Pests environmental movement and became the foundation of

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Last updated: February 14, 2019

Pests have beenpresent and interfering with crops ever since humans first began cultivatingthem and pest management has evolved along with agriculture and technology.

Theearliest record of pesticide use dates back to 2,500 B.C. when the Sumeriansused sulfur dust on their grape crops. Other methods of combating pests such asthe use of natural enemies, timely crop planting, and soap were developed astime went on. As technology advanced, the use of commercial sprayers wasdeveloped to aid in the application of insecticides. Following it’s discoveryin the 1870s, DDT became the first synthetic pesticide used. During World WarII it’s application saved thousands from malaria and typhus. Due to thissuccess, many entomologists relied solely on pesticides and disregarded agroecosystems.

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Entomologists at this time were mainly concerned with a chemical’sability to kill insects and thus wanted a low cost but high performancepesticide. However, insecticide resistance, DDT residues, and negative impactson the ecosystem became substantial issues over time. In 1962 the publicationof Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” sparked the environmental movement andbecame the foundation of the concept of Integrated Pest Management. Carson wasinstrumental in bringing pesticide use concerns to the forefront of publicawareness as she pointed out the adverse impacts of DDT that resulted in itsban from agricultural use in the United States.

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