Pesticide Use Seen Creating Invincible Bugs

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United Press International

Humans are losing the battle against insects by using more pesticides than common sense, creating invincible bugs that no product on the market can stop, experts said Wednesday.

Insect resistance, growing with each new chemical challenge, threatens global agriculture and international health and costs about $2 billion annually, said Brian Croft, a professor of entomology at Oregon State University.

“We have definitely created a big problem for ourselves,” he said.

Robert Metcalf, professor of biology and entomology at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, said: “The short-sighted and irresponsible use of pesticides . . . is producing strains of monster bugs. There are now about 30 species that nothing can kill.”


Pesticide Symposium

The insect experts gathered Wednesday at a symposium of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science meeting intended to bring the pesticide problem to the attention of Congress and other governmental agencies.

The scientists suggested that the prevailing insect control effort, which typically involves developing a new pesticide and then saturating the intended victim, results only in making an insect species immune to that pesticide.

Metcalf and Croft said that prudent “integrated pest management” may prevent future such occurrences.

“The main thing is you don’t want to give an insect too many looks at the same pesticide,” Croft said. “What we’re suggesting is that you mix up your bag of tricks.”

In addition, Metcalf suggested reintroducing into the insect environment natural predators that will adapt along with the bug.