Their is much importance in pest control in understanding pest control in Agriculture.
Pests, in a simple dictionary definition is defined as a destructive insect or other animal that attack crops, foods, livestock etc.
Pests destroy the habitat of other organisms as well as natural resources, leading to reduction and destruction of native plants that provide food and shelter to native species.
There are two main classification of pests.
We have crop pests and livestock pests. Both are extremely harmful and should be taken care of with high priority.
1. Crop pests:
These are plants or animals that destroy, terminate or reduce the quality of products on the farm or during storage which reduces the economic and market value of the crop. Many crops are killed directly either by the pest or indirectly by exposing the plants to the infestation of diseases which would later lead to the death of the plant.
Classes of crop pest and pest control
° Vertebrate pests:
Vertebrate means animal of a large group distinguished by the possession of a backbone or spinal column. From the given definition of vertebrates, it can be deduced that vertebrate pests are animals like monkey, rodents and birds.
° Invertebrate pests:
Invertebrates are animals lacking backbone or spinal column such as arthropod, annelid, coelenterates, and molluscs. Examples are insects and tiny worms.
° Field pests:
These pests attacks all parts of plant roots, stems, leaves, fruits and seeds. Examples includes birds, insects and rodents.
° Storage pests:
They are pests that attack harvested farm produce in their storage places and cause extreme damages that if proper steps to eradicate them are not taken, they breed and multiply causing more harm to the stored products and increase loss of value. Examples of such insects are weevils, beens beetles and yam beetles.
Common and harmful pests in agriculture industry.
Agricultural pests can not only ruin gardens, but they can also ruin entire crops meant to feed hundreds, thousands and millions of people. Every year, farmers battles different types of pests to ensure their vegetables, fruits and other products grow and yield and harvested and stored successfully.
- Locusts: In ancient histories, these pests were told to have caused the destruction of some of the very first crops and till date they are threat to nearly every type of plants in some part of the world. Locust gather into huge swarms when the time is right and devour the plants around them. Their destruction to farmlands are devastating.
- Japanese beetles: They feed on around 300 species of plants and often feed in groups. They emerge from the ground and begin their food conquest in June. They only feed for 4-6 weeks, but in that time, they can do enough damage to cause a significant concern.
- Mormon crickets: They are not technically crickets, these pests have sharp, powerful mandibles and prefer shrubs and grasses, but also feed on field and forage crops, fruit trees and grains.
- True bugs: these are aphids and whiteflies specifically, though the term “true bug” can refer to any one of 50,000 – 80,000 insect species. These pests tap into plants and feed on their sap, which weakens the plants (mostly when these insects attacks in large numbers), but they also feed on their stalks and flowers.
They can also spread diseases and harmful viruses to plants that can lead to further destruction.
2. Livestock pests:
These are internal or external parasite found on or within the body of animals attached to their skins or intestine. Hence, livestock pests can be called parasites.
Parasites are living organism that lives in or on an organism of another species called host and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other’s expense.
Livestock pests or parasites are classified into two.
- Ectoparasites: These are parasites or pests that live on the skin of a host, from which they derive their own nutrients. Common examples of ectoparasites are stable flies, deer flies, houseflies, horn flies, face flies, mosquitoes, tse-tse flies, cattle grubs, lice, ticks, and mites. These pests cause obvious discomfort or stress to livestock and economic effects of heavy populations.
External parasites are further grouped into biting (they suck blood) and non- biting parasites (do not suck blood).
- Endoparasites: These are parasites or pests that survive within the cell of the host. Examples of intercellular parasites are tapeworms, nematodes, and other helminthes.
- Tapeworms live in the small intestine of cattle and shed segments containing eggs into the dung.
- Roundworms: They live in various parts of the gastrointestinal tract of cattle. The organisms alter the health of the host by causing digestive disturbances (nodule worms and scour worms), poor feed conversion, and scouring.
Other types of worms causes leakage of blood into the intestine, resulting in anaemia, protein loss, and failure to gain weight.
Methods of pest control.
These pest control methods are grouped or classified with respect to the size of the pest.
- Physical pest control methods.
- Chemical pest control methods.
- Cultural pest control methods.
- Biological pest control methods.
In our next blog post, we will take time to explain the controls one after the other. Ensure you follow our blog for more updates.