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Pests Attacks
Carpet beetle larvae damaging a specimen of Sceliphron destillatorius in an entomological collection.

A pest is an organism, usually an insect, which has characteristics that are regarded by humans as injurious or unwanted. This is often because it causes damage to agriculture through feeding on crops or parasitising livestock, such as codling moth on apples, or boll weevil on cotton. An animal can also be a pest when it causes damage to a wild ecosystem or carries germs within human habitats. Examples of these include those organisms which vector human disease, such as rats and fleas which carry the plague disease, mosquitoes which vector malaria, and ticks which carry Lyme Disease.

The term pest may be used to refer specifically to harmful animals but is also often taken to mean all harmful organisms including weeds, plant pathogenic fungi and viruses. Pesticides are chemicals and other agents (e.g. beneficial micro-organisms) that are used to control or protect other organisms from pests. The related term vermin has much overlap with pest, but generally only includes those creatures that are seen to be vectors of diseases.

It is possible for an animal to be a pest in one setting but beneficial or domesticated in another (for example, European rabbits introduced to Australia caused ecological damage beyond the scale they inflicted in their natural habitat). Many weeds (plant pests) are also seen as useful under certain conditions, for instance Patterson's curse is often valued as food for honeybees and as a wildflower, even though it can poison livestock.

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