The Info List - Pest (organism)

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A pest is a plant or animal detrimental to humans or human concerns including crops, livestock, and forestry. The term is also used of organisms that cause a nuisance, such as in the home. An older usage is of a deadly epidemic disease, specifically plague. In its broadest sense, a pest is a competitor of humanity.[1][2]


1 Concept 2 By taxon

2.1 Vertebrate pests

2.1.1 Birds 2.1.2 Amphibians 2.1.3 Mammals

2.2 Invertebrates

2.2.1 Insects and arachnids Agricultural and domestic arthropods Tree and forest pests Ectoparasites

2.2.2 Nematodes 2.2.3 Gastropod

2.3 Plant diseases 2.4 Weeds

3 See also 4 References 5 Further reading 6 External links

Concept[edit] A pest is any living organism, whether animal, plant or fungus, which is invasive or troublesome to plants or animals, human or human concerns, livestock, or human structures. It is a loose concept, as an organism can be a pest in one setting but beneficial, domesticated or acceptable in another.

Pests often occur in high densities, making the damage they do even more detrimental. Termite

Animals are called pests when they cause damage to agriculture by feeding on crops or parasitising livestock, such as codling moth on apples, or boll weevil on cotton. An animal could also be a pest when it causes damage to a wild ecosystem or carries germs within human habitats. Examples of these include those organisms which vector human disease, such as rats and fleas which carry the plague disease, mosquitoes which vector malaria, and ticks which carry Lyme disease. A species can be a pest in one setting but beneficial or domesticated in another (for example, European rabbits introduced to Australia caused ecological damage beyond the scale they inflicted in their natural habitat). Many weeds are also seen as useful under certain conditions, for instance Patterson's curse
Patterson's curse
is often valued as food for honeybees and as a wildflower, even though it can poison livestock. The term "plant pest" has a specific definition in terms of the International Plant Protection Convention and phytosanitary measures worldwide. A pest is any species, strain or biotype of plant, animal, or pathogenic agent injurious to plants or plant products.[3] Plants may be considered pests themselves if an invasive species. The animal groups of greatest importance as pests (in order of economic importance) are insects, mites, nematodes and gastropods.[4] Plant pests can be classed as monophagous, oligophagous, and polyphagous according to how many hosts they have. Alternatively, they can be divided by feeding type, whether biting and chewing; piercing and sucking; or Lapping and chewing. Another approach is to class them by population presence as * key pests, occasional pests, and potential pests. In terms of population biology, there are population growth rate (r) pests; carrying capacity (k) pests; and r-k pests. Further information: Verhulst equation § In_ecology:_modeling_population_growth By taxon[edit] Vertebrate pests[edit] Birds[edit]

Pigeons and seagulls eat human food and carry disease Many birds, such as crows, eat crops Canada goose; widely regarded as pests in the United States (see Canada goose#Relationship with humans), and in New Zealand (see Canada geese in New Zealand). Woodpeckers peck at rooftops and also nest in them. They cause structural damage to houses. The common myna was declared by IUCN Species Survival Commission
IUCN Species Survival Commission
as one of the world's most invasive species and one of only three birds in the top 100 species that pose an impact to biodiversity, agriculture and human interests.[5] In particular, the species poses a serious threat to the ecosystems of Australia
where it was named "The Most Important Pest/Problem".[6]


Bullfrogs cause problems to the ecosystems. Cane toads have had serious negative effects on many ecosystems to which they have been introduced, especially in Australia. The toad's skin is toxic, killing many wild and domestic animals that attempt to eat it.


Mice, rats, and other small rodents damage crops and stored produce Rabbits decimate native plant populations in Australia, where they are an introduced species. Foxes, opossums, raccoons, and bears eat waste Beavers destroy trees Gophers, groundhogs, and moles destroy lawns Feral cats and feral dogs eat human food and carry disease White-tailed deer
White-tailed deer
are now seen as pests in many suburban and exurban areas of the US, though not in more rural areas. Coyotes and wolves prey upon livestock Vampire bats drink blood of livestock[7] Eastern grey squirrels are seen as pests in Britain and Ireland because of the decline of red squirrel populations Wild boars damage crops, spread disease, and prey upon livestock

Invertebrates[edit] Further information: Insect
bites and stings, Pest insect, and Category:Pest insects Insects and arachnids[edit] Agricultural and domestic arthropods[edit]

Caterpillars cause crop damage

Termites cause structural damage

Examples of agricultural and horticultural insect pests include:

aphids and other Hemipteran pests, thrips, Lepidopteran, Dipteran, and Coleopteran larvae, spider mites, locusts and crickets.

Ants, cockroaches, flies and wasps Termites, woodworm and wood ants cause structural damage Bookworms, silverfish, carpet beetles and clothes moths cause non-structural damage

Tree and forest pests[edit] Further information: Forest integrated pest management and Christmas tree pests and weeds

Gypsy moths attack hardwood trees (see Gypsy moths in the United States)


cause skin irritation Sarcoptes scabiei
Sarcoptes scabiei
causes scabies Ticks and mites cause irritation and can spread disease Lice, fleas and bed bugs can all cause skin irritation Mosquitoes, tsetse flies and kissing bugs cause irritation and carry disease


Root-knot nematode Soybean cyst nematode Potato cyst nematode

molluscs[edit] These include slugs and land snail pests: Some slugs are pests in agriculture and gardens.[4] Deroceras reticulatum is a worldwide slug pest.[4] Local importance slug pests include: Deroceras
spp.,[4] Milax spp.,[4] Tandonia
sp.,[4] Limax spp.,[4] Arion spp.[4] and some species of Veronicellidae:[4] Veronicella sloanei.[8]

