Many bugs and insects are voracious feeders with the ability to withstand unrelenting environmental conditions. They multiply quickly exceeding damaging thresholds and eventually causing long-term harm to human health and the environment.
The damaging pests can come in many different shapes, sizes and types from cockroaches that feed on sweets, starches, hair and decaying matter to common bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) that would thrive on a human blood diet.
Some of the most notorious are those that feed on plants inflicting irreversible damage to humans, crop yields and farm animals. In fact, herbivorous insects are believed to be responsible for destroying one-fifth of the world's total crop production annually. Every year farmers from across the world face unique challenges in trying to keep their produce safe from competing insects and bugs.
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Please find below a partial list of some bugs, pests and insects that pose a serious threat to crop yields.
The short-horned, tiny insect notorious for feeding on nearly anything that would come their way, was recently in the news when their large, aggressive swarms invaded some districts in India, devouring crops, threatening livelihoods and leaving serious damage to agriculture. Some species of locusts like the desert locust can be as much as 460 square miles in size, packing 40 and 80 million of these insects into less than half a square mile. Imagine the extent of damage they can cause if left uncontrolled.
The six-legged beetles are a growing threat to stable food production and are believed to have spread in several countries, threatening many fruits and berries and vegetables like Asparagus, soybean, sunflower, sweet corn etc. The pests feed in groups, eat plant foliage, affect the leaf's veins, eventually leaving plants decimated. Although their life span is short, ranging between 4- 6 weeks, they reproduce quickly, and as long as they are living, they can bring huge damages capable of causing significant concerns.
Aphids, sometimes known as ant cow or greenfly, are small, sap-sucking, soft-bodied insects that can significantly weaken plants, harming their overall growth and eventually inflicting noticeable damages. While matured, established plants may remain largely unaffected; certain plant types are sensitive to certain aphid species. They feed in groups, can multiply quickly and the plants they feed on are wide-ranging, including bean, cabbage, potato, green peach etc. In fact, some aphid types would only be specific to particular plants.
A bollworm, when spotted, triggers warning signs for a cotton grower. But they can also be seen spoiling sunflower, chickpea, pigeon pea, soybeans, peanuts, and especially tomatoes. If left unchecked or uncontrolled when spotted, they will multiply, bringing noticeable damages to harvest and yield.
These wingless, soft-bodied bugs thrive by sucking the cell sap from crop plants, affecting their overall growth. While the damage is not significantly high during the early stage, the rapid growth of these small insects may make them work in groups, causing leaves to turn yellowish and plants to weaken. The cottony masses they leave on stems, leaves and fruits make it easy to spot these bugs.
Stink bugs release unpleasant odours as a type of defence mechanism used when threatened by predators. They are not just an inconvenience to a homeowner; they're a serious threat to agriculture since they can feed on more than 100 species of plants and crops.
• Fruit and shoot borer
• Stem borer
• Corn rootworm
• Root borer
Getting rid of insects
When left unchecked, many types of insects may bring long-term damage to crops, domestic animals and humans.
Every year many important crops and primary agricultural products are affected by insects, pests, and bugs globally. The challenges are not ceasing to exist for farmers who are thoroughly concerned about the growing menace.
Not only do they pose immediate threats when not controlled but they can also multiply quickly infesting more crops and other produce than what could have been feared.
Use of insecticides in controlling pests
One of the ways to control their spread and stop them from inflicting further damage is to use insecticides.
When appropriately used at the right time and in the right amount, they can fetch several benefits some of which include -
• Higher crop yields because of continued protection from diseases/pests and other external factors affecting productivity.
• Can support the sustainable production of many important crops
• Can help farmers produce more from less ( less time , less farmland and less resources)
• Can kill germs carried by insects, pests, equipment, human , animals , water and air
While insecticides can bring immense relief, they should always be used properly ad judiciously following all the guidelines to ensure safe and more harvest.
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