History of Pest Control

Human beginnings with pests

Pest control has changed over time. The first humans were hunter-gathers, so the pests humans dealt with in the beginning included fleas, bed bugs, and mosquitoes. As soon as humans developed a more agricultural society, tactics had to be evolved to protect the early crops from being destroyed. The success and growth of human agricultural societies could have not have happened if pest management was not created.

Early Human records of pest control

We see from historical records that several early civilizations had recordings about pests and how they tried to control them. The Sumerians have the oldest records about pests, dating back to 2500 BC. The Sumerians describe using sulfur to control and repel insects. The Chinese also began pest control records, beginning in 500 BC, about using mercury and arsenic compounds on their skin to kill lice. As well as Egyptians, who have records over 2500 years old on the use of large nets draped over beds to stop mosquitoes from annoying people while they slept.

The 19th Century

At the beginning of the 19th century, pest control made huge scientific strides, but were the victims of large scale insect epidemics and diseases carried by the insects. This century saw the rise of many new sciences, including the study of pests and pest management. Universities started to open scientific programs of study, like public health, related to how pests affect human health and agricultural. These new findings helped many countries, modernized public health campaigns, and the ever growing agricultural sector control pests with more accurate scientific investments and new chemicals that killed pests, named  pesticides. However, the increasing globalized world from trade caused pest epidemics to increase. Human urbanization resulting in the Industrial Revolution increased the amount of personal pests at home, like lice and bedbugs. A the same time, entire countries faced large scale pest problems that led to millions of deaths, most notably, the Irish potato famine.

The 20th Century

As the 20th century rolled around, more complex chemicals in pesticides led to the mass industrialization and marketing of pest products to the commercial businesses and to governments for agricultural control. Many of these pesticides kill pests on contact, damaged the pest’s reproductive systems, or repelled the pest from humans and their crops. At the same time, professional pest control businesses began, where the professionals could be hired to use new strategies that remove pests from households or crops.

The history of pest control is linked to the social and cultural evolution of humans. Different types of pests become a problem when humans innovate. But, pests have been around with mankind since the beginning and will evolve as humans evolve. Modern pest control has been dominated by environmentally aware movements and products. Many companies (including us) have switched to safer, more natural methods. the use of toxic chemicals to humans has been decreased, and awareness for safe, clean and natural pest control products and treatments has been dramatically increased this last few years.