Pests in one kind or the other are found throughout the planet. Whether they are the insects, bacteria, mites, snails, nematodes, viruses, rodents or birds, all come under the head pest if found in unwanted areas or in unnecessarily huge numbers. Pests have the potential to wipe out entire economies and make the people starve if allowed to propagate and act unchecked.
Even the ancient civilizations understood the necessity of pest control. Those days, pesticides available from natural sources were used. With the advent of the industrial age and rapid growth of population, requirement for food and raw materials from natural sources increased manifold necessitating more areas coming under commercial agriculture. Chemical pesticides or synthetic pesticides proved their worth during this period as they not only could remove pests from large areas in no time, the left overs also could act as repellents too for some period of time. That they are available to counter all kinds of pest infestations under the sun makes more and more people gravitate towards them in no time.
Chemical pesticides are classified into two groups according to their potency. The broad spectrum pesticides have the capability to eliminate or incapacitate a wide array of species. The narrow spectrum ones destroy only a small group of species.
However, the strengths of these pesticides are, unfortunately and ironically, their biggest weaknesses too. These poisons act uniformly, with destructive results, on harmful and friendly animals alike. They have even caused the extinction of many bees, butterflies and other insects from the plant.
However, chemical pesticide manufacturers now advise the user about the amount of poisons to be applied, how and when they have to be used, and how they should be handled. Researches are also underway to make them environment friendly. Given all the drawbacks, the role these pesticides played in ensuring food security cannot be undermined, till a viable or equally potent substitute comes up.