Today, growers of many U.S. crops hire independent professional consultants to manage their product use and only request applications of crop protection products when a problem arises. They also use products that are specific to the pests present. This has led some crops, like cotton, to reduce product applications from 20 or 40 applications per year down to 4 or 5.
Consumers expect high quality fruit and vegetables; this means produce free of insect blemishes and insect contamination. Before the introduction of insecticides, holes, scars, and surface tunnels made my insects feeding on crops could often be found in produce sold to consumers in addition to insect fragments in canned products. Before the introduction of insecticides, blueberries often contained maggots, aphids - also known as plant lice - could be found in canned spinach, and fruitworm in tomatoes. Insecticides reduce and, in some cases, eliminate, insect damage allowing the consumer to purchase blemish-free, high quality produce.