountering it for the very first time.

Now, pests are organisms (typically insects) that are injurious to the interests of the people who refer to them as such. Thus to farmers, the insects that invade and eat up their crops (whether in the fields or during storage), would be termed as pests. On the other hand, the ‘domestic insects’ that tend to mess up with things in domestic settings (like moths, that can mess up with cloths in storage), are seen as pests by housekeepers. Worth keeping in mind is that although most pests are insects, there are also quite are number that are non-insects: with the likes of rodents (that can mess up with crops in farms of things stored in domestic settings) being seen as pests too, the fact that they are not insects notwithstanding.

Having seen that pests are injurious, it would be natural that the people who happen to ‘fall victim’ to them would want to get rid of them. In the meantime, people who haven’t yet fallen victim to pests would be keen to avoid such a ‘fate.’ Hosting pests, by the way, can be a serious fate: thousands of hectares of farmland have been known to be wasted by pests in a single day, leading to losses that often run into millions of dollars. It is the steps taken to avoid pest invasion then, or to resolve pest invasion if it has already taken place, that are referred to as constituting pest control.

Now pest control takes various forms, depending on the pests one is trying to get rid of (or to prevent the invasion of). And while bigger pests like rodents may be controlled through mechanical means like trapping, for a long period of time, it is chemical control that has worked for the vast majority of pests, which tend to be insects as previous mentioned. The chemicals used in this endeavor are what are termed as pesticides. And while pesticides are usually very effective in pest-control, the downside to them tends to come up when we consider the fact that they tend to be extremely environmentally unfriendly. Worth keeping in mind, at this point, is the fact that the chemicals referred to as pesticides tend to be very potent ones. So it often happens that traces of them remain where they were used, even after the pests are gone. Those traces are eventually washed down to the water bodies where they wreck great havoc to the (non pest) plants and animals resident in the water bodies.

It is concern about this environmental impact of chemical pest-control that led to questions as to whether a more environmentally friend method for controlling pests couldn’t be developed. The end result was the exploration of alternatives like the biological pest control, which we are trying to see whether it is really the answer to concerns raised about (chemical- based) pest control.

In biological pest-control, it is other organisms that are known to be predators to the ones viewed as pest that are unleashed upon the said pests; eating them up and therefore resolving the pest problem. Thus if the troublesome pests are aphids, the other organisms that are known to feed on aphids are introduced into the field where the problem is, to feed on the aphids, rather than spraying an environmentally unfriendly chemical.

The problem with biological pest-control, though, is that it tends to be of questionable efficiency. While chemical pest control tends to be thorough, leaving no pests or even traces of them, in biological pest control, that can’t quite be assured. Implementing biological pest control on a large scale basis (for instance on a thousand hectare plantation) can also prove to be a herculean task. Ultimately, it is considerations like these that make us keep on thinking of more environmentally friendly pest control approaches. This is because biological pest control, while definitely being an approach that addresses the environm

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