Biological Approaches to Pest Control

Pests are organisms that spoil crops, damage buildings and contaminate food. Control methods aim to reduce their numbers to an acceptable level. They should cause least harm to people and non-target plants and animals.

Preventing and suppressing pests involves denying them shelter, food and water. Physical controls include traps, baits, screens, barriers and fences. Changes in climate and natural enemies of pests also help control them. Contact Pest Control Garland TX now!

Pest identification is the first step in any pest control program. Whether you are spraying an area with a pesticide or trying to keep pests from damaging your crops, it is important to know what the problem is. It is also important to understand that not all organisms are pests. In fact, many organisms that you see may be beneficial to your garden or environment. For example, bats and birds eat insects and can help control insect populations.

Incorrect pest identification can result in unnecessary or ineffective pesticide applications. It can also result in damage to non-target organisms (plants or animals that are not the intended target of an application). If you are not sure what the pest is, consult a guide or ask your local Extension agent for assistance.

Integrated pest management (IPM) emphasizes field scouting, which is the practice of regularly searching for and identifying pest problems and assessing their severity. Accurate pest identification is critical to IPM, because appropriate management strategies vary dramatically depending on the specific weed, insect, or disease that needs controlling.

A pest’s appearance can change depending on its stage in life or time of year, and this information is helpful for determining when to treat it. IPM treatments are most effective when they are based on knowledge of the pest’s biology and life cycle, which includes its preferred food sources, habitats, and stages in its development.

You can find a wealth of information about the physical characteristics of most common pests, such as their size, shape, color, and number of legs or wings, by using online resources. Many of these websites have images that allow you to compare the pest to others with similar features. This can help you identify the pest more quickly and accurately.

You can reduce the need for pesticides by removing the food, water or shelter that attracts them. Remove rotting fruits or vegetables from the ground; keep compost piles well away from your garden; and clean up fallen leaves or debris where pests might hide. Also, take steps to eliminate attracting conditions, such as by tightening window screens and sealing cracks, where possible.


A pesticide is any substance used to kill a pest, or prevent and reduce the damage that a pest can cause. It may be natural or man-made, and can be organic, inorganic or synthetic. It can be a solid, liquid, powder or spray. It can take the form of an insecticide (bug killer), herbicide, fungicide or rodenticide. It can also be a lure or bait intended to draw and kill the pest, or it could be a plant growth regulator or desiccant.

It is important to consider the effect that a pesticide will have on non-target plants, animals and people when using it. The ideal pesticide will destroy the target pest while having few, if any, negative effects on humans or the environment. Pesticides are not perfect and can have serious side effects, so they should be used sparingly and always according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

The chemical composition of a pesticide determines its risk. There are many different types of pesticides; some are very toxic and others have only a slight toxicity level. A product’s ingredients are listed on the pesticide label. The label will include a number called the hazard rating or “schedule” that indicates how toxic the product is. It will also list any signal words that alert users to special hazards such as “fatal at very low doses”, “corrosive” or “may cause eye or skin irritation”.

A product’s inert ingredients are the other components that make up a pesticide, and are used as a carrier or to help it adhere to the surface being treated. Inert ingredients often contribute to the toxicity of a pesticide more than the active ingredient. Manufacturers often choose to keep information on inert ingredients secret as they are trade secrets.

The use of pesticides can harm pollinators, decrease biodiversity and degrade the environment by accumulating in soil and water. They can also cause pollution by injuring or killing non-targeted living things and contaminating the food we eat. It is important to try non-chemical methods of pest control first, but if you decide to use a pesticide, be sure to read and follow the product’s instructions carefully.


The foundation of Integrated Pest Management, an approach that minimizes chemical usage, exclusion techniques work to make structures as unappealing as possible to pests. By closing off the avenues pests use to enter structures, and protecting food, water and shelter, humans can make their properties unsuitable for pests to infest.

Exclusion is one of the most effective forms of pest control, and it can be practiced by home or business owners themselves. However, a professional pest technician is uniquely qualified to find the openings that can provide entry points for rodents and other pests. And when done correctly, a home or commercial building can be protected for years.

Practicing exclusion is a key to pest protection that will save homeowners money in living costs and repairs. A professional can help identify the gaps, routes and entrance areas that are allowing pests into a structure and seal them with materials such as spray foam, caulk, silicone, and hardware cloth. They can also install gable and attic vent covers, chimney caps, and plumbing and air vent screens to prevent critters from entering.

Another important element of exclusion is to reduce the amount of clutter in a structure. A cluttered environment provides more hiding places and easy access to food, water and shelter for pests. This can be as simple as regularly removing garbage from rooms and cleaning up yard debris. It can also involve trimming back bushes, trees and shrubs that are touching or in close proximity to a structure to eliminate bridges that offer pests easy access to the building.

It is generally agreed that it is better to perform exclusion at the same time as population reduction, rather than after. The latter can lead to trapping rodents inside buildings, which can damage them and cause new problems.

While many people think of rodent exclusion when they hear the term “pest control,” pest exclusion can be used to protect against any type of nuisance wildlife or insect infestation. And implementing exclusion early can prevent problems before they begin, such as overwintering pests like cluster flies and ladybugs at windows and light fixtures.

