How To Start A Pest Control Business
Sylviids are largely insectivorous, and are thus invaluable agents of pest control, not only in agricultural and suburban areas, but in evergreen and hardwood forests. These small songbirds are part of a natural balance that man repeatedly threatens with pesticide use, introduction of alien species, and planting and maintenance of monocultures in farming and timber production. Along with spiders and other natural enemies, sylviid warblers are part of an already extant system of insect control awaiting utilization by man. In many tropical areas, warblers are major consumers of mosquitos, helping to limit the number of vectors for insect-borne disease.
These and other pests are effectively controlled by integrated pest management, or IPM. IPM includes plowing fields to kill pests in the ground, rotating crops so that they will not have anything to eat, or planting other crops nearby that will give their enemies a place to live and prosper. Whenever possible, natural enemies are used to combat pests instead of pesticides. The use of predators, parasitoids, and diseases is called biological control. Spiders might be considered biological controls in some fields, but most species tend to eat anything they can catch, not just the pest. IPM depends on accurate identification of the pest and a thorough knowledge of its life history so that control efforts can be directed at the pest's most vulnerable life stages. However, if not used wisely, any pest control method may harm other species or their habitats.
Modification of entomopathogenic fungi has long been contemplated, but rarely reported. A limited number of studies have reported successful insertion of foreign genes into entomopathogenic fungi. A precursor to manipulation of entomopathogenic fungi using molecular techniques has been the development of transformation systems. There are several aims of transforming entomopathogenic fungi. These techniques enable gene disruption methods to be applied, which can lead to greater understanding of the genetics of disease processes, or the ability to introduce DNA into fungi may allow the modification of cell processes, potentially allowing improvements in the use of entomopathogenic fungi for insect control.
While successful expression was achieved, there was no altered virulence to the caterpillar, Manduca sexta, compared to the wildtype fungus. Genetic manipulation of entomopathogenic fungi has a long way to go before transgenic pest control strains become available, if such technology is ever acceptable to regulators and the community. However, strain modification continues to provide a wealth of data on disease processes.
Most state departments of health actively manage state-based disease or pest control programs. Some are part of national programs, but others pertain specifically to the state. Diseases that are endemic within one part of the United States, but are not present within the state, are often subject to state monitoring and control programs. Similarly, local disease eradication programs are present in many states.
Despite their reputation as disgusting pests, cockroaches are used as food by humans. Those daring enough to try adult cockroaches have said that they taste like shrimp. The Aborigines of Australia and the Lao Hill tribe of Thailand eat them raw, while children throughout Laos collect the egg capsules for frying. In the United States cockroaches are never on the menu, but they still occasionally wind up on our plates, accidentally served up from kitchens that have fallen behind in their pest control efforts.
The epidemiological models presented earlier in this chapter were explicitly designed to build disease-warning systems. For example, TOM-CAST has been implemented in eastern North America in networks grouping tomato growers, the processing industry, extension services and universities. Weather sensing can be automatic or manual, data are centralised and disease severity values or advice of fungicide spray are disseminated to growers by phone or fax.78 For pest control, the model designed by van Roermund et al.82 can be used to evaluate strategies of parasitoid release for biological control under various climate conditions.
Barn owls seem to be declining in numbers in the United States, Britain, and Canada. The likely reason for these declines is the loss of farmland, which makes very good habitat for barn owls. Barns and silos provide nest sites, and the owls can hunt for rodents in nearby fields. In the last few decades, however, many farms have been converted to housing developments or industrial parks. To help owl populations, conservationists are putting up nest boxes for owls in some areas. The boxes look like jumbo birdhouses. One reason to help owls is that they provide free pest control. One study by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection reports a barn owl family will eat more than 1,000 rats and mice in one nesting season.
Even if not wildly successful by themselves, new techniques like immunocontraception will likely play a role in integrated pest management systems targeting rabbits and other pest mammals. It is clear from over a century of rabbit control efforts that no single pest control technique by itself will work everywhere. Even myxoma virus, which looked so promising with its initial 99 rabbit control, is no longer viewed as a stand-alone solution. The integrated pest management paradigm of combining multiple control techniques and ecological principles is the wave of the future for combating invasive pests.
As indicated earlier, at the time of writing tens of thousands of secondary plant metabolites have been identified and there is a growing evidence that most of these compounds are involved in the defence mechanisms of plants, representing a large reservoir of natural pesticides to be used for pest control.159 In the particular case of vine plants, one of the most important mechanisms for their resistance to fungal diseases involves the synthesis of trans-resveratrol as a response to the infection.16 162
For insect control, the majority of research has concentrated on the use of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) 8-endotoxins (Altman et al., 1996). Bt toxin formulations have been used, over the years, as insecticides against a variety of insects (field sprays). When expressed as transgenes, these proteins are insecticidal different 8-endotoxins can be used to control insect species in the families of Lepidoptera, Diptera, and Coleoptera. A review of insecticidal spectra of different 8-endotoxins was presented by Hofte and Whiteley (1989). Because Bt 8-endotoxins have a high A T base content, some gene modification may be required to optimize codon usage in the gene. Optimization generally results in an increase of insecticidal protein that is produced in plants (Estruch et al., 1997 Perlak et al., 1991). Several gene constructs (full length and truncated forms of the toxins) have been introduced into plants and proven to be useful for the control of insects. Crops that are targets for Bt...
Barn owls and people One nickname for the common barn owl is monkey-faced owl. Some people actually believed they were flying monkeys. Barn owls have been introduced to some islands as a form of natural pest control. Grape growers in California are among the farmers that now welcome barn owls to their properties by hanging up nesting boxes. The owls help to control rodent pests.
Epidemics of arthropod-borne encephalitis can occur during natural disasters if heavy rainfall and flooding lead to increased numbers of mosquitoes, or if insect control measures are disrupted. There have been recent epidemics of West Nile virus in the United States. In addition, the CDC lists Venezuelan, eastern, and western encephalitis as potential biological weapons. An unexplained large number of cases should raise suspicion for a potential act of bioterrorism.
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