Concept of Pest

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THE CONCEPT OF PEST

A pest can be defined as any organism which injures man, his property, or his environment, or which just causes him annoyance. Such organisms include principally certain insects, nematodes, fungi, weeds, birds and rodents, or any other terrestrial or aquatic plant or animal life, or virus, bacteria, etc. In agriculture, concern is normally expressed when the damage done to a crop by a specific crop pest or a group of pests causes a loss in yield or quality because this would mean a reduction in profit. When a loss in yield reaches certain proportions, the pest can be designated an economic pest. According to Edward and Heath (1964), the pest status is reached when there is a 5 percent loss in yield in a particular crop. In pest management, the economic appraisal of the pest status and justification of the need to embark on control measures is defined in relation to the following concepts: economic damage, economic injury level and economic threshold. Economic damage can be defined as the amount of injury done to a crop that will justify the cost of artificial control measures. Economic injury level is the lowest pest population density that can cause economic damage, which will vary from crop to crop, season to season, and area to area. For practical purposes, there is an economic threshold defined by Stern et al. (1959) as the pest population density at which control measures should be initiated or started to prevent an ever increasing pest population from reaching the economic injury level. The economic threshold is conceptualized by the farmer as the level above which it will pay him to control his pests and below which control is deemed uneconomical. In this regard, of fundamental importance is the cost/benefit ratio of such an operation. The mathematical formula for calculating the economic threshold or action threshold involves 4…...

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