Biological Control

The most promising approach to pest control involves the use of living biological agents. Natural enemies are predators, parasites, or diseases that directly suppress pests. They may be imported from their native regions or they can be produced in the greenhouse and then released into the field. The three basic approaches to biological control are importation, augmentation, and conservation. (See box below)

Importation, or classical biological control, is usually used when the pest of interest is of exotic origin. This can occur either accidentally or intentionally; for example, alligator weed flea beetles were introduced to Florida to control the invasive plant. In the case of an accidental introduction, a search can be undertaken in the pest’s native region for potential predatory or parasitic organisms that might suppress the new species. The best candidates are then brought to the United States for evaluation and, if suitable, for release into the field. Such introductions must be made under strict governmental controls to ensure that no unwanted species are introduced along with the desired organism.

Augmentation, or biocontrol, is the most common form of biological control in greenhouses. Lady beetles and lacewings are routinely purchased and released to control aphids and caterpillars in many crops. In a similar manner, the predatory mite Amblysieus swirskii is used for control of thrips, whiteflies, and broad mites in vegetables, and the entomopathogenic nematode Trichogramma can be released to great effect into vegetable fields at rates of 5,000 to 200,000 per acre weekly to effectively control soil-dwelling insect pests. This practice is also known as “inundative release.”

Biological control is most effective when the organisms are introduced to a crop at the very beginning of its life cycle, before the pest population has had an opportunity to establish itself. This requires careful planning and knowledge of the pest’s life history. In addition, the habitat of the biological control agent must be provided to ensure that it can survive and thrive in the cropping system.

Unlike chemical sprays, which are relatively permanent, biological controls are dynamic organisms that need to be continually monitored and refined. In general, a successful biological control program will require six to ten generations for the organism to have an impact on the targeted pest. Moreover, it is important to remember that any mechanism that does not specifically target the pest or pathogen and does not involve living control agents cannot be considered to be biological control. Examples include watering wilted plants, which restores health and does not control pest damage, and applying non-selective herbicides to the landscape.

How to Use Natural Features for Pest Control

Natural features such as mountains and lakes restrict the spread of many pests. Other natural factors, such as weather and available food and water, influence their populations.

Some pests – such as plum curculio, flea beetles, gypsy moths, and plant bugs in trees and shrubs – are persistent and require regular control. Others have boom and bust cycles, depending on seasonal conditions. Contact Pest Control Meridian now!

Identifying pests is the first step in integrated pest management. Accurate identification allows you to recognize what type of pest you have and to select appropriate management tactics that will control the pest without harming beneficial organisms, people or pets.

Most pests have different physical forms at different stages in their life cycle. Knowing which form they are in helps you to detect and identify them – for example, a weed seedling looks quite different from the mature plant. Knowing what stage a pest is in also helps you to determine whether it requires treatment. Identification also helps you avoid applying pesticides to the wrong type of insect, which can cause damage or injury and waste time and money.

Pests are often more than just a nuisance, and some can carry diseases and contaminate food or personal items. They also destroy gardens and crops.

The purpose of pest control is to reduce the number of pests to a level that is acceptable for you and your environment. Identifying pests, monitoring their numbers and removing any factors that favor them, can help prevent them from reaching unacceptable levels.

Many pest problems can be controlled without the need for chemical applications. Sanitation, properly storing foods and garbage, sealing cracks around the home, cleaning and reusing compost containers, and removing standing water from the yard are some examples of preventive strategies.

Some pests can only be prevented by being vigilant and looking for signs of them, such as their feces or discarded egg shells. Others require a change in their habitat, such as removing or adding mulch to the garden, maintaining clean compost bins and relocating bird feeders away from houses.

Some pests are persistent and need regular monitoring, such as cockroaches, mice, fleas and cluster flies. Other pests are sporadic or migratory and need only occasional controls, such as boxelder bugs, grasshoppers and mosquitoes. The best way to determine if pests need control is through “field scouting,” which means searching for and identifying pests regularly, usually daily or weekly depending on the type of pest.

Barriers and Exclusion

A physical barrier is often the best line of defense against pest invasions. Also known as pest exclusion, it involves sealing the gaps, routes and pathways that pests use to enter homes or commercial facilities. It can be done in conjunction with population reduction techniques or as a preventive measure to keep critters out for good.

It starts with an inspection, identifying the problem areas of entry. Then, the appropriate barriers can be installed. For example, a gap that allows rodents to squeeze through can be closed with weather stripping, metal screens or spray foam. For holes larger than a quarter of an inch, exclusion fill fabrics, stainless steel mesh or even sheet metal may be used. Other items, like door sweeps or parasitic nematodes, can help close the space under doors where rats and cockroaches commonly slip inside.

In addition to exclusion, minimizing things that attract pests is critical. Food scraps, crumbs and trash should be kept away from buildings. Yard debris, leaf piles and other clutter can serve as shelter for rodents and birds and should be cleared regularly. And, of course, all pet foods should be stored properly and not left out in the open where pests can easily find them.

