Definition of Pesticide

What Is a Pesticide?

Pesticide is a substance used to prevent, destroy, control, and repel any type of pest. Pesticides are modern agriculture’s answer to fight against creatures that would reduce agriculture production, appearance and flavor of foods, appearance of ornamental plants, contamination of foods with disease and fungi, and so on.

Pesticides work by having one or more physical, chemical, or biological effects on the pests in question. For instance, they can inhibit or repel pests from feeding, prevent breeding, attract with the intention of infecting or killing, or reduce pest productivity. The types of pests that are targeted with pesticides include things like:

  • Bactericides: Bacteria
  • Fungicides: Mould and fungi
  • Herbicides: Weeds
  • Insecticides: Insects
  • Misc: Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and plant growth regulators
  • Molluscicides: Slugs
  • Repellents: Birds and animals
  • Rodenticides: Rats and mice

Pesticides are a convenient way to control pests quickly and efficiently. However, the problem with many pesticides is that they often have unintended consequences on human health and the environment. For instance, they can:

  • Kill beneficial insects, plants, fungi, and other wanted organisms indiscriminately
  • Poison waterways which can result in unwanted impacts on marine and freshwater creatures
  • Destroy the natural biological ecosystem in soil which ultimately reduces its nutritive value and ability to support healthy, vibrant plant and animal communities
  • Can bioaccumulate so that when predators consume the pests, the impacts of the pesticides become concentrated, having an increased impact the higher up the food chain they go
  • Contribute to human health problems by causing or contributing to skin and eye irritation, endocrine disruption, and cancer

It should be noted that not all pesticides are produced from chemicals. There are many effective, natural alternatives such as tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, pyrethrum extract, diatomaceous earth, and many others.

If you want to go one step further, a much more environmentally preferable method of identifying and manipulating pests at home, in the garden, or on the farm is integrated pest management (IPM), which emphasizes proper identification, prevention, and safe control of pests in order to minimize the necessity of pesticides. Though this method requires a little more time and effort, the environmental and health benefits are worth the trouble.

Pesticide Articles

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