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Scientists take objective look at terms 'least toxic pesticides' applied as 'last resort'
Date:11/12/2012

for re-treatment with another pesticide on larger and/or harder-to-control pest infestations. This can result in higher costs, reduced control and undesirable environmental effects attributable to the pest.

The Problem with Using Pesticides Only "As a Last Resort"

  • "Last resort" implies that pesticides will work as well when every non-chemical control technique is attempted first. However, delaying application of a pesticide can cause buildup of the pest(s) in crops, gardens, buildings and other sites, with negative impacts on yield, quality and/or health. In fact, delaying treatment can significantly increase the ecological and economic damage to crop and non-crop areas.
  • Using pesticides as the last line of defense can result in a more limited choice of pesticides, as well as reduced crop tolerance, the need for higher rates, and less effective control because of higher infestation levels and/or more tolerant pest stages. For example, seedling weeds and early-stage insect larvae and diseases are usually more easily controlled than later pest stages.
  • Effective pesticide choices, when they are applied as a "last resort," means fewer options to rotate pesticides, which is a critical step in preventing a pest from becoming resistant to a pesticide. "Last resort" pesticide strategies may also increase the need for multiple products and higher application rates to control the pest effectively.
  • "Last resort" suggests pesticides are always the worst choice, which is not true. First using non-chemical techniques that are ineffective or inefficient has the potential to add to the cost of pest management, intensify the pest problem or create new problems.
  • Branding pesticides as the "last resort" choice certainly does not stimulate a strong public interest in funding education on their proper use. Pesticides are widely used, but discretionary federal funding of the

Contact: Lee Van Wychen
Lee.VanWychen@wssa.net
202-746-4686
Entomological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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