SILENT SPRING: PESTS AND PESTICIDES
WHAT IS A PEST?
Pests are organisms that cause problems in …
- agriculture and animal husbandry
- human and livestock health
- our gardens and homes
- the natural environment
From a human perspective, these organisms are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Plant pests are often called weeds.
A weed is a plant that is unwanted or causes damage in certain areas.
Animal pests can range from tiny worms up to large mammals.
Insects and related arthropods (such as ticks) are the most significant animal pests.
Pests can be microscopic.
Fungi, microbes (single-celled organisms) and bacteria can be pests.
Many pests operate in teams.
One pest may transport another pest between locations or hosts.
WHAT IS A PESTICIDE?
A pesticide is:
“any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying or controlling any pest, including vectors of human or animal disease, unwanted species of plants or animals causing harm ... The term includes substances intended for use as a plant growth regulator,(or) defoliant, ...” (The Food and Health Organization)
Pesticides can target any type of pest. There are four main types of pesticides:
- Herbicides (target plant pests)
- Fungicides (target fungal pests)
- Insecticides (target insects and other arthropod pests)
- Bactericides (target bacterial pests)
Other pesticides target worms, snails and slugs, rodents, and other animal pests. Some pesticides affect many organisms; others are more specific.