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Protecting Crops from Insect Infestation

Crops susceptible to insect infestation cause losses making it necessary to adopt natural pest control techniques. Such methods are less expensive as against using pesticides later. Natural pest control for crops is a safer option too, with varied ways to control crop insects.

Correct identification of pests determines their biology assisting in earmarking vulnerable stages, appropriate time and suitable method in order to control them. Ecological factors, both biotic and abiotic are necessary for proper strategy.  

Physical control is an age old method that involves collection of egg masses and other inactive stages of pests. Removal of infested parts or whole plants, beating of drums or tins and trenching are other methods that may be effective initially.

Cultural control prevents infestation once you determine the life history and habits of pests. Deep ploughing after harvesting to expose hiding insects, removal and destruction of trash, adjusting sowing time to avoid peak incidence period, clean cultivation, suitable rotations and removal of alternative wild hosts are effective measures.

Host plant resistance protects crops against insect damage by involving the utilization of inherent property of certain varieties of crops that are less infected than other strains of the same crop. Good benefits are achieved by this method for crops like wheat, maize, cotton and alfalfa.

Most crop pests have natural enemies by way of parasites and predators. Biological control involves large scale multiplication of and liberation of such agents by creating conditions under which the naturally occurring agents act effectively. Much success has been achieved by this method that yet suffers set-back due to indiscriminate insecticide usage.

Finally, legislative methods are natural techniques for preventing introduction of pests from one area to another. Specific regulations for plant-quarantine laws make it obligatory for cultivators and authorities to take steps to control particular pests that may take epidemic form.
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