Friday, November 5, 2010

B.S. Urban Agriculture: ' TED | Shimon Steinberg: Natural pest control ... using bugs!

Dear US Depts. of Agriculture & Education,

WE the People of the barios and the ghettos of Metropolitan America expect your FULLEST support for future-proofing US.


The TActivist

[Excerpt from Discuss this Talk]

James Craighead (0) replied 2 days ago:

"We need to make that information more available to us little people.

The local support for small scale farmers (government, agro stores,

university extentions) in my area (Trinidad & Tobago) is totally

committed to chemicals."

[Excerpt paraphrased from Simon's last slide]

The Bio-control industry, e.g. Simon Steinberg, Paul Stamets, et al, garnered a 10% market share, or $250 million, being practically eclipsed by the Pesticide industry earnings of $2.500 million.

I hope, never to discover a single example of online whining by Agriculture's Pest Control majors, i.e. Bayer, DuPont, Monsanto, regarding how 'inadequate' their lions' share of the total revenues were.


"Get all the facts out. Give people the rationale for change, laying it out in

the clearest, most dramatic terms. When everybody gets the same facts,

they'll generally come to the same conclusion. Only after everyone agrees

on the reality and resistance is lowered can you get buy-in to the needed

changes." - Jack Welch, CEO, General Electric

Amplify’d from
Shimon Steinberg: Natural pest control ... using bugs!

Discuss this Talk

Oct 28 2010: Before people praise this method in this entirety, please look at how bio-controls have failed elsewhere. The prime example is Australia and the Cane toad, introduced to eat French's Cane Beetle and the Greyback Cane Beetle, which ate crops.

They are now a massive pest problem, poisoning large numbers of creatures, as well as eating domestic honey bees and so forth.

Whilst i accept that this Toad was introduced, and not naturally occurring in Australia, One should be wary of tipping the balance so much in this manner. Nonetheless, an effective alternative to Pesticides.


Oct 28 2010: Rupert a very valid point. A lot of harm has been done to biological balances through good intentions.

As for the balance being tipped, this has been done so through the use of pesticides and monoculture. Large areas of agricultural land have been reduced to virtual deserts through the use of pesticides. The majority of pesticides are not species specific and have therefore eliminated all of the bugs from the landscape, good and bad.

This is especially harmful in the soil which is usually full of vast multitudes of microinsects and other organisms.

The soils of agricultural lands are often rendered sterile through multiple chemical applications. Therefore more chemical applications are required to allow the land to keep reproducing and so on.This cycle has been going on for more than 70 years. New pesticides are required to deal with resistance and bugs evolve requiring new pesticides again and so on. (cont)

1 day ago: Natural controls that is not based on restoring balance of the ecosystem will create a problem but I don't think that is the intent of this lecturer. Restore what is missing and what is native and there should never be a problem.


Oct 28 2010: It is now getting to the point where the chemists and entomologists are running out of new pesticides to use. Surprise, surprise, the bugs are winning the battle.

The end result is a gradual decline in the productive capability of the land. This is well documented. The multinational chemical companies response has been to increase the usage of chemicals per acre to increase productivity.

In the meantime the natural predators of the bugs were wiped out. This was first publicly noted in Rachel Carsons excellent book "Silent Spring" written in the late 50's. Silent spring refers to the lack of bird song in the Northeast of the U.S. after massive applications of DDT to control Dutch Elm disease.

WISE reintroduction of natural predators into the environment is working with the biosphere rather than against it. The end result is greater productivity per acre over time with a reduction in harm to other species, including us. Duh, which do you want.

Oct 28 2010: One problem with biocontrols is that the biocontrols tend to be more species specific

So you wipe out/control one pest, and another suddenly discovers it can make a good living munching your crops. It could do that before, but you were spraying with a general insecticide which killed it, and so you never really noticed it as a potential problem.

So by using biocontrols, you're opening up new evolutionary opportunities for other bugs.

Oct 29 2010: Perhaps by breeding and (re)introduction of native predators?

E.g. - parasitic wasps are not native to my region, and their introductiun would put more pressure on ladybugs, as the two would compete for the same prey.

But breeding ladybugs would control aphids just as successfully. Also, a ladybug on a farm would not bring a risk of outbreak, as it is all ready part of the local ecosystem. Ladybugs also self-limit, because, in the absence of prey, they eat the eggs of other ladybugs to improve the chances of their own offspring.

However, introducing them into a new region is dangerous because some types out-compete local relatives. Each region should breed its own type of ladybugs - if available.

Which brings us back full circle - we need specie-specific AND region-specific predators.

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    6 days ago: This is what happens when you introduce an organism into an environment that doesn't have any natural predators and a ready food supply.

    The usual process for plants and animals when they encounter a food shortage is to spread out and look for an environment which provides a food supply. If they find a place which has a good food supply and no native predators they eventually become the dominant organism in that environment. We already have many examples of this, (cane toad, starlings. kutzu weed, pigeons etc etc), we really don't need anymore. This is why it is wiae to use insects which already exist in the environment in which they are going to be used. After about 150 to 200 years of dedicated study we have a wealth of information available for pretty well most environments on the planet.

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      2 days ago: We need to make that information more available to us little people. The local support for small scale farmers (government, agro stores, university extentions) in my area (Trinidad & Tobago) is totally committed to chemicals.

  • 4 days ago: For those for whom this matters: Kosher rules that religious Jews follow forbid the eating of insects. There is a whole industry here in the US revolving around providing 'bug-free' produce (sometimes driven more by fear or laziness of the consumers to self-clean or self-check their own veggies). I'm assuming the 'good' (predatory) bugs just don't up and leave just before harvest, or die somewhere else off the plants. Just a thought...

    • 2 days ago: To answer your thought.... the produce is washed and dried throughly-ridding them of any insects/

      Nice lecture Shimon!!!


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