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Pest control experts warn against climate change

By Staff Reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: iStock
Picture: iStock
Climate change is accelerating the damages caused by pests, according to Rentokil Steritech.

This could lead to a wider spread of diseases and increased crop destruction.

The firm said it expects to see pests migrate to cooler climate environments with the global temperature expected to increase by around 2°C in the next few decades.

This could result in insects becoming a bigger threat to public health and food production, as they become more resistant to insecticides and experience additional generations.

The coffee berry borer, which is present in most coffee-growing region in the world including Hawaii, is a key example. It is estimated the beetle causes $500m in damages to coffee growers each year, according to a 2002 study in the Journal of Insect Science.

To combat a new set of challenges from pests, technical leaders at Rentokil Steritech recommend that businesses stay up to speed on invasive species, use products that have a longer residual and consider increasing their frequency of pest control services.

Judy Black, VP of technical services at Rentokil Steritech, said: “Invasive species have always been a problem, but they will likely spread further as the global temperature increases, causing the establishment of new, exotic species with no natural enemies.

“Global warming will have a significant impact on the problems caused by insects especially, as higher temperatures can result in faster population growth, and the quicker breakdown of conventional insecticide through volatilization.”

Meanwhile, Rentokil Initial Malaysia has collaborated with the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) on food safety inspection training.

In 2015, there were 15,346 hospitalisations in the country due to food related illnesses such as food poisoning, typhoid, cholera, dysentery etc.

The training covered pest behaviours, hygiene practices and integrated pest management (IPM) using the ERDM (Exclusion, Restriction, Destruction, Monitoring) methodology.

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1 comment



Climate change alters the behaviour of pests and their distribution. There is a genuine risk that pest and disease pressure will increase as a result of environmental and agrosystem disturbances. This is a concern for all agricultural stakeholders, especially in temperate countries where introductions of new pests, diseases and weeds abound. The calamities list of introductions in world is getting ever longer, with the onset of disturbing phenomena that are a real threat to food security. The impact of climate change on pest populations and their natural enemies in the tropics is even harder and more complicated to grasp—changes in pest status, introductions, dramatic development of diseases or insect populations and extension of their ranges are being observed. Based on examples of insects and diseases affecting a few tropical agrosystems, we discuss the impact of climate change on these pests and propose new agroecological protection strategies while promoting the conservation of natural regulation services to sustainable reduce pest and disease risks.

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