The history of pest control

The history of pest control

Pest control applications range from do-it-yourself to
scientific and very precise deployment of chemicals and predatory insects from
highly qualified practitioners. Despite the fact that pest control is worldwide
the industry is still dominated by family or sole proprietorships. Those in need
for pest control range from households to
large agro-conglomerates that need to maximize their yields. Between
these two are restaurants, bars, food production facilities, farmers – in fact,
anyone who routinely deals with food. Pest control can do more for us
convenient – but it can also save lives.

The word pest is subjective as one person’s pest may be another’s
helper For example, pest A may be a threat to crop A, and pest B a threat to
crop B. However, if pest B is a natural predator of pest A, then the farmer who
wishes to protect crop A, may cultivate and release pest B among his crops.
There is a theory that without human intervention in the food chain through
agriculture, hunting and long-distance travel will have no pests. The
the theory continues that human intervention (for example in cultivating and
releasing pest B or transporting creatures long distances) has upset the balance
of the food chain, causing instability in the numbers of insects and other animals and
distorting their evolution. This instability has led to overpopulation of a
species, as a result of which they have become pests. Having said that, assuming the first fly strike was the first
an example of pest control – and we know that large animals kill flies – it might be
argue that pest control dates back long before humans appeared on the scene.

The first recorded case of pest control dates back to 2500 BC when the Sumerians
uses sulfur to control insects. Then around 1200 BC the Chinese, in their great
the Age of Discovery toward the end of the Shang Dynasty, used chemicals to
insect control. The Chinese continued to develop more and more sophistication
chemicals and methods of insect control for crops and for human comfort.
No doubt the spread of pest control know-how was aided by the advanced state of
Chinese writing ability. Although advances in pest control methods undoubtedly
continues, the next significant piece of evidence only comes around
750 BC, when Homer describes the Greek use of wood ash spread on land as a form of
pest control.

Around 500 BC, the Chinese used compounds of mercury and arsenic as a remedy
to control body lice, a common problem throughout history. In 440 BC
Egyptians used fishing nets to cover their beds or homes at night as
mosquito protection

From 300 BC
there is evidence of the use of predatory insects for pest control,
although this method was almost certainly developed before that date. The Romans
developed methods of pest control and these ideas were spread far and wide
empire. in
200 BC Roman censor Cato promotes the use of oils as a pest control agent
and in AD 70. Pliny the Elder wrote that galbanum resin (from the fennel plant)
should be added to sulfur to discourage mosquitoes. In 13 BC the Romans built the first rat-proof granary.

The first known instance of predatory insects being transported from one area to another comes from Arabia around 1000 AD, where date growers moved ant crops from neighboring mountains to their oasis plantations to
to prey on phytophagous ants that have attacked the date palm.

Despite the enlightenment provided by the ancient Chinese, Arabs, and Romans,
many of their teachings did not pass down through time. Certainly in Europe
during the dark ages pest control methods were just as likely to be based on
superstitions and local spiritual rituals as any proven method. Pests were common
seen as workers of evil – especially those who destroy food, crops or livestock.
While there was undoubtedly pest research in the dark ages, we don’t
there is any recorded evidence of this.

It is not until the European Renaissance that there is more evidence of pest control
appears. In 1758, the great Swedish botanist and taxonomist Carolus Linnaeus
catalogs and names many pests. His writings were (and remain) the root and
a source for future research on pests (as well as plants and animals in general). At
at the same time, the agricultural revolution began in Europe and heralded a more widespread application of pest control. With the work of Linnaeus and others
the scientific and commercial needs to ensure that crops and livestock are protected,
pest control became more systematized and spread throughout the world. As global
trade increased, new pesticides were discovered.

At this point, pest control was done by farmers and some households
as a daily activity. In the early nineteenth century, however, this changed
as studies and writings began to appear that treated pest control as
separate discipline. The use of intensive and large-scale agriculture is increasing
corresponding increases in the intensity and scale of pest fears such as
catastrophic potato famine in Ireland in 1840. Pest management scaled
to meet these demands, to the point where specialist pest controllers have begun to do so
arise throughout the 20th century.

In 1921, the first airplane was used to spray crops, and in 1962, flying insect control was revolutionized when Insect-o-cutor began selling a fly killer
machines using ultraviolet lamps.

Pest control is still carried out by farmers and households to this day.
There are also pest control specialists (sometimes called pests); a lot
are sole proprietorships and others work for large companies. In most countries
the pest control industry has been dogged by a few bad practitioners who have done so
tarnish the reputation of the highly professional and responsible majority.

One thing is certain, from long before the Sumerians of 2500 BC to us in modern times, there have always been – and probably always will be – pests (including some human ones!). Thank goodness we have pest control.

#history #pest #control

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