Pests: A Guide to the World's Most Maligned, Yet Misunderstood Creatures

Pests: A Guide to the World's Most Maligned, Yet Misunderstood Creatures

Pests: A Guide to the World's Most Maligned, Yet Misunderstood Creatures

Pests: A Guide to the World's Most Maligned, Yet Misunderstood Creatures

Synopsis

From mosquitoes to nematodes to mice, there are a multitude of organisms and animals that pose major health risks, cause economic burdens, and even threaten famine conditions for human civilization. Addressing these problems is often extremely costly and only partially effective.

" Pests: A Guide to the World's Most Maligned, Yet Misunderstood Creatures" presents an overview of the animals that have the greatest impact on our lives, from the creatures that eat our crops through the ones that invade our homes and those that transmit diseases. Each entry provides a brief history of our interactions with the specific pest, methods of management or eradication for the pest being discussed, and an extensive Further Reading list that includes resources on both the biology of the pest and methods of control. The author explains the complexity of the worldwide pest problem and demonstrates how some of these issues are a result of human over-population and shortsightedness, inviting readers to consider our place in nature and how other animals have adapted to and benefited from the growing human population.

Excerpt

Humans are but one animal species among millions, yet we are unique in the way that we have adapted the environment to our own needs. Our intelligence has enabled us to spread all around the globe and domesÚ ticate plants and animals for food, but these advances are not without their penalties. Humans, as do any other species, have a raft of parasites: animals that feed on us or in us, often causing harm. As humans have spread around the globe, travel between distant lands has become easier and the movement and spread of our parasites was similarly made easier. the plants we domesticated thousands of years ago were eaten by a myriad of herbivores; as we nurtured these plants, we increased the food supply of these herbivores, and they too spread wherever the crops were grown. Like us, the animals we domesticated had their own suite of parasites. in breeding these animals and spreading them around the world we gave their parasites a global meal ticket. There are also those animals that harm us and our domesticated animals in other ways (e.g., by injecting us with venom and causing illness and even death). in some parts of the world these venomous creatures can be a real problem to the extent where they are considered to be pests also.

The animals that annoy us, harm us, eat our crops, and torment our livestock are not inherently bad; they are merely doing what they have always done. Sadly, for them, they compete with us and we see them as a problem, so we do our level best to wipe them out. To us they are the pests and the most hated animals on the planet.

A huge range of animals, from nematodes to birds, are considered to be pests in various parts of the world. Some pests are limited to certain regions while others are more cosmopolitan in their distribution, but all of them are considered to be a nuisance in one way or another. To cover all of the animals that we view as pests in any amount of detail would require a small library, so the purpose of this book is to present a representative selection of these animals. Many books that deal with injurious animals are specific to either crop pests or pests of medical/veterinary importance, but in this book selections from both groups are included, which may aid . . .

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