What is a pest?

  • Nothing to do with what is known as ‘pesticides’ or plant health;
  • Nothing to do with the PEST European Parliament Committee and its scope of work.

​“A pest is any animal which has a harmful effect on humans, their food or their living conditions. Pests include animals which:

  • carry disease-causing micro-organisms and parasites, for example, mosquitoes which carry Ross River virus and Murray Valley encephalitis.
  • damage stored food. For example, rats and mice may eat grain in silos, rice or biscuits in shops and homes and contaminate this food with their faeces (droppings) and urine. Globally, food production loss from pests is estimated at 40%.
  • damage buildings. For example, termites can cause considerable damage to timber in buildings. Rodents through their necessity to constantly gnaw destroy infrastructure such as underground cables, fibre optics, wiring and all manner of items. Evidence shows that this action has caused fires in buildings and led to real economic damage.

There are thousands of different kinds of pests which are harmful to humans. The great majority of these are types of insect.”

Source: Ministry of Health, What is a pest? Australia, 2010

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