A new pest-control approach is changing the way that many of our babies are raised.
With a little tweaking, we could save millions of chicks each year, according to a report from The Globe and Mail.
But the effort could be a big one.
The researchers say that, as with any new technology, it’s important to test out new methods before deploying them widely.
“It’s very important to keep your eyes on the prize, and to try out new things, to see what works and what doesn’t work, and then experiment with them until you get something that works,” says Dr. David Linton, co-author of the study and a wildlife ecologist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
In the study, published in the journal Ecology Letters, Linton and colleagues looked at a number of different approaches for controlling baby cockroaches in Toronto.
They found that, for the most part, the best pest control approach is to control the babies from birth and the adult cockroach larvae can be released from the nest and into the environment after the eggs hatch.
But they found that using a small amount of chemical-spray is also a very effective strategy.
A small amount is just enough to kill the larvae in the nest, Linnish says.
And if the parents can be separated and fed a safe diet before releasing the larvae, they can survive for up to two weeks before the adults emerge from their pupae.
For their experiment, the researchers found that by releasing the cockroach larvae, the team could control the adults of around 10% of the babies that they fed.
However, it was possible to control a smaller number of the adult eggs, and the overall number of babies that the researchers fed was around 8%.
“These findings suggest that if we’re going to have this huge reduction in the numbers of babies being born in the wild, we should be using these strategies,” Linton says.
And he says this kind of pest control could save a lot of money, too.
He says that, if we have a strategy that is able to control this type of pest in a reasonable amount of time, that could save an awful lot of babies and their mothers and the communities around them.
As an added bonus, the approach could be less invasive than spraying chemical-free methods, such as using insecticide-sprayed bedding.
Linton cautions that the team’s results are limited by their reliance on a handful of small-scale experiments.
For example, the technique could also not be applied in an urban environment where there are more cockroaching adults, such a small area in a park or a suburban neighbourhood.
One way of dealing with this problem is to keep the adult insects out of the nest or control the adult larvae that are released into the surrounding environment.
This approach has been used for years to control cockroach infestations in Canada, but it can take years to see the full effects of this new pest control strategy, says Dr Julie Lea, a pest-management expert at the Canadian Pest Management Agency.
“It’s a new approach, and it’s not necessarily scalable,” she says.
“If you’re using this approach for just one cockroach population, it could be costly.
But if you’re trying to control large numbers of cockroches and have multiple populations, it might be very cost effective.”
The researchers are also working on a strategy to control adult cockroach populations in an industrial setting, but Linton notes that this is still a very new strategy that’s being worked on in a number.
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