When most of us hear the term ‘pest control’ what immediately comes to our minds is the image of someone with a sprayer on their back, or a light aircraft hovering over an extensive farm, trying to combat pests. In both cases, of course, it is the chemicals that are sprayed that will eventually get rid of the pests in question. In other words, for most of us, pest-control has come to be equated to ‘use of chemicals.’ Perhaps this is something caused by the informational campaigns done by the makers of the various pest control chemicals. Perhaps it is something to do with what we learn, regarding pest-control, from our educational systems. But whatever its source, the end result is some sort of ‘hype:’ where chemicals come to be viewed as the only solutions to the pest problem. Whether the pests troubling you happen to be cockroaches in your kitchen, rats in your store-room, bedbugs in your bedroom or aphids on your garden, the solution is simply to get the right chemical – and they’ll soon be history; you are told.
Now there is no denying that the chemical approach to pest control is a highly effective one: sometimes with a 100% success rate. There is also no denying that it is a highly efficient one. And there is no denying that in some cases, it can be the only viable pest-control mechanism: like where the pest infestation problem is a very big one, or where the problem is relatively modest, but the area on which pest control is necessary too huge.
Yet we must not let ourselves be boxed into equating pest-control with chemical use. Pest control is possible even without the use of chemicals in many cases. This is delighting information in a situation where some of the chemicals used in pest control do our environment no favors. As it turns out, there are many other little hyped, yet highly effective pest control methods, which (where suitable), can be used in place of chemicals.
One of the simplest, yet highly effective pest control approach is simply eliminating the pests’ breeding grounds. Most pests don’t invade en masse, but rather a couple (or so) come in, and then reproduce to end up with the very troublesome swarms that can only be eradicated chemically. If the breeding grounds can be identified early enough and destroyed, the pest problem would have been nipped in the bud, and the need for chemical intervention would never arise.
Another simple, yet often ignored approach to pest-control is trapping (like where the pests in question are the things like rats). Yet one need not use chemicals to combat these types of pests, when they could be just as easily -and probably more effectively – combated by trapping.
For the more troublesome insect pests like aphids, one of the least talked about yet highly effective pest-control approaches is that which is known as biological control. What happens here is that other organisms that can feed on the troubling pests (say aphids in this case) are introduced into the field where the pests are causing trouble. The end result is a party on the part of the predators so introduced – and complete elimination on the part of the pests being controlled.
Destruction of plants that have been infected (in case it is plant pests we are looking at) can also often yield remarkable results in term of preventive pest control. So can approaches like the burning of fields after crop harvesting; during which the pests that could have started developing are burnt, and hence their cycles broken.