The Basics of Pest Control

Crawling pests like mice and rats, arachnoids like spiders, and insects such as millipedes and centipedes can cause injuries to people. They also contaminate food and spread diseases. For more information, click the link provided to proceed.

Preventing pests involves removing their food, water, and shelter. This can be done by sweeping and mopping floors, wiping down surfaces, and closing off places where they hide.

Pests are unwanted organisms that harm crops in fields and orchards, damage landscapes and homes, or interfere with human health. They may be plants (weeds), vertebrates (birds, rodents), invertebrates (insects, ticks, mites, and snails) or pathogens (bacteria, virus, or fungus that causes disease).

A pest infestation is costly and disruptive to your home or business. Unwanted pests increase your risk of illness by transmitting diseases such as cockroach-borne E. coli and rodent-borne trichinosis and salmonella. They also can contaminate your food and cause structural damage by chewing wires in factories and warehouses, or by spilling flammable or hazardous chemicals in construction sites.

Preventing pests is less expensive and easier than treating a full-blown infestation. Prevention also reduces the stress of dealing with a pest problem, and it allows you to enjoy your property and its surroundings without interference from unwelcome guests.

Prevention begins by removing the conditions that favor pests. This can be done by limiting the availability of food, water and shelter. Store food in containers with tight lids, remove garbage regularly, and minimize cluttered areas where pests can hide or breed.

Some natural forces, such as climate and predators, can help prevent pest populations from growing out of control, but others can’t. Pesticides are effective when used correctly, but you need to be aware that the pests may become resistant to these substances over time.

Other controls include preventing pests from entering buildings by adjusting doors and windows, keeping food in sealed containers, and repairing any cracks or holes. Biological controls such as nematodes, bacteria and viruses can be used to eliminate some pests. Pheromones, which mimic the scent of a predator or a desirable host, can also be used to repel unwanted insects and rodents.

Chemical controls are the last resort for controlling persistent pests. They include baits, traps, and sprays. These can be applied with the use of a pesticide applicator that meets local and state environmental regulations. It is essential to thoroughly read and understand the pesticide label’s instructions and safety warnings before using it. Surface sprays should be applied to areas where the pests are most likely to be found, such as along skirting boards or in crevices. It is important to keep pets and children away from treated areas while these products are working.

Suppression is used when pest populations reach unacceptable levels, usually due to economic and environmental damage. Most pest control strategies utilize some form of suppression. Suppression tactics vary depending on the type of pest, its damaging behavior and acceptable population levels. Integrated pest management (IPM) strategies focus on prevention and suppression of pests using biological, mechanical or chemical methods. The IPM process involves:

  • Identifying the pest.
  • Monitoring its population for action thresholds.
  • Choosing a management goal.
  • Selecting and implementing the various suppression techniques and evaluating the results.

Natural enemies, including predators and parasitoids, suppress insect pest populations by consuming or parasitizing them and interfering with their reproduction. Predator and parasitoid species that coexist in natural communities interact with each other, sometimes resulting in additive, antagonistic or synergistic effects on the populations of the pests they target.

Some pests cannot be allowed to exist in certain environments, such as enclosed buildings or open outdoor settings, such as citrus groves, because of the human health and environmental damage they cause. Eradication is the goal in these situations.

The climate and environment can influence the growth of pest populations by directly affecting the condition of their host plants, or indirectly by altering the behavior of the pests. Pests can also be controlled by the availability of food, water and shelter. Natural barriers, such as mountains and bodies of water, can restrict the movement of some pests, while overwintering sites and places to hide can limit their numbers.

Sanitation practices can reduce the number of pests by removing their food, water and shelter sources. In citrus groves, sanitation tactics include:

  • I am using pest-free seeds and transplants.
  • They are improving field cleanliness.
  • It is removing weeds that provide hiding places for pests.
  • We are establishing crop residue management programs and decontaminating tillage and harvesting equipment between fields and operations.

Irrigation scheduling can be adjusted to avoid situations conducive to disease development, and pheromones, manufactured versions of the mating attractants that female insects emit, can be used to confuse male insects and prevent them from mating, thereby reducing pest populations. Other pheromones, such as those that mimic the scent of a female’s sperm, can be used to lure males into traps and kill them, again reducing pest numbers.

The goal of eradication is to cause so much harm to the pest that it cannot survive. This can be achieved by a combination of prevention and suppression. This may be a difficult goal in some situations, such as where human populations act as an independent reservoir for an infectious disease that can’t be eliminated entirely (Davies and Smith 2020).

An example of this is small hive beetle, which is a pest of US beekeeping. This pest causes great economic and environmental damage to managed bee colonies and feral bee colonies. Although eradication has not been accomplished, the beetle has been effectively suppressed through education and aggressive bee management.

Another example of eradication is the removal of invasive foreign weeds. These weeds can overtake agricultural fields, pastures, and wildlands and compete with native species for resources. They can also taint hay and other crops, costing farmers millions of dollars each year. The goal of eradication is to remove these weeds in their entirety, destroying them before they spread and become an economic and ecological problem.

The word eradicate originates from the Latin verb eradicare, meaning “to pull up by the roots.” It’s a perfect metaphor for this type of pest control. It’s not uncommon for businesses to hire professional exterminators to remove pests like cockroaches, rodents, and termites from their buildings.

In the field of pest control, eradication has often been attempted using chemical methods such as mass trapping and spraying. However, these methods are controversial because of their potential harmful effects on human health and the environment. In addition, resistance to these chemicals has been observed in many invasive pests.

A common reason for failed eradication attempts is a decline in political or public support. This can occur when the control method is perceived as harsh or restrictive. The long duration of eradication attempts is likely to have contributed to this, as eradication requires the use of high-intensity pesticide applications that are not well-suited for reducing resistance (Slosek 1986).

Prevention is usually the best method for minimizing the number of pests in an area. However, when pests do arrive, suppression and eradication are effective tools for eliminating them.

Monitoring is a key element of IPM and involves checking to see what pests are in your field or greenhouse, how many there are and if they’re causing damage. It is a key step in determining whether to use prevention or control tactics and when. It helps determine if a threshold has been crossed where corrective action is needed to prevent the pest from causing unacceptable damage or injury. Assessment is the interpretation of monitoring data to answer questions like: “Is the number of pests at a level that requires control?”

A pest problem is usually not easy to detect unless it has already reached an epidemic. To monitor a crop, an experienced IPM professional will look for symptoms of pests (like leaf or fruit damage) and will observe pest populations. They will also observe the environment for factors that influence pest behavior and development, such as weather and food or harborage availability. This information is used to predict when a pest outbreak may occur and which prevention or control tactics will be most effective.

Pests are organisms that negatively impact the health, yield or quality of crops, landscapes, buildings and other natural or man-made environments. They can be weeds, vertebrates (birds, rodents, and other mammals), invertebrates (insects, ticks, mites, nematodes, and snails) or pathogens that cause disease. Some organisms are considered pests because they interfere with desirable plants, destroy or displace native species, transmit diseases to humans and animals, or cause other negative impacts on the environment.

For home pest management, monitoring can be done with glue boards and other traps, which are typically placed parallel to walls in inconspicuous locations such as basement sills, along rodent pathways, inside cabinets/closets or furniture where insects or rodents travel and harbor. These devices are very easy to use and come in a variety of shapes and sizes for a wide range of pests.

Eradication is a rare goal in outdoor pest situations but can be necessary in indoor areas, such as schools, offices, hospitals, health care facilities, or other buildings where pests are not tolerated. For example, there is no tolerance for rats, flies, and cockroaches in food processing or preparation facilities.