Helix aspersa
Helix aspersa
damages citrus fruits in California,[4] Cernuella virgata, Theba pisana
Theba pisana
and Cochlicella
spp. decrease quality of grains when harvested with the product in South Australia.[4]

Achatina fulica
Achatina fulica
damages vegetables and ornamental plants in the Pacific region. Succinea costaricana damages ornamental plants in Costa Rica.[9] Ovachlamys fulgens
Ovachlamys fulgens
damages ornamental plants and orchids in Costa Rica.[10] Other pest species include Amphibulima patula
Amphibulima patula
dominicensis,[8] Zachrysia provisoria[8] and Bradybaena similaris.[8]

Plant diseases[edit] Further information: Plant disease, Lists of plant diseases, and Plant pathology Weeds[edit] Further information: Invasive plant species
Invasive plant species
and Weed See also[edit]

Home stored product entomology Invasive species List of common household pests List of parasites of humans Nuisance wildlife management Pest control Pesticide Pesticide
application Synanthrope Urban wildlife


^ Merriam-Webster dictionary, accessed 22 August 2012. ^ "Pest vermin". Britannica. Retrieved 24 August 2016.  ^ FAO Corporate Document Repository: Guidelines for Phytosanitary Certificates. Retrieved 1 August 2012 ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Speiser B. (2002). "Chapter 219. Molluscicides". 506–508. doi:10.1201/NOE0824706326.ch219 PDF In: Pimentel D. (ed.) (2002). Encyclopedia of Pest Management. ISBN 978-0-8247-0632-6. ^ Lowe S., Browne M., Boudjelas S. and de Poorter M. (2000). 100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species. A selection from the Global Invasive Species Database. The Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), a specialist group of the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), Auckland. ^ "ABC Wildwatch". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2012-08-07.  ^ Greenhall, Arthur M. 1961. Bats in Agriculture. A Ministry of Agriculture
Publication. Trinidad and Tobago ^ a b c d Stange L. A. (created September 2004, updated March 2006). "Snails and Slugs of Regulatory Significance to Florida" Archived 2010-12-02 at the Wayback Machine.. Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture
and Consumer Services. Accessed 27 August 2010. ^ Villalobos M. C., Monge-Nájera J., Barrientos Z. & Franco J. (1995). "Life cycle and field abundance of the snail Succinea costaricana (Stylommatophora: Succineidae), a tropical pest". Revista de Biología Tropical 43: 181-188. PDF Archived 2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine.. ^ Barrientos Z. (1998). "Life history of the terrestrial snail Ovachlamys fulgens
Ovachlamys fulgens
(Stylommatophora: Helicarionidae) under laboratory conditions". Revista de Biología Tropical 46(2): 369-384. PDF. HTM in the Google chache.

Further reading[edit]

Burch, John B.. 1960. Some snails and slugs of quarantine significance to the United States. U.S. Dept. Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service 82(1): 73 pp Hockings, F.D, 2014,"Pests, Diseases and Beneficials", CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, ISBN 9781486300211

External links[edit]

Media related to Pest insects at Wikimedia Commons Media related to Weeds (plants) at Wikimedia Commons Pests travel guide from Wikivoyage UF/IFAS Pest Alert Web site - arthropods, nematodes and plant diseases affecting humans, livestock/pets, agricultural and ornamental plants.

v t e

Insects in culture

Aspects of insects in culture

In the arts

Insects in art

Beetlewing John Hampson

Insects in film Insects in literature Insects in music

List of insect-inspired songs

Insects on stamps

In fishing

Fishing bait Fly fishing Artificial fly Fly tying Maggot Mayfly Mealworm

In medicine


Apitoxin Melittin

Maggot Spanish fly


In mythology

Bee Butterfly Cicada Dragonfly Praying mantis Scarab

Entomophagy (as food)


Ant Cicada Cricket Grasshopper Termite


Bamboo worm Darkling beetle Mealworm Mopani worm Rhinoceros beetle Silkworm Waxworm Witchetty grub

Other aspects

Biomimicry Cricket fighting Entomological warfare Flea
circus Insects in religion Jingzhe

Economic entomology

Beneficial insects

Pest control

Encarsia formosa Ichneumon wasp Ladybird



crops pollinated Bumblebee Honey


Beetles Flies Lepidoptera



pollen Beeswax Honey Propolis Royal jelly

Other insects



Chitin Kermes Sericulture



Model organism

Drosophila melanogaster

Harmful insects


Aphid Boll weevil Colorado potato beetle Cottony cushion scale Japanese beetle Locust Phylloxera Western corn rootworm


Botfly Horn fly Horse-fly Screwworm fly Tsetse fly Warble fly


bites and stings Insect
sting allergy Bed bug Bee
sting Flea Horse-fly Louse Mosquito Wasp


Deathwatch beetle Furniture beetle House longhorn beetle Termite Woodworm

Other pests

Home-stored product entomology Clothes moth Cockroach Housefly


Jan Swammerdam Alfred Russel Wallace Jean-Henri Fabre Hans Zinsser
Hans Zinsser
(Rats, Lice and History) Lafcadio Hearn
Lafcadio Hearn
( Insect


Living things in culture

Arthropods Birds Fish Fungi Mammals Microbes Molluscs Reptiles Plants


Authority control

GND: 4051949-1 N