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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Pest control methods and people

  • Author(s): Swift, John E.
  • et al.

General principles of pest control for the protection of agricultural crops, public health, and natural resources are discussed. The need for the use of pesticides in vertebrate control is compared and contrasted with pesticide use in control of insect pests, weeds, nematodes, and plant diseases. The challenge of using pesticides for vertebrate pests is that many active ingredients are broadly toxic to other vertebrates, including humans and desirable wildlife, and may need to be used in higher concentrations than are pesticides used in insect control, thus posing nontarget risks. The need for understanding the characteristics and fate of pesticides is emphasized, including the need for residue analysis, effect of chemicals on nontarget organisms, accumulation in soil, hazards to applicators and farm workers, phytotoxicity, and contamination of run-off from field into drainage systems. Human perceptions about pests and pesticides are also noted.

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