The Pesticide Problems

In today's modern society, it is common to use Chemical pesticide to control insect pests. In fact, their use throughout the world has increased by 50% over the last 30 years, and 2.5 million tons of commercial pesticides are now applied annually. They are aggressively promoted by large companies and government groups making up a more than $35 billion a year industry. All is hunky dory, right? Guess again! The problem is, as our reliance on chemical pesticides increases (along with their cost), their effectiveness is declining. Crop yields lost to insects are greater now than they have ever been, even with increased toxicity.

Pesticides create secondary pest problems. Chemical insecticides are rarely selective and kill a large number of insects, including the good ones. The environment created by indiscriminate insecticide use often allows other insects -- not the initial pest but different insects seeking out food -- to rapidly increase in number because no natural enemies (beneficial insects) remain to prevent the population explosion. In some instances, secondary pests cause greater damage than the insects that were initially the problem .

Note: Less than 1% of the world's insects are considered pests. The other 99% play a pivotal role in our food chain and many are indispensable.

Pesticides invoke resistance. Insect pests have an uncanny ability to develop resistance to conventional insecticides. Currently, there are more than 500 insect pest and mite species that have shown resistance. In fact, some of the most destructive pests found in the garden cannot be controlled with today's chemicals. For more information visit the Insecticide Resisticide Action Committee.

The economics of pesticide use. The combination of secondary pest outbreaks, insect resistance, government regulations, and legal battles over safety and the environment have caused the cost of chemical insecticides to rise dramatically.

Environmental and social costs. In 1982, Dr. David Pimentel, a Cornell entomologist, led a study to determine the indirect, or hidden costs of pesticide use. He found, as reported in Bioscience magazine, that pesticides indirectly cost the U.S. at least $8 billion a year. This is in addition to the typical cost/benefit analyses performed by industry or government regulators. Pimentel's research included factors like:

• Domestic animal deaths and contamination
• Honeybee and pollination losses
• Groundwater contamination
• Bird losses
• Fishery losses

If you're looking for organic pest control products, I recommend Planet Natural. They offer beneficial insects and a large selection of "OMRI Listed" natural pesticides.

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