The struggles between humans and pests has raged on since the beginning of modern civilization. Whenever a community grows, there exists a need to feed that growing population, and where there are people, there are pests as well. They compete with humans for food and space, and will ultimately reduce their overall quality of life if left uncontrolled so it was necessary to take up arms against pests to protect valuable food sources. One of the oldest known weapons in this struggle is the pesticide.
Pesticides are substances and materials designed to drive away or kill pests, and people from all civilizations sought after and developed various kinds of pesticides. The earliest pesticides were naturally occurring, often found in nature as an element or a by-product of animals. One of the first known pesticides was sulfur. Farmers in ancient Mesopotamia scattered it across their crops to ward off pests, and it was effective against mildew, ringworm, ticks, and mites.
By the 15th century other natural elements were being used, such as arsenic, mercury, and lead. It is important to note, however, that these elements are now known to be highly toxic, and should not be used on plants or humans. In addition to natural elements people developed a crude form of fumigation to control mildew growth on plants. It worked by lighting a fire, using straw, chaff, hedge clippings, or animal horns as fuel so as to create a noxious smelling smoke, and place it so that the wind would blow the smoke into the fields where the crops were.
As humans’ knowledge of chemistry grew and evolved, they began to develop “synthetic” pesticides. The first known synthetic pesticide was created in the 19th century from dried Chrysanthemum flowers. It was known as Pyrethrum, and proved itself to be a very effective pesticide. So much, in fact, that it is still being used today, often in conjunction with other chemical compounds. Pesticides based on pyrethrum and arsenic were prevalent from this time until the 1950s, where the second World War would bring about a major development in the field of pesticides: DDT.
DDT was first synthesized by a scientist named Paul Mueller, who used it on troops fighting in foreign theaters of war, where malaria was prevalent. It was highly effective against mosquitoes, and eventually went on to become the most widely used pesticide in America. For more than 40 years, DDT was used everywhere from crops to city streets, and it helped eliminate malaria and created a huge food surplus. But this widespread use didn’t last forever, and by the 70’s people began to question whether such rampant pesticide use was good for the environment, and government-sponsored research confirmed that it was not.
This resulted in a ban on DDT use across America, one that other countries around the world followed suit on, and a call from the public to seek out and develop more environmentally-friendly pest control techniques. One such technique, Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, was born from those efforts, and is the best pest control technique to use in terms of effectiveness and environmental impact. Integrated Pest Management is a practice that Horizon Pest Control has followed before the green movement was popular. Our motto to “Protect Health and Property” is 42 years old. We have families, kids and pets too and we strive to keep them safe while protecting our property, the same we strive to keep your loved ones and property safe too. To read more about our Green Pest Control solutions click on this link: http://www.horizonpestcontrol.com/greensolutions.php
For more information on Integrated Pest Management or IPM, click on this link: Integrated Pest Management.