Agricultural Pests Essay

Cheap Custom Writing Service

This Agricultural Pests Essay example is published for educational and informational purposes only. If you need a custom essay or research paper on this topic, please use our writing services. offers reliable custom essay writing services that can help you to receive high grades and impress your professors with the quality of each essay or research paper you hand in.

Pests are living organisms that damage and destroy agricultural produce. Pests include mobile threats such as locusts and other insects, viruses, fungi, and bacteria. The threat of pests has existed for as long as humanity has practiced agriculture, and also affects nonagricultural growth.

The consequences of pest infestation are physical and economic, as well as psychological, resulting from fear and panic spread by the influx of pests. Those pests that have led to animal disease, including bovine spongiform encephalopathy and foot-and-mouth disease, have led to the mass slaughter of livestock.

Pests can be very destructive. The Phytophthora fungus, which arrived in Ireland from North America in the 1840s, stimulated blight among the potato crop for several successive years. The Irish population, especially the rural poor, had become dependent on a small number of species of potatoes for food. With the almost complete destruction of successive potato crops, compounded by the inadequacy of the British government that administered Ireland at the time, more than one million people starved to death and more than another million people fled overseas.

The example of the potato blight in Ireland reveals the confluence of several factors that make pest infestation particularly severe: The sudden introduction of a previously unknown organism, unusual climatic conditions that enable the pest to flourish to unusual extents, and the reliance on too narrow a range of foods. As globalization of trade increased during the 18th and 19th centuries, international trade in grains increased to feed growing cities. This caused pest infestations to become endemic throughout the world. States were required to introduce new legislation, and government agencies tried to combat such pests. One of the earliest examples of this was the Destructive Insects Act of 1877 enacted in Britain and aimed at removing the threat of the Colorado potato beetle.

Farmers have fought pests throughout history. Early infestations of locusts, as recorded in the Bible, were met by as many workers as could be mustered to pick the creatures off plants by hand and for some quite primitive forms of spraying. Earlier farmers also responded by selecting more resistant seeds for sowing, although in many cases this process was not well understood.

In the early modern age, the application of the scientific method enabled farmers to mobilize more effective means of combating pests, including chemical sprays and pesticides. These technologies have proved very effective in killing many pests, and even people when used in warfare; organophosphate pesticides, in just one example, are the progenitors of modern nerve gas. However, there have been a number of cases when the use of chemical pesticides has produced poor results, either because other, necessary organisms have also been destroyed or else chemical residue has contaminated food. In some developed countries, the routine use of chemicals has led to the regularization of the size and shape of food and vegetables, to the detriment of their nutritional value. Meanwhile, there are dangers that pests will become resistant to the chemicals used to try to eradicate them. Aerial spraying of chemicals also poses a health threat to people caught within the area of spraying.


  1. Food and Agriculture Organization, The State of Food and Agriculture, 2001 (FAO, 2001);
  2. Cormac O’Grada, The Great Irish Famine (Cambridge University Press, 1995);
  3. Larry P. Pedigo and Marlin E. Rice, Entomology and Pest Management (Prentice Hall, 2005).

See also:


Always on-time


100% Confidentiality

Special offer!