For areas that can’t be sealed, such as vents and drainpipes, a simple copper mesh will keep pests out without allowing water to flow or air to get in. It’s easy to install and doesn’t stain. Our favorite product for this application is Stuf-It copper mesh, available from Solutions Pest & Lawn.

For large commercial facilities, pest exclusion methods can be especially effective when coupled with a comprehensive integrated pest management plan. This includes inspections and repairs to exterior walls, removing any harborage sites and implementing interior improvements that inhibit pest movement between spaces. This helps limit the need for costly chemical interventions and protects the reputation of a facility. New technologies, such as sealants and particle barriers designed specifically for the pest management industry, are also helping eliminate termites and cockroaches from structures with difficult-to-access crevices.

Bait Stations

Rodent bait stations contain poisons to control rodent pests. They offer the advantage of controlling rodents in places where traps cannot be placed because of a lack of shelter or access to food sources. These tamper-resistant containers are usually small boxes designed to hold solid or liquid rodenticides (poisons). They can be made at home from scrap materials, purchased prefabricated, or even attached to the pens of poultry houses or swine confinement buildings. Some manufacturers use locks, seals or concealed latches to make the bait station more tamperproof.

Bait stations also reduce the amount of environmental buildup and non-target pesticide residue, especially for liquid rodenticides. They can be a good alternative to other rodenticide treatments, which can leave residues that can be hazardous to pets and children.

While mice and rats may look cute in the pet store, they are a serious household problem that can produce numerous litters of offspring each year. They can gnaw through doors, walls and cabinets, contaminate food, and spread diseases. In addition, they gnaw through wires and other electrical components, potentially creating dangerous electrical fires.

It can take a few days for rodents to discover and begin using a new bait station, depending on the stability of their environment. It is important to locate the bait station where rodents are most active, such as near rodent burrows, along walls or travel routes. If possible, the station should be located directly next to an active trail. It may be necessary to place several bait stations in areas where rodents are abundant.

Unlike traps, there are no dead rodents to dispose of in a bait station. Mice and rats enter the container, eat the bait, and then leave to return to their nests or feed locations. They die a few days later, typically in their nests or feeding areas, often from internal bleeding caused by anticoagulants.

Although rodents can gnaw through plastic, most manufacturers of bait stations construct them out of durable materials that are suitable for outdoor placement. These include sturdy plastics and metal. Regardless of the material, it should be weather-resistant and constructed to prevent the tampering of children or other non-target species.


Insect traps are a staple of pest control programs. Sticky traps capture spiders, ants, and other insects that try to sneak into your home. These traps can be useful in solving limited pest problems such as a single wolf spider or a few crickets in a room, and they provide valuable information to both the homeowner and the pest control professional. Traps can also help reduce the need for treatments if a targeted placement and specialized pheromone attractants are used to make traps more effective against specific pest species and less likely to catch other organisms.

Monitoring traps, such as yellow sticky traps for cockroaches or pheromone traps that target Indian meal moths and cigarette beetles in storage and food warehouses, are used to provide information about the extent of pest infestations. The information gathered from these traps can be used to guide treatment strategies, such as flushing cockroaches or spraying a chemical to kill them, depending on the contributing conditions.

When pest populations reach high numbers, the trapping program may also include releasing natural enemies such as beneficial nematodes to reduce their numbers. Traps can be set at different times during a pest’s life cycle to better time the application of these biological controls.

Interpreting sticky trap data is challenging and takes experience, knowledge of the pest species being targeted, and careful attention to contributing conditions. The type and density of crop foliage, temperature, air movement, and pesticide applications all influence the number of insects trapped on traps.

It is important to regularly check traps and dispose of the insects as necessary, especially after a treatment. Traps should be moved to new locations and cleaned as needed to reduce the risk of them catching other pests or animals. Checking traps can also help prevent accidental contamination by removing old, contaminated traps from their original location before they can contaminate other areas. If you are using a glue trap, make sure it is non-toxic and safe to use in your environment, and be careful when setting it out near plants or water sources.

Keep Pests Out of Your Home Or Hospitality Property

Pests, from cockroaches to rodents, cause a wide range of damage and health problems. Keep these unwanted intruders out of your home or hospitality property by preventing them from finding food, water and shelter.

Physical barriers and exclusion methods create boundaries pests can’t or won’t cross. These include door sweeps and traps that use natural toxins like the bacterium Bt to kill caterpillars and other pest insects. Contact St Charles Pest Control now!

Pests are a nuisance when they invade your home, but they can also be dangerous to your health. In fact, many pests can carry bacteria that cause disease in humans and animals, such as cockroaches, rodent droppings, or fleas. In addition, the damage that pests cause to structures can result in costly repair bills. That’s why it’s important to prevent pest infestations, and to take steps to stop existing pests before they have a chance to cause harm.

Prevention is an ongoing effort to keep pests out of a building or property, often focusing on sealing potential entry points and proofing buildings. It also includes cleaning and sanitation. For instance, a pest-proofing program for a restaurant might include establishing protocol for staff to inspect food shipments and determining which areas of the establishment should be wet washed rather than dry washed to reduce moisture-attracting pests such as flies or roaches.

