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Area-Wide Pest Management: Environmental, Economic and Food Issues

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Area-Wide Control of Insect Pests

Insect pests destroy approximately 14% of all potential food production despite the yearly application of more than 3000 million kilograms of pesticides. This contributes to rising human malnutrition which in 2004 was estimated by the World Health Organization to have reached 3700 million - the largest number in history. Several major insect pests of crops and livestock are effectively controlled using area-wide pest management practices. As an example, the New World screwworm fly Cochliomyia hominivorax (Coquerel) that attacks livestock, especially cattle, was successfully eradicated by releasing radiation-sterilized screwworm flies over large areas. Area-wide insecticide treatments in the USA have also proved effective in the control of the boll weevil, while timed crop-planting over wide areas enables crops like wheat to evade major pests and has also been proven highly successful against rice pests in the USA and Asia. Yet, when the basic ecology of the insect pests and crops are ignored, major crop losses can occur, as illustrated by the manipulation of corn production in the USA. Damages caused by invading insect pests that attack established crop, forest, and natural ecosystems continue to be challenges to pest management specialists. Approximately 40% of the insect and mite pests of crops grown in the USA are introduced species and they cause about USD 100 000 million in damage and control costs each year. The most recent introductions include the long-horned beetle Anoplophora glabripennis (Motschulsky) and the emerald ash borer Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire that were both accidentally introduced from Asia. Areawide strategies to control these destructive forest pests are being implemented.

KEYWORDS insecticides, invasive species, economics, area-wide programmes, wheat, cotton, New World screwworm

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© 2007 IAEA

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Pimentel, D. (2007). Area-Wide Pest Management: Environmental, Economic and Food Issues. In: Vreysen, M.J.B., Robinson, A.S., Hendrichs, J. (eds) Area-Wide Control of Insect Pests. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6059-5_2

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