Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chemical Agriculture 102 - Insects and Pesticide

In our last discussion on Chemical Agriculture we learned that plants on chemical nutrients like Miracle Grow in the garden or corn in the field, look really lush and nice to our narrow vision of the spectrum.

To the insect pests this rapid uptake of highly soluble nutrients makes the plants look out of balance and sick. The insects both good and bad have antenna arrays in their bodies that are sensitive far outside the visual spectrum into the infrared.

To these pests the large corn field mono-culture screams, I'm sick, I'm unhealthy, I'm out of balance. Some of the insects were created to remove and eliminate the unhealthy plants, whether just one or a whole field. So they gear up to do their job.

In an organic system, there are checks and balances of good insects that keep the bad ones from getting out of control. But because the poor farmer now has an insect infestation on her hands, she now turns to pesticides to save the day. In Latin the suffix "ide" means poison or death. Well pesticides are poisons of the first degree and you probably guessed that the good insects are killed too and guess which ones typically recover the fastest. Yep, the bad ones. So our farmer gal is caught in a vicious cycle that benefits the chemical companies immensely at the expense of the consumer. Some of these chemicals are so potent that only a few ounces are used on a whole acre (44,000 square feet). Pretty strong stuff.

The same thing happens with weeds, which we will discuss in our next post.

See Chemical Agriculture 103 - Weed and Herbicides

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