Some pests are continuously present and cannot be eliminated completely, even with preventative measures. However, some preventative measures can greatly limit the amount of pest control that is needed to maintain a reasonable level of pest protection.

For example, reducing the number of places where pests can breed and hide can significantly reduce their numbers. This can be done by removing debris from the outside of a structure, securing trash containers, and keeping doors closed as much as possible. It’s also a good idea to regularly clean a house or office, wiping surfaces, vacuuming carpets, and using pesticides in the right areas.

A good way to spot potential pest entryways is to perform regular exterior and interior inspections, paying special attention to the foundation, walls, roof, utility lines, and any cracks or holes. If you find one of these, patch it as soon as possible to prevent pests from finding a way inside.

In some situations, eradication may be an acceptable goal. For instance, it might be appropriate to eradicate a foreign pest that is causing economic or environmental harm in its native country before it becomes established. In general, eradication is not a primary goal in outdoor situations, but it may be necessary in some enclosed settings, such as in operating rooms and other sterile areas of health care facilities.


Suppression involves controlling a pest population to prevent it from reaching unacceptable levels. This is typically the goal of most pest management programs. Pests are undesirable organisms that cause disease (pathogens) or damage on ornamental plants, turfgrasses, fruit trees and vegetables. They also threaten the profitability of agricultural production, the integrity of natural ecosystems and human health.

Suppressing a pest can be accomplished through cultural, biological or chemical control methods. Control options will depend on the type of pest, the level of economic damage and the action thresholds that are acceptable to the grower or landowner.

The most common means of achieving pest suppression is through the use of chemicals. However, many producers are seeking alternatives to chemical control. These alternative methods include cultural practices, crop rotation and biological control. Biological control relies on mass-producing and then releasing the pest’s natural enemies to reduce its populations, primarily predatory insects and parasitoids.

Biological control agents are often host-specific, which requires growers to correctly identify the pest species. They can be released directly into the field or placed in other areas where they will find the pests. The method of release varies among the different species, with larger (macro) biological control agents, such as predatory mites and parasitoids, being applied in sachets or cards adhered to the tree leaves and smaller (micro) biocontrol agents being diluted in water and sprayed onto the leaves or soil.

The goal of biological control is to achieve sustainable and cost-effective pest suppression through the integration of biological organisms into a holistic pest management system. The research and development activities conducted by APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) on potential new biological control agents, their establishment and post-release monitoring and evaluation are an important component of this effort.

In addition, PPQ is working to increase the coordination, collaboration and facilitation of biological control activities across the country. This includes working to build the capacity to implement radiation-based techniques, such as Selective Inheritance Technology and sterility insect technology (SIT and ITS), to enhance biological control in order to reduce the need for chemical controls.


Pests interfere with plants by eating or damaging them, and they disrupt balance in the natural environment. They can carry disease or cause harm to humans, pets or livestock (like flies and mosquitoes), destroy crops (like Mediterranean fruit fly, gypsy moth and fire weed) and damage personal items (like bed bugs, cluster flies, wood destroying beetles and mud dauber wasps).

There are many ways to control pests. Many are natural, such as predators and parasites. Others involve introducing chemicals, such as pheromones or juvenile hormones. Yet other methods involve killing the pests with chemicals such as sprays, baits and traps.

A very few pests are very difficult to eradicate, but in most cases eradication is not the goal of pest control. Instead, prevention and suppression are the goals – reducing or eliminating the pests without harming non-target organisms and the environment.

Integrated Pest Management is the approach used by professional pest control companies. Pest control technicians are trained in different methods to get rid of pests while protecting the environment and minimizing human health risks.

The best way to prevent pests is to use non-chemical controls, such as traps, baits and physical barriers. But for those pests that are unavoidable, professionals can provide effective treatments to prevent them from causing damage and posing a threat to humans and their pets.

Pesticides are chemical substances that kill or control pests, such as insects, weeds and fungi. They are used in agriculture to protect crops and in the home to control ants, roaches, fleas and rodents.

When using pesticides, it is important to follow instructions on labels and take precautions when spraying in the home. For example, it is important to remove food and cooking utensils from the area to be treated and to close doors while spraying. It is also advisable to thoroughly clean surfaces before re-entry. Taking these measures can help reduce the amount of spray needed to achieve adequate pest control.


Whether pests are insects, rodents or birds, they can contaminate food and cause damage to buildings. In addition, they can spread diseases and irritate sensitive people, such as those with asthma or allergies. Safe pest control is a team effort, and building owners, managers and maintenance workers must work together with tenants to identify and correct conditions that attract or harbor them.

If other methods of pest control fail, treatment may involve the use of chemicals to kill or repel them. Pesticides should be used as a last resort and only by qualified, trained professionals. They should always be applied to targeted areas and carefully monitored and reapplied as directed on the label to achieve effective, long-term pest management.

Some types of pests are best controlled by eliminating their food, water and shelter sources. For example, flies are often attracted to food waste and discarded garbage, while moths tend to nest in dark clothing and linen closets.

