Pest Control in agriculture
Many acknowledge the need to keep our food sources clean and effective. Unfortunately the image of “grandma” working in her garden does not apply to a large scale system of food production. It may be rather desirable for the large part of society not to notice what some would deem repugnant side of articulate. That is of course, pest control. The necessity to remove unwanted outside factors in a control environment, like a farm is paramount (Altieri, 1994). The need and demand for a continuous supply of not only clean but of high quality of food is of far more importance then that of having to sacrifice a few of our wood line friends.
Now that’s not to say we should be cruel in the method of disposing of our furry little friends. There are many ways to do this effectively and humanely. These methods include but not limited to:
• Insect introduction to the field
• Allowing hunters to do the pest control for you.
• Electric Fencing( or non electric fencing)
As you can see the ways and means of ridding a food production area of pest are both many and affordable ((MIGUEL A. ALTIERI, 1994).
In order to explain these pest control methods in a depict manner I must explain them individually. For example the Argentine Ants are commonly the most found pest both in doors and out in California. They quickly go from a pest to a danger when they find there way out from a home to a farm. They not only force out/kill native ants and other helpful organisms that may reside on the farm. They also “protect sap-sucking homopteran pests such as aphids and scales so that they can imbibe the sugar- rich honeydew secreted by these insects”. The by product of this is it allows unwanted organism to grow, homoptern is an example of this (gisp.org, 2004). The state of California Pesticide Regulation suggests using a slow acting poison to rid a food production area of these pest (Nita Davidson). Fipronil is one of these slow acting poisons. It is a white powder that is not toxic to humans, dogs, cats, deer, fish, earthworms and some birds (such as ducks) but highly toxic to ants, and other insects. It however is yet to be registered for agriculture use but is a example of safe and easy ways to conduct pest control (Amrith S. Gunasekara & Tresca Troung, 2007).
Next is my own personal favorite method of pest disposal, firearms. From .177, .22 or 25 caliber pellet's for small game/pest to 308 Winchester (7.61x51 NATO) for larger pest, such as a fox. Anyone on of these can effective provide a painless and quick kill. A simple end to a mean when it comes to keeping farm animals safe and in desired conduction. To be technical a 308 Winchester round can deliver a 180 grain round at two thousand seventy seven feet per second with 3,002 foot pounds of energy on impact.(hornady inc). With proper equipment and some skill the only real limits if a weapon system in function of pest control is the weapon operator.
If you’re wondering to yourself, “is this legal”? A rather unfortunate side effect of the rather un-American hoplophobia pledged politicians found in California has produced ignorance in the field of firearms and its legality in the Golden State. To avoid the tortuous maze that is California Fire Arm laws and the legal gymnastics one must perform, that would leave Jacques Verges in “shock and aww” as he clapped and shed tears of joy, to legally acquire what they need in terms of performance and other features (such as detachable magazines, pistol grips, forward grips, ect) but I digress. What I mean to condense my point is firearms are clearly highly effective methods for pest control in an agriculture situation. Leading onwards with the listed pest control methods. Trapping can also be deployed in reaction to a pest invasion. They range from simple fly style of traps:
To the more complex traps as shown above (LSimmons Pest Management, Inc. ast). Other trap related option is the mesh (steel) wire trap. These traps are capable of trapping a varmint humanely and provide a set and forget method for the individual conducting pest control. These of course would require the psychical action of disposing of the varmint in question. They are also meant for larger pest such as fox or raccoons that may endanger livestock or contaminate a crop with bodily waste.
Allowing Mother Nature to handle your pest problems can be either amazing successful or the end with environmental disarray. Trichogramma wasps can be a preferred method for natural pest control if the pest happens to be caterpillars. The wasp then kills off the caterpillar’s eggs, thus stopping the problem before it starts. (Vegetable research and information center, 2000). Lady Bugs are also an ideal insect to deal with thing such as Aphid that can be found on corn leafs in of course corn corps. One of the more beneficial points of these not only simple, but easy to use natural pest control is self explanatory. The option to just simply release the required amount of Lady Bugs and watch them eat the Aphid out of your crop or garden. (The beneficial insect company).
Allowing local hunters to remove the larger pest is also a good method for pest control.
In accordance with California hunting law’s. Small birds may be taken with any “firearm”, including but not limited to:
• Air Rifles (.177 to .25 caliber)
• Muzzle Loader
• 10 Gauge Shot Gun
Some of the other legality is if there is a seasonal protection of the bird (CA.GOV). As for larger pest or if you should find yourself in some short of odd situation such as a herd of deer refusing to exit the area or more likely you find yourself having a fox problem. Some of the other dangers to farm animals may include but not limited to:
• Feral and domestic cats
As you can see now general and regulated hunting can be beneficial to all parties. Less c competition for the pest species for food. Less to worry about for the food producer in terms of keep their investment in desired condition (smallfarm.about.comt).
Electric fencing is also an extremely effective way of keeping unwanted animals out of a farming area. For example a small 3 feet high electric fence can effectively repel animals such as raccoons, coyotes and other small pest (Mr.Green Inc.).
The opposing view may include the same as the pros:
Poison could easily cause death to the person applying it! Among causing huge danger to endangered wild life and house hold pets. Even unknowing children that have wondered in the area. These are serious threats to the safety and health of farm workers and wild life (R. K. Simon, Ph.D.). Some of the side effects of Pesticide Poisoning include but not limited to vomiting, Redding of skin, blurred vision (National Cancer Institute, National Academy of Science). An other antagonizing fact is the link between high exposed to pesticide and cancer (national cancer institute). As you can clearly see this is not so much a safe and healthy way to conduct “pest control”
Fire arms can not always bring a quick end to a varmint live due to it requiring high skill on the part of the users end. What if he/she misses? What if he/she just wounds the animal? This is a rather uneasy question since there need not be unneeded pain caused to animals only look for food and a place to live. Is it really needed to kill these animals? No a simple fence would be more then enough to drive away most animals that may be deemed pest. The trimming of place that may be deemed desirable by these animals as a place to build nest or “hang out” at can also provide a cheap and simple way to conduct pest control without harming wildlife. While the start up cost may be high for fencing, the long term cost would see a decrease when compared to other methods such as forcing the “pest” out of the area with such things as poisons or firearms.
Traps, now traps may appear to be a good idea on the surface but in reality they are far from so. The main problem being that animal that is trapped may remain so for hours or days. This allows for a lot of unneeded pain and suffering. An example of these cruel traps is glue traps that trap small animals (including kittens!) and remain stuck at time for hours in these barbarian traps (PETA).
Messing with Mother Nature is rarely a good idea. Playing god with the ecosystem is an other example of over stepping boundaries. A simple mistake of releasing the wrong insect species or releasing to many could have serious and long term negative effects on the ecosystem. Such as removing a single species by direct means or indirect by product can cause the entire area to change and ruin the disability for farming or similar use.
Fences can also cause environmental change for wild life. Paths used to travel from point a to point b are no longer useable due to being blocked by the fences farmers tend to put up. Barbwire can also cause injury to animals by entrapping them if they attempt to cross. An other great “fence” is a natural barrier. A tree line will stop things such as dust from coming into your corps in large numbers and will also discourage some pest from entering the area. As you can see there are finite number of ways to proper and painless methods to pest control, all it takes a will and a want.