Population growth, urbanization rates and climate change are mega trends that are impacting how insect pests species are evolving to develop insecticide resistance. Today, mankind almost exclusively relies on pesticides to protects all terrestrial environments that support human life. This practice has pushed natural selection towards resistance and there is increasing media attention that highlights how insecticide resistance has become a real issue.
Insects are the most diverse species of animals living on earth, but less than 0.5% of all known insect species are considered pests. Insects impact agricultural food production by competing directly for food, destroying infrastructure and have a profound impact on health and welfare of humans and animals. Notwithstanding the effort to prevent and treat the impact on human health and welfare, estimating the economic impact of insects is no easy challenge, but economists generally agree that costs are significant and have estimated that insects consume or destroy around 10% and up to 25% of gross national product in industrialized and developing countries respectively.
There are many examples of animals in nature using dust bathing or sand bathing as a physical mechanism to clean fur, feathers or skin, and remove parasites. The use of inert dusts to control mites & parasites has been used by farmers for over 4000 years. Inert dusts are finely milled natural or synthetic silicates and often referred to as desiccant dusts.
So why would a market dominated by chemistry solutions be interested in an ancient technology?
There is consensus that while new chemistries are being developed for pest control, no one expects a ‘silver bullet’ to be discovered and industry accepts that an integrated pest management approach is needed to limit the impact that insects have on our food chain and general welfare. One of the major components of an integrated pest management approach is that the use of hazardous chemical controls should be used as a last resort.
Imerys has over 20 years experience with Environmental Protection Agency registered natural mechanical insecticides and we are now using this experience to globally expand the range and scope of our mechanical insecticides to provide alternative and complementary solutions to traditional pest control strategies by offering a non-chemical, physical mode of action for vector and general pest control.