The Complete Pesticide Guide for Australia
What are Pesticides?
A pesticides is a substance that destroys insects and other organisms. Pesticides can be both be naturally occurring or chemically synthesised. They can also include certain organisms and bacteria.
Under the legal definition of pesticides, a number of substances are covered including herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, traps and others.
What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?
IPM is a holistic approach to pest management in eco-friendly ways. This method does not aim to eradicate pests completely. It focuses more on control than elimination and includes a wide array of methods for the purpose mainly-
- Identification of pests and tracking the progress
- Establishing action thresholds to determine the threat posed by pest population
- Implementation of preventive measures
- Controlling the pests using most effective and low risk method
Common Tactics of IPM in Pest Control
IPM aims to control the outbreak and suppression of pests using various control methods. The idea is to use minimum toxic methods and monitor the progress before taking recourse to chemical or toxic remedies. The different methods of control include-
1. Mechanical and Physical Controls
Mechanical controls are adopted to directly eliminate the pests or remove them. It may involve using of barriers, manipulating the environment to make it unfavorable for pest growth, trapping, removal by hand and such.
It is an effective and rapid method of ridding your house of pests.
2. Cultural Controls
Aimed mostly at plants, cultural control methods are geared at maintain plant health so that they become more tolerant to pests. Practices like plant quarantine and crop sanitation are carried out along with removal of diseased plants.
It also includes choosing native and pest resistant varieties of plants.
3. Genetic Controls
Genetic manipulations also form a part of IPM. Genetically modified pest resistant plant strains can be developed by plant breeding.
Pests can also undergo genetic modification like the release of ‘sterile male’ species.
4. Biological Controls
Pest can also be controlled by using natural enemies of them. Predators, parasites and diseases can be used in a strategic way to cut down pests. It can be done by introducing the natural predators or diseases in the targeted area and maintain the population of such native enemies.
It is like introducing a cat into your home to get rid of mice!
5. Legal Controls
The practices by the government to eradicate and control pests fall under this category.
6. Chemical Controls
Chemical control comes in IPM as means of last resort.
What are the different types of Pesticides?
There are different types of pesticides available in the market including commercial ones. They all have a level of toxicity.
There are more than 15types of pesticides, but according to the Department of Health, 6 common types of pesticides exist. Based on their uses, pesticides can be classified to the following categories-
Insecticides poison the host insect. Theyrepell and prevent intrusion by insects. The spray you use to kill those mosquitoes is an insecticide.
Used to control weeds in farming or gardening. Nearly 33% of soil related activities spent by Australian businesses is on herbicides. Learn more on these statistics.
To take care of those cheeky rats and mice!
Pesticides for preventing spread of bacteria like the ones used for disinfecting swimming pools and controlling black bacteria spots on plants.
It prevents fungal infection like moulds on grapevines and fruit trees.
If you want to nip the pests at their larval life stage, then this is the deal
Other types of Pesticides
Many other types of pesticides are there to eradicate your pest problems:
- Bird pesticides, also known as avicides are meant to kill and eliminate birds
- Pet pesticides like flea powder for your loyal dog
- Algaecides to prevent the spread of algal growth
- Repellents used to repel insects like the anti-mosquito cream are also part of pesticides
What is Pesticide Formulation?
A pesticide is never available in its war form and goes through some formulation which makes it suitable for use, handling, application, storing and increases its effectiveness. The active compound (which is responsible for controlling the pests) is mixed with other chemicals and different formulations are developed.
The chemicals are added to enhance the effectiveness of the active compound or to make it suitable for application. The label of the pesticide contains full details about the details and ingredients that went into it.
What are the different types of Pesticide Formulations?
Pesticides come in different forms and act in different way to kill or prevent the insects. They may be in a dry or wet form and several formulations are available. We will discuss some of them.
These use water as the carrier and applied as liquid or spray. Sometimes fuel, kerosene, crop or other oils are also used.
The pesticide generates as minute particles and remains suspended in air in form of fog or mist. They can come in pressurized cans like the mosquito sprays. Some of the use heat to release the pesticide like the mosquito vaporisers at home.
Baits come in form of food items which are laden with active pesticide ingredient. It poisons the pest through ingestion and used commonly for rats, ants, cockroaches in households.
Some baits can be mixed with water.
The active compound is mixed with a carrier. Carriers can be chalk, clay or volcanic ash.
Dry Flowables (DF)
Known as water-dispersible granules. Presented as duct like granules mixed with water. This mixture contains a high percentage of active compound.
The Process of Pesticide Poisoning
Whatever be the formulation, pesticides poison the target by getting inside his body which ultimately takes it to holy heaven! There are 3 ways of poisoning implemented by pesticides-
- Oral Poisoning
Ingested orally by the insect.
- Respiratory Entry
Inhlation via the side of the abdomen.
- Dermal Entry
The poison makes it entry in the body through the skin of insects known as cuticle. Aerosol sprays is a common example. Insects may also come in contact with the poison while walking over dust or granule pesticides.
Why is it Necessary to read Pesticide Labels Carefully?
The pesticide label contains crucial information which makes it necessary to spend a few minutes reading it for your own safety and proper use of the material.
According to Australian laws, the pesticide label must contain the following-
- Name of the pesticide
- The poison schedule explained in words to inform the user about the toxicity level
- The name and strength of the active compound
Functions of a Pesticide Label
Safety instructions for spraying the chemical. Correct handling and storage. Which pests they treat.
Advantages of using Pesticides
Here is why you need to use pesticides to protect your crops.
- Modern day pesticides are really effective to control and eradicate pest problems
- It offer quick results within a short period of time
- Anybody with some basic training and knowledge can apply pesticides
- Devoid of operational and labour costs, they are affordable ways of pest control
- You can use pesticides targeting specific organisms while causing no harm to beneficial or neutral ones
They are easily available and you can purchase them local garden supply and hardware stores
Disadvantages of using Pesticides
While most of the things work great, you do need to ensure that you follow the best practices to use pesticides. Here is why.
- If you are not careful using pesticides, it may end up harming the health of the user, residents and even pets and can result in death and disability
- Non-strategic use of pesticides can make them infiltrate into other areas like rivers, underground water system and soil causing severe damage to life and environment
- Poisoning of non targeting insects.
- Food can become contaminated.
Useful Tips for Using Pesticides Safely
Always follow safety instructions prior to spraying. You must adopt certain precautions and follow out tips to safely use your pesticide.
- Use the correct type of pesticide following the instructions of the label
- Remove children, family members and pets before you apply the pesticide
- Make sure the mix the pesticide outdoors or in well ventilated areas
- Use chemicals sparingly.
- Avoid overusing the substance and apply only as much as required to do the job
- It is not advised to spray or use dust pesticides in windy areas as it may blow and end up reaching other areas and hosts
- Wear protective clothing and accessories like gloves, goggles to keep yourself safe
- Remove personal items like clothing, toys, utensils from the range of the pesticide to avoid contamination
- Wash your hands properly with soap and water once finished.
- Store unused pesticides safely. Keep out of reach of children.
- Allow pesticides tyo dry after spraying.
Pesticides effectively eliminate pests, but remember to use them carefully according to the instructions.