The type of pesticide required depends on the type and severity of infestation. In many cases, baits or traps will eliminate the pests without requiring the use of chemical sprays. Chemical sprays, however, are often needed to kill pests that have already gotten into the living space. This is particularly true when it comes to roaches, spiders and other insects that cannot be trapped using other methods.

When selecting a pest control company, ask how many years the company has been in business and search for customer reviews on the web or social media. A good pest control service will be able to answer your questions and provide detailed information about its services, products and methods.

Aside from avoiding foods, water and shelter sources that attract or harbor pests, you should also remove clutter to make it easier for your Pest Control Professional to access difficult-to-reach areas. Be sure to wear a pair of disposable gloves when handling sprayed surfaces for the first time. This will help to prevent the spread of pesticides to your skin, eyes and mouth.

Before applying a pesticide, your Pest Control Professional will explain the procedure and provide safety instructions. For example, you should be told if the treatment area needs to stay clean and whether or not you can cook, eat or store food in the room. You should also be informed of any precautions you should take with pets, children and elderly residents.

The Different Types of Pest Control

The first step is to reduce pest food and water sources. Clean garbage regularly and keep it well away from the house. Keep bird feeders and baths away from the house, and avoid attracting rodents with uncovered compost piles.

Moisture also draws a number of pests: termites feed in damp wood, and cockroaches breed in moisture. Eliminate standing water and fix leaky plumbing. Contact Kansas City Pest Control now!

Chemicals are used in pest control to kill, repel, or otherwise disrupt the growth of plants and animals that are considered a nuisance or harmful. They can be natural or synthetic and are usually designed to target a specific type of pest. Pest control chemicals can be applied directly to a pest or they can be sprayed into an area where the pests are located. Most pest control chemicals are fairly safe when used according to the label, but some may have higher toxicity levels than others and should be treated with caution.

The most common chemicals used in pest control include pyrethrins, pyrethroids, malathion, fipronil, and bacillus thuringiensis (BT). Pyrethrins are natural insecticides that are derived from varieties of chrysanthemum and act as a deterrent by attacking the nervous system of insects and paralyzing them. Pyrethroids are synthetic versions of pyrethrins and are used to treat mosquitoes, flies, fleas on pets, and many other pests. Malathion is an organophosphate insecticide that is a commonly used treatment for bedbugs, cockroaches, and ants. It attacks the central nervous system of these pests and can cause them to die a slow death. Fipronil, a broad-spectrum pesticide, is similar to boric acid in that it attacks the nervous system of many pests and can be found in granules, liquids, or powders.

These pesticides act by blocking the neurotransmitter GABA at the neuromuscular junction, causing the pest to become paralyzed and unable to function normally. Depending on the type of chemical, these pesticides can also destroy enzymes necessary for cell production or block the endocrine system to cause narcosis and death.

Pheromones are also used in pest control to manipulate the behavior of a pest. Male pests, for example, are often confused by a sticky trap flooded with pheromones that resemble the scent of a female insect they’re looking for. The pheromones confuse them into thinking that a mate is nearby and they unwittingly take the bait. These pesticides can be very effective, especially when used in combination with other methods, but should always be used with caution and according to the label instructions.


Natural enemies, such as predators, parasitoids and pathogens, can be used to suppress or eliminate pest organisms. These practices, called biological control, are based on ecological interactions and do not require the use of non-discriminatory pesticides that can damage crops and non-target organisms. Biological control methods are often less expensive than chemical pesticides and can provide superior environmental benefits. However, biological control requires more careful planning and record keeping than other pest management strategies. Biological controls are usually more effective when implemented as preventive measures to keep pest populations low or to reduce the amount of pesticide required, but they can also be used as remedial treatments once pest levels reach unacceptable thresholds.

Biological control methods involve the release of predators, parasitoids or disease agents into cropping systems to disrupt pest population growth or cause direct mortality. These organisms can be purchased and released commercially (augmentation biological control), or they can be collected from the environment to be introduced into a growing system. Commercially available organisms include specialized lady beetles (Hipppodamia convergens), lacewings, hoverflies, aphids and parasitic flies that attack and kill a variety of insects.

To successfully implement augmentation biological control, growers must understand the life cycles of the target pest and their own natural enemies. In addition, the correct control organism must be selected to avoid damaging or destroying beneficial species that occur naturally in agroecosystems. Many organisms can be found in the field, but others must be collected or reared for a specific pest problem and may need to undergo quarantine before being released.

Successful augmentation biological control depends on the ability of the control organisms to survive and thrive in their new environment. This can be accomplished by providing the proper food source, water and shelter. To increase their survival and performance, these organisms should be introduced as close to the beginning of a pest cycle as possible.

When a pest outbreak occurs, the augmentation technique can be used as a remedial treatment by overtaking a pest with large numbers of predators (inundative release). Recommended releases of the parasitoid Trichogramma for coccinellid control in vegetable or field crops range from 5,000 to 200,000 per acre.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

In IPM, a wide range of preventive and control tactics are used in concert rather than relying solely on chemicals. The goal is to create a balance between plant-feeding organisms and predators, parasites, pathogens and other natural enemies so that pest numbers remain low enough to avoid economic or aesthetic injury. The IPM approach also reduces the use of harmful chemicals and their adverse environmental effects.

