A History of Pest Control Methods
Pest control and agriculture have gone hand in hand since the beginning of time. Crop rotation, tillage and the burning of crop residues were ways the early farmers reduced insect damage and disease. About 4,500 years ago the Sumerians controlled insects with sulfur compounds. In ancient India, poisonous plants were used for pest control. The Chinese experimented with several chemicals to combat pests around 1200 BC.
In about 750 BC, Homer showed the effectiveness of wood ash for getting rid of pests, and by 500 BC the Chinese were using mercury and arsenic to remove body lice. The Egyptians were the first to use mosquito nets at night. They used their fishing nets, and none of the mosquitos could get through.
In 300 BC, ancient Rome found something new. They started to use predatory insects to exterminate other insects. This method was advocated throughout the Roman Empire. In 70 AD, Pliny the Elder invented a mosquito repellent that was a combination of sulfur and resin from the fennel plant. The Romans also knew that the Plague was carried by rats and invented the first rat proof grain store.
In the 1700s a German designed a fly trap and a flea trap. The flea traps were small and decorated and were worn as an accessory. In the 1800s, chemical pest control advanced by leaps and bounds, and today there are three main types of pest control.
• Pests are directly killed by a lethal substance or environmental conditions in which they cannot live
• The reproductive potential of the insects is reduced
• The behavior of the pests is modified by repelling it, excluding it, misleading it and attracting it
These control tactics are either natural or artificial. Natural control considers the environmental impact of the control. Artificial control includes insecticides and chemicals that may have a harmful impact on the environment. Since the 19th century, the choice of chemicals has changed, when their impact was observed on other parts of nature. Future environmental problems were seen such as the pollution of streams and rivers and insects that became resistant to insecticides.
Today, pest management is sustainable and environmentally friendly. This is true for large farms as well as home gardens. None of the methods are used alone, but there are several methods used together to minimize risks to human health.