Pest control is one of the most important tasks of being a simple, tropical home gardener or a farmer. I agree that there are many ways of controlling pests using different techniques, chemicals or biological agents.
My question is, are these techniques are productive, successful, safe, and cost effective?
With my experience in this field, my opinion is there are better ways of dealing with pests in your home garden or farm. In a world of science evolution, there are definite solutions for pest control with biotechnology. To know what can be accomplished, affordability, pros and cons of using biotechnologically altered solutions for pest control, keep reading this blog.
what is Biotechnology?
Well, whether you already know or never heard of… I can guarantee you have experienced some amazing biotechnology at some point of your life. Biotechnology is a vast scientific area, where biological components, organisms, or systems are used to innovate new theories and practically produce interesting new stuff or finding better solutions for the problems that exists in our day to day life. Biotechnology hits a large scope of industries (including agriculture); almost any industry can be improved with biotechnology. Beer, wine, Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs), bread, penicillin, etc… are some of the biotechnological products you have probably experienced in your day to day life.
Pest control using Biotechnology
Using biotechnology we can genetically modify the crops and other organisms in order to resist pest attacks. We can apply these genetic alternations to the current plants, and emerging pests. If you don’t know, here is what is meant by all these. Genetically modification is done by silencing, removing or by inserting a specific gene. Gene is a small part of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). We can extract DNA using different techniques in biotechnology. The way we extracting is varying according to whether it is a plant, animal or a micro organisms. These DNA extractions can be visualized by means of electrophoresis, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and many more specific and advanced techniques; before continuing on alternations.
Biotechnology approach on making crops resistant to pests
With this biotechnology we can produce transgenic plants which could resist harmful insects, where insecticides are no longer needed. Harmful insects will still be roaming on our gardens or fields, but their attempt to harm our crops will be failed.
Biotechnology approach on altering pest reproduction
Likewise, we can alter the normal reproductivity of the harmful pests. We can take the male species and make them sterile in a laboratory with specific techniques. Then we can clone them and make a bunch of sterile make pest species. Once we done with successful laboratory procedures we can release them to the environment. These sterile males pests would go and mate with females but no offspring will be resulted. That will control pest in our tropical home gardens and fields.
Biological pesticides’ role enhancement using biotechnology
Biological pesticides or the entomopathogens based pesticides are much effective and eco-friendly solutions for harmful pests that can be found in our home gardens. We can classify bacteria, virus, nematodes, and fungus under entomopathogens. Some examples of how biotechnology works here, is as below.
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) based bio-pesticides are highly used in the world against pests. They produce Cry proteins which are really toxic for the insects’ larvae, nematodes, mites, lice and protozoa. So by using biotechnology agri-biotechnolosits can enhance the efficiently and productivity against the harmful pests. Also they can incorporate these Bt genes which is responsible for Cry protein directly into the crops, producing insect resistant plants.
Nematodes which belong to the families, Rhabditidae, Steinernematidae and, Heterorhabditidae are parasites which kill harmful insect pests. The biotechnologists has identified the useful strains of these nematodes and enhanced the efficiently, and has work on improving the environmental stress tolerance capacity. Likewise viruses such as Baculoviruses and fungi such as Beauveria bassiana also act against harmful pests and biotech knowledge can make it efficient.
Likewise, every usual role done by organic pesticides, biological pesticides and farmer friendly animals can be enhanced and make most efficient by using biotechnology.
Why should we go for biotechnologically enhanced pest control methods?
Pest control with biotechnology is more environment friendly than any of other pest control methods. It will reduce the usage of harmful pesticides. Biotechnology approaches in a way where pest control will not be harmful for the environment, humans, our crops or the animals. Unlike using pesticides, biotechnological approaches will not make the harvest harmful for the consumer. As a result of no pesticides or harmful effects from pests, the crops in our tropical home garden or farm will be beautiful, healthy and will give more yields. I can say it is cost effective. It may be a big price to afford theses biotechnically controlled crops or solutions for pest control, but it is one time investment. Unlike using other pesticides you don’t have to buy pesticides time to time. Once your plants are treated you don’t have to think much about pest attacks.
What are the drawbacks of using biotechnology to control pest?
Every scientific approach is prone to have some drawbacks. In this case, we can’t use this technique to control pest at home all by ourselves. Biotechnology pest control is a set of advanced theories and techniques. For that it should be done by biotechnologist with the recommended resources. Sometimes this might go wrong and produce super weeds. Third world farmers might not have access to these methods of pest control. Pest population might get adapted to theses pest control methods with time. Producing and releasing pests with altered traits, making sterile pests would destroy the relevant pest population effecting the biodiversity.
Every good thing has some drawbacks, so deciding on choosing biotechnological pest control instead of traditional pest controlling techniques is all on you.