To know how to use one properly, you must know how can microbial pesticides control pests. Some pesticides can make the pests unable to reproduce, while others restrain the sex pheromones so they can’t attract mates for breeding.
Over the last decade, the variety of pesticides available today has been much more significant than twenty years ago. Efforts have been made to screen and investigate many biocontrol agents for their environmental impact and efficiency.
With a lot of microbial pesticides in the market, you might get confused about which one to buy. Understanding how it targets pests will allow you to make better choices on your next microbial pesticide purchase.
What Is A Microbial Pesticide?
According to the EPA, microbial pesticides are one of the three major classes of biopesticides. As evident in the name, this type of pesticide contains microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, or fungus as an active ingredient.
Since microbial pesticide is a type of biological pest control, it is less harsh and toxic than other chemical-based products. Think of it as nature’s defense system to protect plants and animals from pest infestations and diseases.
Take note that microbial pesticides usually target a specific pest. It’s pretty helpful because lots of pesticides tend to eliminate pests and necessary insects that are important in the ecosystem.
How Do Microbial Pesticides Work?
1. Direct elimination
The goal of microbial pesticides is to eradicate pests as much as possible without harming the environment. The most common way pest control works is by directly eliminating the host.
An example of this is the work of microbial pesticides with strains of Bt or Bacillus thuringiensis. It produces a combination of proteins that bind to an insect’s larval gut receptor, which causes the pest to starve.
It eliminates specific insect larvae such as flies or mosquitoes.
As mentioned earlier, the microbial pesticide can render the pests infertile and unable to reproduce. It is a great way to suppress the overwhelming amount of pests you may have on your property.
Some microbial pesticides produce toxins that can affect the reproductive system of pests. They may directly cause damage to the structure of the cells or interfere with biochemical processes to negatively affect cell function.
3. Interference with sex pheromones
The interference of sex pheromones in pest management is greatly valued by most scientists and homeowners nowadays. It’s an efficient population control method, and for good reasons!
Sex pheromones are an essential part of the mating process. An organism releases it in hopes of attracting another organism of the same species to reproduce.
The microbial pesticide will interfere with the sex pheromones, so the pest insect can no longer find a mate and multiply. It works well with low population densities and brings a long-term solution to reducing insects.
4. Plant-incorporated protectants
Do you know that you can give specific proteins and genes to a particular plant to help it make substances to fight pests? This process is called PIP or plant-incorporated protectants.
It’s a sustainable and conventional way to make microbial pesticides. The genetic alterations made to a plant will help develop desirable functions such as being resistant to viruses or bacteria.
However, every PIP plant is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Before a certain plant is registered as a pesticide, the EPA will see if the benefits are much greater than the risks.
With that in mind, it’s essential to know your pesticides and how to use them. Here’s a post on what are some pesticide application practices to help you out.
What are the safety precautions when using a pesticide?
What makes microbial pesticides a top choice among homeowners is that they’re essentially non pathogenic and non-toxic to humans, wildlife, and the environment. However, it would still be best to practice some safety precautions whenever you use one.
The first thing you need to keep in mind is always to read the instructions label. It includes critical information on how to use the product properly and safely.
The label will also consist of potential hazards associated with using the pesticide and directions on how to avoid it. This guide on how to calculate the correct amount of pesticide can help you for the proper application of the product.
Another useful tip is never to smoke, eat or drink while applying pesticides. It’s possible that you could carry traces of microbial pesticide from your hands to your mouth, which can cause health issues.
Understanding how can microbial pesticides control pests will help you make better and safer decisions for your home. Biological pest control products are easier in the environment than chemical-based ones.
Since this product usually eliminates a specific pest, take your time to assess what type of pests you have on your property before purchasing a microbial pesticide. Doing this will ensure that you’ll get the most out of your product and do what you need it to do.