Difference Between Pest and Weed

Pest and weed are two terms that cause a lot of worries, especially to farmers and garden owners. Both are unwanted organisms that find their way through nooks and crannies into lively ecosystems. However, many people confuse them to be the same thing. This is not the case. Both have several distinguishing factors that are important to know about.

Pest vs Weed

The main difference between pest and weed is that pest is an umbrella term for several living organisms including plants, animals, and fungus that cause harm wherever they exist whereas weed is a term used to describe only plants that grow in unwanted places and do not necessarily cause any harm to other organisms.

Pest and Wee

Pests are considered to be harmful to plants, crops, livestock, and several human concerns. The most common pests that are known to people include beetles, flies, fruit flies, moths, caterpillars, mites, bedbugs, etc. These organisms tend to threaten the existence of other organisms, and sometimes even destroy them wherever they grow or live.

Meanwhile, weeds are not necessarily harmful. They are merely unwanted plants that grow in spaces where they are not needed. In that sense, it depends upon human perspective whether a plant is a weed or not. For example, if a creeper grows in a rose garden out of nowhere, it is considered to be a weed. Similarly, if an apple tree grows in the middle of a sugarcane plantation, it is considered to be a weed.

Comparison Table Between Pest and Weed

Parameters of ComparisonPestWeed
MeaningAn organism that causes harm to other organisms.An organism that grows in an unwanted place.
InclusionsIt could be a plant, fungus, animal, etc.It can only be a plant.
NatureIt threatens the existence of other organisms and may even destroy them in some cases.It does not cause any harm to other organisms.
ConsiderationIt does not depend on human perspective.It depends on human perspective.
ControlIt can be controlled by poisoning, fumigation, traps, etc.It can be controlled by chemical attacks, burning, and even manually using hoes.
ExamplesExamples of pests are beetles, flies, fruit flies, moths, caterpillars, mites, bedbugs, etc.Examples of weeds are wild onions, wild garlic, wild violet, wild tree saplings, etc.

What is Pest?

The term ‘pest’ refers to any kind of living organism that threatens, harms, or destroys other organisms. This could be a plant, fungus, animal, or even a microorganism. Their victims can include crops, gardens, forests, livestock, humans, and even homes.

Plants are considered pests when they are of a particular species that is aggressive or invasive. This means that weeds are also a kind of pest. These plants specifically cause negative effects or harm the environment in which they grow.

Meanwhile, animals are considered pests when they damage crops or other vegetation. In that sense, an elephant that runs across a field and tramples all the crops in its way is also considered a pest. Microorganisms can also be called pests, however, they are generally termed as pathogens that cause diseases in human beings.

Regardless, several measures can be taken to save an ecosystem from pests. Different environments such as fields, forests, and homes require different techniques for pest control. One of the most common methods used in almost every setting is spraying pesticides. This is a method of poisoning pests so that they flee from the site or die. Other methods include fumigation, and even manually trapping and killing these organisms.

What is Weed?

Unlike pests, the term ‘weed’ is only used for certain plants that grow in spaces where they are not necessarily needed.  Such plants mostly grow in environments that have been designed by humans. One example of this is when weeds grow in a backyard or garden.

However, the term has a very loose concept which makes it difficult to categorize plants that are weeds. This is because while one plant may be unwanted in one place, it may not be the case in another. If a wild violet grows in a vegetable garden, it can be considered a weed. However, if it grows in the forest, it only enhances the beauty of the landscape.

Therefore, it is most common for people to find ‘weeds’ in gardens, fields, and farms. These are places designated for the growth of only one kind of plant. Interestingly, man scientists also argue that humans themselves are ‘weedy’ species. This is because we are highly adaptable, invasive, and spread over a wide variety of environments.

Regardless, there are several methods of removing unwanted plants from an area. One of the most popular techniques is by using a hoe and other tools to manually uproot the organisms. Other methods include burning, wilting, and even chemical attacks.

Main Differences Between Pest and Weed

  1. A pest is an organism that causes harm to other organisms whereas a weed is an organism that grows in an unwanted place.
  2. A pest could be a plant, fungus, animal, etc. whereas weed can only be a plant.
  3. A pest threatens the existence of other organisms and may even destroy them in some cases whereas weed does not cause any harm to other organisms.
  4. The concept of pests does not depend on human perspective whereas the concept of weed depends on human perspective.
  5. Pests can be controlled by poisoning, fumigation, traps, etc. whereas weeds are controlled by chemical attacks, burning, and even manually using hoes.
  6. Examples of pests are beetles, flies, fruit flies, moths, caterpillars, mites, bedbugs, etc. whereas examples of weeds are wild onions, wild garlic, wild violet, wild tree saplings, etc.

Conclusion

Pests and weeds are considered to be a nuisance by most people. However, an important fact to be noted is that they are very different from each other. A major difference between them lies in their meaning. Firstly, a pest is any kind of organism that is invasive and causes harm to others. Meanwhile, weeds are plants that grow in spaces where they are not necessarily welcomed.

This also means that pests are harmful whereas weeds are not necessarily threatening. Another major difference is that pests can be defined within certain parameters and can also be categorized to some extent. On the other hand, the definition of a weed is somewhat obscure and does not allow much scope for categorization.

References

  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.2307/1243918
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01876885
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Editorial Staff at Ask Any Difference is a team of experts in the field of "Difference Between" topics and led by Sandeep Bhandari, Piyush Yadav and Chara Yadav. Trusted by over 1.5 million readers worldwide
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