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Pesticide Treadmill

Author: Dr Kelvin Klemm

( Article Type: Explanation )

The pesticide treadmill is a term indicating a situation in which it becomes necessary for a farmer to continue using pesticides regularly because they have become an indispensable part of an agricultural cycle.

This can occur if pesticides are used on crops or animal herds such that other natural remedies are no longer effective. The farmer then has no option but to use the pesticides year after year in each agricultural cycle.

An even more severe aspect of the pesticide treadmill is when it escalates. It can happen that the effective elimination of one target insect pest allows other insect pests to thrive, resulting in the farmer having to use other insecticides to eliminate the new pest problem. This can lead to more pests and the need for yet more insecticide types to deal with the additional problems. In starting to use any agricultural insecticide, the farmer should be aware of the danger of unintentionally ending up in a treadmill situation, which becomes self-perpetuating.