Pest management

Pest Management


Pests and diseases can have a considerable impact on the economic output of a farm. Wild flowers compete with the farmed crops, insects harm plants, fungal, bacterial and viral infections decrease yields and can lead to a complete crop failure in humid periods during the summer.

Therefore, current farming systems aim to prevent the occurrence of such pests and diseases, resulting in a desert like landscape, where only those organisms are allowed to exist, which do not cause harm to the crop.

Thereby the general principle of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) should guide the actions taken on a farm. The principles consist out of 8 very basic requirements, which any farmer should follow.

1. Prevention and suppression of diseases and pests
2. Monitoring the occurrence of diseases and pests
3. Decision making, whether a treatment is necessary,
    based on economical thresholds
4. Non chemical methods should be used first to combat diseases and pests
5. Pesticides selection; pesticides used shall be as specific as possible
6. Pesticide reduction to a minimum level
7. Ant resistance strategies shall be applied
8. Evaluation of the success of the applied measures

Unfortunately, these principals are hardly applied and pest management follows more than ever a schedule focused on general pest occurrences in the past and time bound applications.

Besides the IPM approach, farmers can focus on the strengthening of beneficial organism on the field. Especially by creating habitats for insects, birds and mammals, the farmer can reduce the occurrence pests dramatically and hence can reduce the chemical inputs needed.

Further Reading



The International List of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (2018) from PAN International provides a basis for action to implement the progressive ban of highly hazardous pesticides and replace them with safer, agro-ecological and other appropriate non-chemical alternatives.

The third edition of “The Blacklist of Pesticides (2016)” from Greenpeace focuses on the 520 active ingredients authorized for use in the European Union.

With their paper “A Whole Farm Approach to Managing Pests (2003)” the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) lays out basic ecological principles for managing pests and suggests how to apply them to real farm situations.
The guide “Crops, weeds and pollinators. Understanding ecological interaction for better management (2015)” by FAO aims at promoting the twin goals of weed and pollinator management.

In the paper "Pesticides and the loss of biodiversity (2010)" PAN elaborates on how intensive pesticide use affects wildlife populations and species diversity


The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States provides an Introduction to Integrated Pest Management.

The Pesticide Database of PAN gives information on toxicity and regulatory information for pesticides.

LIFE BIODELEAR is an project which foresees the development of an integrated pest management strategy (IPMS) for the sustainable management for the control of Med fly (Ceratitis capitata).