A BRIEF HISTORY OF PESTICIDE USE
Updated: Jun 2, 2022
Pesticides haven't always been the harsh, toxic chemicals most people have come to know today; ancient farmers used the power of nature to thwart famine-causing pests and diseases.
THE BIRTH OF AGRICULTURE
Mesopotamia is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the Fertile Crescent, in modern days roughly corresponding to most of Iraq, Kuwait, the eastern parts of Syria, Southeastern Turkey, and regions along the Turkish–Syrian and Iran–Iraq borders.
It is here that the practice of agriculture first began about 10,000 years ago, where edible seeds were initially gathered by a population of hunters and gatherers. Growth and cultivation of wheat, barley, peas, lentils, chickpeas, bitter vetch, and flax then followed as the population became more settled and farming became the predominant way of life. Similarly, in China rice and millet were domesticated, while about 7,500 years ago rice and sorghum were farmed in the Sahel region of Africa. Local crops were domesticated independently in West Africa and possibly in New Guinea and Ethiopia. Three regions of the Americas independently domesticated corn, squashes, potato, and sunflowers.
Of course, as agriculture became essential to the food supply, pests were able to wreak havoc, causing large-scale plant loss and often regional famine. Even today, pests and disease destroy an average of 35-40% of food and fiber crops. There was thus a great incentive to find ways of overcoming the problems caused by pests and diseases. The first recorded use of insecticides is about 4500 years ago by Sumerians who used sulfur compounds to control insects and mites, and about 3200 years ago the Chinese were using mercury and arsenical compounds for controlling body lice. Writings from ancient Greece and Rome show that religion, folk magic and the use of what may be termed chemical methods were tried for the control of plant diseases, weeds, insects and animal pests.
By the 15th century, toxic chemicals such as arsenic, mercury, and lead were being applied to crops to kill pests. In the 17th century, nicotine sulfate was extracted from tobacco leaves for use as an insecticide. The 19th century saw the introduction of two more natural pesticides, pyrethrum, which is derived from chrysanthemums, and rotenone, which is derived from the roots of tropical vegetables. Until the 1950s, arsenic-based pesticides were dominant. Paul Müller discovered that DDT was a very effective insecticide. Organochlorines such as DDT were dominant, but they were replaced in the U.S. by organophosphates and carbamates by 1975. Since then, pyrethrin compounds have become the dominant insecticide. Herbicides became common in the 1960s, led by "triazine and other nitrogen-based compounds, carboxylic acids such as 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, and glyphosate".
Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was established in 1970 and amendments to the pesticide law in 1972, pesticide use has increased 50-fold since 1950 and 2.3 million tonnes (2.5 million short tons) of industrial pesticides are now used each year. The EPA HAS made a great many chemical pesticides illegal to use, but there is still no shortage of dangerous toxins being used as pesticides.
WIZARD'S BREW KILLS PESTS, NATURALLY.
Fortunately for the health of farmers, consumers, and the environment, we introduce a pesticide that does things differently… better!
Wizard’s Brew, a plant-based pesticide.
Our unique formulas kill pests and mold via asphyxiation, poison, and reproductive harm. Wizard’s Brew performs its magic using organic, steam-distilled essential oils like Lemongrass Oil, Cedarwood Oil, Castor Oil, Rosemary Oil, Cinnamon Oil, and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (derived from plants).
Wizard’s Brew comes in two formulas: Wizard’s Brew Concentrate and Wizard’s Brew Root drench. The concentrate is used on the foliage and kills Russet Mites, Spider Mites, Whiteflies, Thrips, Aphids, Powdery Mildew, and other pests. The Root Drench, as the name suggests, is used all over the roots to kill Fungus Gnats, Root Aphids, Thrips, and Whiteflies.