Pest status and control

In the agroecosystem, pest status and the decision to apply control measures for arthropods are based primarily on economics. Pests can be measured by their damage and reduction in animal weight or crop yield, and controls are applied to prevent or minimize predictable loss. Pest status for insects and other arthropods in the urban environment may or may not be based onameasurable feature. The damage caused to structural wood by termites or other wood-infesting insects can be measured, and the control and repair costs determined. The health threat or medical importance, such as from stinging insects, can be measured by medical costs. A decision to apply control measures may be based on potential damage or personal injury, or solely or in part on emotion. The control decision is no less appropriate when it is based on emotion. Arthropods in the living space are generally unwanted and unwelcome, whether their numbers are few or many.

Pest status is generally based on persistence or recurrence of an arthropod indoors or outdoors, due to the failure of control methods, or the ability to reinfest from reservoir populations. The persistence of many species in the urban environment is based on a network of reservoir populations, from which individuals or groups move to infest or reinfest domestic or peridomestic habitats. Undisturbed woodlands may supportpopu-lations ofyellowjackets, subterranean termites, and carpenter ants, and serve as a reservoir for colonies and infestations in adjacent and distant residential areas. Sewer pipes often provide conditions suitable for American cockroach populations, and from this habit, adults and nymphs infest and reinfest buildings.

For pest control or management programs to be successful, reservoir populations and habitats must be identified and reduced. The only functional reservoir populations for some peridomestic and domestic species are in secondary habitats in the urban environment. Pests whose abundance is based on the limited availability of artificial habitats and resources are vulnerable to effective chemical and nonchemical control methods, and may be eliminated.

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