The first step in IPM is to monitor and scout for pests on a regular basis, and accurately identify the pest species and their population levels. This step allows the grower or green industry professional to develop an action threshold. If damage reaches an economic or aesthetic level, the next steps are to implement a treatment strategy using one or more of the preventive and biological controls. This includes correcting cultural problems such as plant placement or water and nutrient management, and evaluating the success of treatments.

Biological control agents are typically mass-produced in insectaries, and are usually host-specific to the pest species for which they are intended to provide suppression. When the appropriate agent is found, it can be inoculated into a pest population to reduce its growth rate or inhibit its ability to reproduce. In addition, predators and parasitoids can be introduced to the site to further reduce pest populations.

IPM practices allow growers and green industry professionals to manage the development of weeds, insects and disease organisms in ornamental and turfgrass plantings as well as in residential, commercial and agricultural landscapes and home gardens. This approach is also a popular alternative to traditional or synthetic pesticides, which can have detrimental effects on pollinators and other beneficial organisms. The judicious use of IPM strategies can result in reduced reliance on chemical control methods, flexibility in the usage of personal protective equipment, and an improved reputation for sustainability and environmentally responsible business practices. The use of IPM strategies can also help limit the emergence of resistant pests. For example, the use of Bt bacterium in an IPM program can control caterpillars on vegetables and other crops without negatively impacting other species of plants or animals.


Crawling insect traps can play a crucial role in pest control, serving as early warning systems to let homeowners and businesses know that an infestation is on its way so that the problem can be taken care of quickly. These clever pieces of equipment use different methods to lure, trap, and kill crawling insects. They take advantage of the bugs’ natural tendencies and ways of moving to ensnare them without using toxic chemicals or other methods that could harm people, pets, or plants.

There are a wide variety of trapping devices, some of which involve bait, visual lures, chemical attractants, and even pheromones. Traps can be either lethal or non-lethal, depending on what the trap is designed to catch and how it is set up. A lethal trap may close on the head or torso of an animal, while a non-lethal trap may have low-voltage electrical lines inside that give a bug or other pest a painless shock when they come into contact with them.

The most common type of trap is a sticky trap. Glue traps have an adhesive surface that effectively immobilizes insects as they try to walk on or fly near it. Other types of traps include snare-style traps that ensnare animals when they walk through them, and passive traps that don’t have any lure but simply intercept insects as they pass by. Other traps are mechanical, using things like hurdles or trapdoors to block an animal’s path. Still others are electric, using low-voltage lines to give bugs a painless shock when they touch them.

Regardless of what kind of trap is used, the person setting up or examining the device must make sure to follow best practices. This means using the smallest trap possible to catch an animal, to reduce the chance of unwanted or harmful catches (like larger cats or dogs). It also means recording environmental conditions – things like sunlight, wind speed, and precipitation – so that the trap isn’t placed in an area where the animal might get injured by exposure to these factors. Welfare standards for trapped animals may also be a consideration, with some types of traps (especially non-lethal ones) subject to strict animal welfare laws.

The Basics of Pest Management

Pests are organisms that harm desirable plants in our landscapes and fields, or damage homes, crops, or wildland or natural areas. They may also transmit diseases to people or animals.

Pest control methods include mechanical, cultural, biological, and chemical management. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) uses all these tools and strategies to reduce economic and environmental risk from pests. For more information, click the link provided to proceed.

The goal of IPM is to manage pests rather than eradicating them. This is done by monitoring and scouting to determine the type of pest, its population levels and environmental conditions to assess whether any action is required. IPM programs use a variety of treatment strategies including mechanical, cultural, biological and chemical controls. These can be used individually or in combination.

IPM takes a long-term view of the garden and considers all of the organisms in it: the plants, pests and beneficials. It recognizes that not all organisms need control and often those that do require more tolerance than is typically given. For example, a clover growing in the lawn is viewed as a nuisance by many, but as a legume it provides nitrogen to the soil and its flowers attract pollinators. The woodpecker drilling holes in the trunk of a peach tree may be considered a pest, but it is removing insects that could do much more damage to the fruit.

To avoid unnecessary pesticide treatments, monitoring and scouting must be conducted regularly. This is especially important when using preventive methods. The goal is to identify pests early, before the population becomes so high that economic damage or aesthetic injury occurs and action is needed.

An action threshold is set and when it has been reached, the proper control method is implemented. The less risky pest control methods are employed first, with more toxic pesticides being used only when the lesser risky controls do not provide adequate results.

IPM is an excellent way to reduce the reliance on synthetic pesticides, and it works! It will never eliminate all pest problems but with a comprehensive plan, pests are more likely to be controlled before damage occurs.

The District of Columbia Pesticide Education and Control Act of 2012 requires that all District Agency, District owned and occupied properties, Schools and Child Occupied Facilities have an IPM program in place before any applications of pesticides are made. Contact us for information on putting an IPM plan in place at your site.

