Plant pest or biological control

anne kilmer viceroy at
Fri Jun 16 13:12:25 EDT 2000

The word Pest is itself noisome. That's my objection to "Integrated pest
management". Bad word. 
I suppose that, from the point of view of the milkweed, the monarch is a
pest, always supposing that the milkweed is unaware of the merits of
pruning. Certainly the milkweed responds to the action of the monarch by
increasing toxicity in its leaves, which would suggest that it dislikes
the chomping, or would like to limit it. ;-)
As the milkweed itself (some species) is a pest, perhaps the monarch
could be regarded as a biocontrol organism. Again, a permit would be
Monarchs, and other butterflies, are a crop now, though, reared by
countless butterfly farmers, and therefore under the aegis and auspices
of the USDA whether they are listed as pests or not. So, argue though
you may, you will not win. Domestic animals, maybe? 
I noticed, a while ago, that one of your California butterfly farms was
selling cabbage whites for release at weddings. Now, you know that ain't
What we fall back on, with these regulations, is the bottom-line
question: What if everybody wanted to do it. 
If everybody wanted to rear silkmoths? mantids? Red Admirals? For their
own enjoyment ... well, the first, knee-jerk reaction, I have to admit,
is, "Wouldn't it be loverly."
Alas, there are deeper matters at stake here.
But, like Chris, I deplore the use of the word and concept "pest". I
suppose we're stuck with it, though. 
Anne Kilmer

"Chris J. Durden" wrote:
> Plant pest = a pest (noun) that is a plant (noun in adjectival apposition).
> Insect pest = a pest that is an insect.
> Pest = some organism that is noisome to people.
> Weed = something that grows where it is not wanted by people.
> Animal pest of man = a medically injurious animal.
> Insect pest of plants = something APHIS should be concerned with.
> Fungus pest of insects = a possible solution.
> Plant pest of plants = an agressive weed among crops.
> etc.
> I wish our regulators would be careful with the language they put in
> regulations. Seems that by no stretch of the imagination can the monarch
> butterfly be considered a "plant pest" or even an "insect pest of plants".
> ..........Chris Durden
> At 05:12  15/06/00 -0400, you wrote:
> >There is clearly a distinction between a plant pest (presumably
> >something that attacks desirable plants) and a biologic control (the
> >same kind of creature attacking an undesirable plant).  Since Milkweeds
> >are desirable in butterfly gardens but not on lawns, where does that
> >leave the Monarch.  But are there any places where Monarchs are
> >sufficiently numerous to actually impact a milkweed clone  (or for that
> >matter a single milkweed plant)----not in my New Jersey yard at least.
> >
> >M. Gochfeld
> >
> >

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