The Trouble with Pesticides
Integrated Pest Management is based on prevention, monitoring, and appropriate pest control strategies. To understand why it is important to curtail the use of pesticides, it can be helpful to know the negative aspects of pesticides.
Pest Resistance. Regular use of pesticides can render them ineffective. Surviving pests carry genes that pass on pest resistance to pesticides, and repeated pesticide applications increase the proportion of resistant individuals in a pest population until the majority are resistant to that pesticide. In contrast, IPM can take advantage of crops ability to compensate for damage.
Beneficial Species. Many pesticides don’t differentiate between beneficial species and pests. They can eradicate species that aren’t doing damage or that are beneficial to the garden or environment. IPM encourages beneficial species which act as natural pest controls.
Short-term Solutions. Pesticides are often short-term solutions. Using them can lead to secondary pest outbreaks. Routine, scheduled pesticide applications ignore the causes of pest infestations, and often offering temporary fixes that are not effective over the long term.
Risk. Pesticide exposure can cause immediate and long-term risk to humans and other organisms.
Environmental Hazards. Pesticides can contaminate the air, ground and surface water, presenting risks to humans, other living things, and the ecology.
For more information about pesticides, pesticide risks and choosing products, visit the
The Maine Board of Pesticides Control [http://www.thinkfirstspraylast.org]
National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) [http://npic.orst.edu/]