A pest is a plant or animal that is out of place in the the environmental hierarchy.

The most obvious example is a weed--a plant that out-competes those around it, causing them to die. Broad leaf plants, specifically, in lawns will out-compete grass for sunlight.

More generally, pests appear in areas cleared of their ecological diversity--what is now called its bio-diversity--and have no predators to keep them in check. All species seek to proliferate.

A lawn is a perfect example--a monoculture, one species of something living along, does not exist in nature. So it will be invaded by broad-leafed weeds.

Similarly, in agriculture, vast fields of one crop, often genetically altered to be the same plant--again no bio-diversity--is the perfect arena for some pest to invade and proliferate without control. Hence the great need for pesticides.

The technology of agriculture generates the need for the technology of pesticides, the techology of pesticides generates the need for the technology of genetic engineering of pest-resistant plants, and the technology of pest-resistant plant generates the need for...what new technology?

This is why I argue that technology is not the remedy for problems caused by technology.

Many pests are easily dealt with.

To eradicate slugs, place an empty butter container or similar item into the ground in your garden up to the rim. Fill it about half way with beer. The slugs, attracted to the beer, will fall in and drown.

If you have cockroaches, place cinnamon around any areas where you want specific protection. Cockroaches do not like cinnamon, and will avoid any area where they smell it. Fortunately, cinnamon sticks can be arranged in a decorative fashion for a less conspicuous solution. Also, you can use candles and air fresheners that use or simulate real cinnamon.

To keep many pests, including stray cats, mice, squirrels, rabbits, and insects away from your garden, sprinkle mothballs all around the garden. If they stick out too much, cover them with a bit of mulch and/or place them very close to the base of large plants. If there is a great amount of direct rainfall into the garden, however, the mothballs may dissolve quickly and could harm your plants, so use sparingly.

Pest (?), n. [L. pestis: cf. F. peste.]


A fatal epidemic disease; a pestilence; specif., the plague.

England's sufferings by that scourge, the pest. Cowper.


Anything which resembles a pest; one who, or that which, is troublesome, noxious, mischievous, or destructive; a nuisance.

"A pest and public enemy."



© Webster 1913.

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