Pest Identification

Identifying the pests that invade your facility is an important step in developing a plan for control. In addition to the direct damage they cause, many pests also carry diseases in their fur, droppings, saliva or feet that can have negative health implications for humans who come into contact with them. This can be particularly harmful in a workplace where food is prepared and served, such as a restaurant or an event venue.

To identify a pest, start by examining its physical appearance. Many pests have distinguishing features, such as color, size, the number of legs or antennae and markings. You can also look up photos of the pest to determine its species. If you cannot tell which type of pest you are dealing with from its color alone, try counting its legs. Insects have six legs while arachnids, such as spiders and mites, have eight or more. The pest’s body may also be segmented, with the head, thorax or abdomen, or it might be tubular.

Another way to identify a pest is to examine its eggs. Different species of insects lay different kinds of eggs, and it’s important to be able to distinguish between the eggs so that you can select an appropriate insecticide. Insects must also be identified to order, since biological insecticides like Bacillus thuringiensis have specific activity against certain orders of insects, but not others.

Pests that cause damage are usually easy to identify, but non-living causes of plant disease and damage can sometimes be mistaken for pests. For example, the same kind of damage to a lawn from millipedes or green June beetle grubs may also be caused by soil conditions, air pollution, excess fertilization and watering or mowing too closely.

The last important step in identifying pests is to compare the pest you are seeing to known examples. Look for online photo collections and reputable insect identification guides to ensure that you are able to positively identify the pest in question. If you are still unsure, consult with a pest management professional. They will be able to provide you with more accurate information about the pest and the best methods for its removal without using harmful chemicals.

Pest Monitoring

Identifying pests and their damage is the first step in effectively managing them. Inspect regularly for both pests and their signs such as droppings, feces, frass (excrement), shells, and scurrying behavior. Using a magnifying glass and a flashlight can aid in locating harborage areas where pests live or seek shelter. Inspectors should also be equipped with a tool that allows them to reach behind and beneath equipment for inspection such as an extendable mirror or telescoping handle.

Define Pest Management Objectives

Clearly defined objectives help to guide the choice and application of pest control methods. They should consider the environmental factors that limit or encourage pest populations, as well as cost, safety, and social and economic consequences of control measures. Having clearly defined pest management objectives helps reduce overuse of chemical controls.

Conduct Regular Monitoring

Structural pests, including weeds, insects, and rodents can cause a variety of problems in agricultural settings as well as in commercial buildings, schools, hospitals, public health facilities, housing, and public and private landscapes. Integrated pest management strategies apply to all of these environments.

Managing structural pests requires a combination of physical, mechanical, and biological control techniques. Physical controls include the use of screens, caulking, and plastering to exclude pests from entry points or to make it difficult for them to move around a site. Biological control involves the introduction of natural enemies or pathogenic microorganisms that injure or consume pests or cause diseases that reduce their population sizes. Chemical control uses natural or synthetic chemicals to kill pests and can be used in combination with other control methods, as needed.

Performing regular monitoring and inspecting for pests can help prevent them from reaching critical levels and necessitating the use of more aggressive controls such as the spraying of toxic chemicals. The use of monitoring and scouting can also provide important information on the effectiveness of control methods, such as their timing, dosages, and application rates. This information can be used to evaluate and refine pest control practices, reducing the dependence on chemical treatments while providing effective pest control.

Pest Control

Pests are a nuisance when they invade our homes and business environments, especially in places like food preparation areas or retail facilities. They can contaminate food or make asthma and allergies worse, as well as damage property. Pest control is a service that eliminates or manages unwanted creatures, such as rodents, cockroaches, ants and bed bugs.

Integrated pest management uses methods to prevent or reduce pests without harming humans, pets or beneficial insects. It starts with monitoring pest populations, then identifies the most likely cause of the problem and selects control measures accordingly. Control measures can include cultural, physical or chemical means of eliminating or repelling pests. Depending on the type of pest, some controls may be more effective than others. Generally, the least toxic options are preferred.

Physical pest control involves trapping and killing or removing the pests from the environment. It can also include putting up barriers and ‘pest proofing’ premises to stop them returning or entering in the first place. These types of controls can be very effective if used appropriately, but they are best used in conjunction with other forms of pest control.

Chemical pesticides are one of the most common forms of pest control. They can be in the form of aerosol sprays, dusts or baits and work by targeting specific pest species, disrupting their nervous systems and either killing them or preventing them from reproducing. Ideally, these chemicals should only be used by trained professionals in order to minimise the risks to human health and the environment.

It is important to remember that even if a pest is considered a nuisance, it does have an important part in the ecosystem it inhabits and removing the pest would not be good for this ecosystem. A more holistic approach is to understand how the pest fits into the bigger picture and try to find a balance that makes everyone happy. In this way, we can all enjoy the beauty of the outdoors without destroying it. If a pest is seriously causing problems, however, it may be necessary to remove it completely.

Certified Pest Control Technician: Safeguarding Your Home from Unwanted Guests

Many homeowners think of pest control as aggressively spraying chemicals in their home. Others envision walking into a room that was recently treated and seeing dead cockroaches belly-up on the floor.

