In Silent Spring, Rachel Carson goes into depth about the damages that our predominant current form of insect control, insecticides, are causing to our crops, land, ecosystems, and bodies. Carson also explains how insects have grown to adapt and evolve to survive the insecticide spray. Consequently, these chemicals we use have created the reverse effect from what they were intended to do.
Carson instead explains multiple different options, some of which are readily available and others still in development, for effective insect control that does "not destroy us along with the insects."
One such method is to sterilize a large group of insects and then reintroduce them to their fertile relatives, which would eventually lead to the sterilization and subsequent eradication of the entire species' population. This method was tested in Curacao and in the southeast US and was completely successful in eradicating the screwworm in both locations.
Another option would be to combine "a chemical sterilant" with "a bait substance" in order to attract the insects to the bait, in turn making them sterile and therefore eventually producing the same result as the first method. Another type of chemical distributed the same way could also be effective in insect control by "causing the chromosomes to break up."
One more method that Carson addresses is perhaps the most innovative—using an insect's venom, secretion, or attractants against it. For example, scientists managed to isolate the attractant of the female gypsy moth and use it to lure many male gypsy moths into a trap. Using an insect's sound against it is also a possibility. Either by using ultrasonic sound to kill off larvae, or replaying a female mosquito's mating call to confuse and trap the male mosquito that follows the call.
Finally, Carson suggests that an insect species disease/plague or an enemy of that species may be introduced into an area unnaturally and kill off the species without the use of any chemicals at all.
As Carson explains, many of these options are already available but often come with either difficulty, danger, or high prices. She explains how insecticides are at best "a stopgap measure bringing no real solution" and that only by acknowledging insects as life forms instead of swarms of destruction will humankind succeed in controlling them without destroying our planet or ourselves.