Herbicides and fungicides are kinds of pesticides. In other words, pesticide is an umbrella term, while herbicides and fungicides are two categories of pesticide. The suffix _-_cide refers to killing or to something that kills, while the prefixes herbi-, fungi- and pesti- indicate the target that is to be killed or controlled. Here are two pesticide targets:
- In the case of an herbicide, the target is a plant pest, or weed.
- In the case of a fungicide, the target is a fungus.
Herbicides and fungicides are kinds of pesticides.
So what is a pesticide?
Pesticides are chemical agents, either natural or synthetic, that serve to kill or control pests. There are many pesticide targets. They include:
There may even be other target categories for pesticides, and each target tends to have its own prefix. So a pesticide for insects is an insecticide, and one for slugs is a molluscicide, since a slug is a mollusc. One exception is the term rodenticide; _e_ven though the prefix refers to rodents, for regulatory reasons the term rodenticide might even be applied to agents used to control or kill birds or fish.
Although strong chemical or synthetic pesticides may have their place, one fitting cliche might be that there's no need to use a sledgehammer when a tack hammer will do. So the rule of thumb should be to try simpler and milder measures first. If it works, so much the better; if it doesn't, then consider stronger options.
Some pesticides are toxic to humans, pets and wildlife. Take all precautions and read labels carefully before use.