Exercise 4.3A: Pests and Pesticides

1. What makes something a pest?

2. What are some of the positive and negative effects of planting crops as monocultures?

3. A farmer decides to spray his crop for a beetle that eats the fruit of the plants. The intended consequence would be that the beetle ingests the pesticide and dies. His fruit will be unharmed and he will get a higher crop yield. What are some unintended consequences that could happen?

4. What can happen when an insecticide or pesticide is used for a long period of time?

5. Give an example of bioaccumulation of chemicals through a short food chain.

6. Make a tough decision and justify your choice with reasonable evidence. Which would you choose:

  • Choice 1 – Feed everyone in your country for their entire lifetime by using chemical controls on crop production, but people may get sick due to the chemicals that are used.
  • Choice 2 – Stop the spread of some cancers by limiting chemical use, but there is not enough food produced to adequately feed everyone.