Vertebrate Pest Conference Proceedings collection


Date of this Version

March 1964


Frankly I am not sure what "Pest Control Methods and People" really means. When I asked what I should cover, I was told to give a general discussion on pesticides. I am not sure this is appropriate even though the laws and regulations that pertain to other pesticides apply equally to those materials used in vertebrate pest control; the conditions of use, the types of chemicals used, their effect upon various animal species, and the number of chemicals available are so different from the pesticides used in controlling invertebrate pests that generalizations may not cover the topic. There are, however, a few basic principles that do pertain and I will discuss these. Mr. Cummings suggested that I cover the University's policy in regards to the use of and recommendations for pesticides by our experiment station and Extension Service personnel and I will do this a little later. Looking back to your last conference in February of 1962 we find that a number of topics were discussed at that time which is being further elaborated upon during the present conference and some of these lend themselves to the discussion this morning. Dean Aldrich pointed out the importance of several bird and rodent species as enemies of our agriculture. Further, he brought out the point that many of these pests are the result of our intensified agricultural practices. When we plant certain crops over a wide area we change the environmental and ecological conditions and frequently bring about a situation that is conducive to large populations of organisms which, under the natural conditions that prevailed before the land was put into crop production, would not have occurred and, furthermore, these animals would not have been considered pests under ordinary population densities. Field mice in our orchards and sugar beet fields, gophers in alfalfa, starlings in feed lots and grapes are examples of vertebrates that fall into this category. Some imported species such as the starling have found conditions good. Others are native species which have adapted to these changed conditions. There are many such examples among insects. One striking case is that of the alfalfa butterfly. This insect is native to the United States. It lived upon various legumes and was considered a pretty but unimportant butterfly for many years.