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Thread: Pesicides

  1. #1 Pesicides 
    Forum Sophomore buffstuff's Avatar
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    From what I know, correct me if I am wrong, pesticides have been responsible for the increase in pests. What I mean is, pesticides have caused new generations of "super bugs" that are immune to pesticides. We can only throw so many chemicals on the crops before they start affecting us. What will we do when pesticides no longer work? Revert soley to GMO's to save the crops? And what did farmers do before the arrival of chemicals?


    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. -Robert Heinlein
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    • #2 Re: Pesicides 
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      Quote Originally Posted by buffstuff
      From what I know, correct me if I am wrong, pesticides have been responsible for the increase in pests. What I mean is, pesticides have caused new generations of "super bugs" that are immune to pesticides. We can only throw so many chemicals on the crops before they start affecting us. What will we do when pesticides no longer work? Revert soley to GMO's to save the crops? And what did farmers do before the arrival of chemicals?
      I think genetic engendering may come in to play here. Either alter the pests, or alter what they like to eat. Let's just hope they don't try to make bugs to kill the bugs that turn out to be a bigger problem then the first bug, can anyone say "Killer Bees".

      I actually live in a place where killer bees are very much reality, and they do kill people.


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    • #3  
      Forum Sophomore buffstuff's Avatar
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      GMO's are genetically modified organisms. With this, maybe they could come up with a way to alter the crops, making them inedible for bugs, but edible for us. Technology is getting better and better, so who knows.
      Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. -Robert Heinlein
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    • #4 Re: Pesicides 
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      Quote Originally Posted by buffstuff
      From what I know, correct me if I am wrong, pesticides have been responsible for the increase in pests. What I mean is, pesticides have caused new generations of "super bugs" that are immune to pesticides. We can only throw so many chemicals on the crops before they start affecting us. What will we do when pesticides no longer work? Revert soley to GMO's to save the crops? And what did farmers do before the arrival of chemicals?
      I would say you are right.

      I will clarify and add a bit though (things that it took me a while to figure out). Correct me if I am wrong. :wink:

      Pesticides kill “unwanted” things. They include insecticides (bugs), herbicides (plants), fungicides (molds, fungi).

      Another problem with insecticides (besides having the pests develop resistance) is that they tend to kill most all insects (and often birds, sometimes fish, and occasionally people). They kill not only the aphids (for example) but they also kill the lady bugs and the praying mantises that would normally feed on the aphids and help keep their populations in check. These predators (“good bugs”) usually have much longer life cycles than their prey (“bad bugs”), so after an insecticide application the bad bug population tends to recover much faster than the predator population, making the next generation infestation even worse than the first.

      Organic farming techniques employ various methods to encourage predator insects and birds and discourage pests. At this time, these techniques are not as effective, nor as economical as the “big guns” of the chemical industries. They do work, however crop yields tend not to be as robust and produce tends not to be as esthetically pleasing (specimens may not be as large, shiny, etc).

      Most pesticides are made from oil (fertilizers are made from natural gas). As the price of oil and gas continues to rise in the coming years it will affect the price of pesticides, and will help make organic techniques more price competitive with conventional farming techniques. Unfortunately, I predict that productivity (yield/ farmer or yield/acre) will decrease somewhat. The implications of this are significant when you consider that we are barely feeding the world’s population now and it continues to grow.

      I agree with you buffstuff, technologies continue to get better and better, But I also believe that here on earth there is a limit to everything, including technology, growth efficiency, etc. We have not seen the end of fantastic new developments in the fields of science, but someday new developments will start to become fewer and farther between (the law of diminishing returns). I believe that we jeopardizing future generations by counting on tomorrows technologies to always bail us out of the problems that yesterday’s technologies put us into.

      GMOs may be the answer, but I also think they have more dangers than we are led to believe. I think a discussion of them is probably worthy of its own thread (is there one? I have not looked) Besides I am tired of typing now. :wink:

      BTW, I agree with 2112; I like your bunny a lot more than “Halliburton”(sp?)
      Terrapin
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    • #5  
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      Terrapin, you bring up some very good points. The number of farmers has been decreasing more and more over the years also. Farming is not as "cool" with the younger generation as it use to be. The US still produces more food then any other country if I remember right. There must be some types of crops that are not impacted much by "pests", perhaps rice?
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    • #6  
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      I can’t answer your question (I dunno). I would say the there are other forces at work besides farming not being as cool as it was that are facilitating the decrease in the number of farmers in the US.

      1) GPS guided, petroleum dependent, highly efficient mechanization now allows one farmer to cultivate the acreage that was previously cultivated by several farmers.

      2) Some “marginal” cropland is no longer productive due to build up of salts that has made the ground infertile.

      The US does still produce more food than any other country, and continues to be a net exporter of grains, but I just read somewhere that for the first time, in 2003, the value ($) of the food imported into the US surpassed the value of the food exported (dollar/dollar). This is because we have been importing high value foods off-season from the southern hemisphere; ironically, this at least partially due to our increased desire to have fresh fruits and vegetables in the winter.
      Terrapin
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    • #7  
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      It is not the use of pesticides that give rise to an insect population that is resistant but rather the misuse by applying the same family of pesticides over and over to the same insect population.

      Within a population of insects, susceptibility to insecticides varies because susceptible females mate with resistant males and vice-versa. Consequently, the population remains a mix of resistant and susceptible individuals. However, an insecticide application removes many of the individuals that are vulnerable to the insecticide (that is, it selects for resistance), increasing the proportion of resistant individuals. Therefore, resistant females are more likely to mate with resistant males, and their offspring are more likely to carry the trait of resistance as well. Continued applications of the same insecticide increase the problem until most of the insects in the population are resistant to the insecticide.

      Although resistance can occur in many different situations, we know that several factors increase the risk of insecticide resistance:

      • Regularly treating the insect population with the same insecticide or insecticides within a single chemical class
      • Short generations, with multiple generations per season (such as aphids, thrips or mites)
      • An isolated population (susceptible individuals are unlikely to enter the population and "dilute" the resistance of the population).


      A smart method of using pesticides rotates among insecticides and insecticide classes and also addresses the other two factors (not isolating and faster killers to wipe out generations before multiplying). Unfortunately, insecticide rotation does not occur often enough and a resistant generation soon results.

      I have seen no proof anywhere that insect populations are greater now than they were in previous generations. Given the vastly higher yields farmers produce, I would suspect that insect control has been wildly successful (along with the genetic methods that have been applied). When was the last time you heard of American farmers losing an entire crop to insects? It's been decades I believe.

      Farming has been on the decline for simple economic reasons. Farmers in America can produce more per acre than ever before in human history and this has led to vastly increased supplies and competition. It's now much harder to make a living as a farmer, as if it wasn't already hard enough. Supply easily outstrips demand in the US so it's not an attractive career option.
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    • #8  
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      i dont want to be a pest.... but i think pecidides are wrong,
      anyone who have tasted any organic food, will know(at least i do) that they do effect taste
      but, they are good i n the sense that they meke food cheaper,

      just dont make them too strong or .. as the super bugs will come,
      Stumble on through life.
      Feel free to correct any false information, which unknown to me, may be included in my posts. (also - let this be a disclaimer)
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    • #9  
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      ie each to ones own...
      or whatever floats your boat
      Stumble on through life.
      Feel free to correct any false information, which unknown to me, may be included in my posts. (also - let this be a disclaimer)
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