Pest Control and Insecticides

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Insecticides are highly effective emergency action tools for IPM when insect pest populations approach or exceed economic thresholds. Insecticide production and use in the United States has seen astonishing growth over the past half century. The number of chemical compounds used for insect control has increased from less than 30 to many hundreds during this period; however, over the past decade, insecticide use has decreased somewhat (source: National Pesticide Use Database 2002) in part because of greater efficacy of newer insecticides and increasing reliance on IPM. Despite some advantages, much insecticide use has been ecologically unsound and application of insecticides has led to many environmental problems. The misuse, overuse, and unnecessary use of insecticides have been important factors in the growing interest in IPM, and indeed the IPM concept seeks to maximize the advantages and minimize the shortcomings of applying insecticides. The drawbacks are often carefully considered in order to provide guidance for the optimum use of insecticides in IPM, and include insect pest resistance, resurgences and outbreaks of secondary pests, adverse effects on nontarget organisms, objectionable pesticide residues, and direct hazards to the user. Increased pest resistance to insecticide applications is an increasingly serious barrier to the successful use of these synthetic chemicals. Insecticide resistance is believed to develop largely as a result of the natural selection of insects that possess genetically controlled mechanisms or other means of survival in the presence of the insecticide.

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