Explain why each characteristic of an ideal pesticide is important (kills only intended pest, is harmless against everything besides its intended pest, and is cheap to produce). 

It is important that an ideal pesticide kills only its intended pest and not otherwise affect the environment around it because altering the ecosystem can cause negative consequences to other populations. It's also important that an ideal pesticide be inexpensive because it needs to be accessible to everyone.

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The ideal pesticide should only kill the intended pest as most insects are beneficial to the environment and serve as either predatory species or pollinators. Killing beneficial insects could lead to a decrease in pollination and/or an increase in other plant pests, thus necessitating the use of more pesticide. Recently scientists have been studying the use of pesticides on bee populations, and their reports of decreased bee populations have led to more emphasis in targeted pesticide use.

The pesticide should also become harmless after it kills the intended pest. Many of these pests are vital parts of the food chain. Improper pesticide use has led to decreased bird populations. DDT, a once-popular pesticide, was blamed for the near-extinction of the peregrine falcon as pesticide buildup in the birds led to decreased egg shell densities. Not only can pesticides build up in bird populations, but they can also affect fish as well. Pesticides can also be a danger to groundwater supplies.

Pesticides should also be cheap to produce. Though many people want to help the environment, they also look for the most cost-effective method to control pests. If a pesticide is expensive but environmentally-friendly, few people will buy it. It is also important to note that commercial farmers are major consumers of pesticides. Many buy hundreds of gallons of pesticide each year, costing them thousands of dollars. While these farmers want to be good stewards of the land, they are also in a business where they must keep their overhead costs as low as possible.

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