However, the most effective method of pest control is to prevent the problem in the first place. This is why keeping up with general maintenance, promptly removing trash and clearing away food sources is so important. For more information, click the Nature Shield Pest Solutions to proceed.

A pest control problem begins with preventing the pest from entering the home in the first place. This includes making sure windows and doors are closed and sealed, and using screens in all open windows. It also means removing trash on a regular basis and using trash cans with tight-fitting lids. It is also important to keep wood piles away from the house, and to trim back shrubs and tree limbs that may touch the house.

Some pests are attracted to food or water sources and can be controlled simply by removing or modifying these resources. For example, rodents can be deterred by eliminating food and water sources around the house by closing up crawl spaces, putting a cap on the chimney, and storing firewood properly. In addition, keeping the outside of the house free of clutter will reduce rodent hiding places and allow for easy inspection. Similarly, bird feeders should be placed as far away from the house as possible to prevent the attraction of other pests.

Other factors that affect pest populations include climate, natural enemies, and barriers to their movement. Sometimes, these factors can be manipulated to help control the pests, such as by releasing more of a pest’s natural enemies or by altering their behavior. This can be done through scouting, the use of traps or baits that attract and kill the pests, or by using pheromones that interfere with the development of the pests.

If non-toxic controls fail to stop a pest infestation, then there are many types of chemical and biological control agents available. Choose an agent that is effective against the pest and least likely to harm people and pets. Apply the agent correctly, and observe local, state and federal laws regarding the use of pesticides.

The goal is to eliminate the pests and their eggs before they can reproduce. The first step in this process is identifying pests, and this can be accomplished by following the steps listed above. It is also helpful to understand the life cycle of the pest, and to know what conditions are necessary for a particular pest to reproduce. This information will help to select the best control methods, which are based on the pest’s life cycle and its tolerance to certain chemicals or conditions.


Pests can cause a lot of damage and disrupt normal operations. They can destroy crops and plants, infest homes and businesses and create health risks for people and pets. They can also contaminate food, cause fires and spread diseases.

Preventing pest problems before they start is best, but sometimes even the most vigilant can have a problem. In these situations, controlling the pest population should be the goal. This can be done by using a variety of methods depending on the situation and the type of pest. The aim is to reduce the numbers of the pest to an acceptable level, with minimal harm to non-target organisms. The goals of preventive and suppression management are often mutually supportive, especially when used together as part of an integrated pest management (IPM) program.

Thresholds based on esthetic, environmental or economic considerations have been established for many pest species. These are called action thresholds and indicate the levels at which a pest should be controlled for the best outcome. For example, rodents in homes and businesses are considered a pest and need to be controlled before they do unacceptable damage. Other species such as aphids are considered pests in agricultural settings but can be tolerated at lower populations for reasons such as the benefit they provide to crop plants.

Pest control methods may include mechanical, cultural and biological controls. These can be supplemented with chemical controls if the situation warrants it. Chemical controls are not recommended in sensitive environments, such as schools and hospitals, where the use of broad spectrum pesticides can have harmful consequences.

Eradication is the last resort when preventive and suppression efforts fail to control a pest population. This is most common in confined environments such as buildings and citrus groves, but can be implemented in open outdoor environments too. Eradication is achieved through removing or killing the pest and preventing it from reestablishing itself.

Sanitation practices help to prevent and suppress some pests, by reducing their food sources and places of shelter. In industrial settings, good sanitation includes maintaining clean equipment and facilities, and removing trash on a regular basis. In agriculture, good sanitation includes planting pest-free seeds and transplants and removing crop residues between harvests to reduce carryover of pests. In addition, implementing good manure management practices can reduce the amount of fertilizer needed and improve soil quality.


The word eradicate comes from the Latin root eradicare, which means “to pull up by the roots.” It originally meant to uproot something like a plant, but over time it came to be used metaphorically to describe eradicating a problem the way one might yank out a weed. This is the same idea behind pest control, which seeks to remove pests and prevent them from causing damage. It may involve physical methods, such as traps and barriers, or chemical methods, including pesticides.

Eradication is a goal of many pest control programs, but it is extremely difficult to achieve. For a disease to be eradicated, it must be eliminated from all known reservoirs. This is a challenging goal, as it requires a large and coordinated effort at the community, regional, national, and international levels. It also requires highly effective intervention tools, which are designed to detect the presence of the organism and to interrupt its transmission.

Some pests can be prevented by simply cleaning up a house or yard. This includes removing food and waste materials, making sure that windows and doors are closed and sealed, and maintaining the proper level of moisture. Another important step is to keep storage areas clean. Closets, sheds, and other unused spaces are ideal places for pests to hide and nest. It is also helpful to keep plants and woodpiles away from the house, as these are attractants for insects and rodents.

There are several different types of chemical pesticides that can be used to control infestations, but they should all be applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It is especially important to read and follow all label directions, and never mix chemicals or apply them more than the recommended amount. Also, make sure that any leftover pesticides are properly disposed of.

Pest control also involves educating people to take a proactive role in controlling pests. For instance, educating the public to be careful in picking up rocks and sticks from yards and parks can help reduce the number of ant and grasshopper colonies that are accidentally transported into homes. In addition, educating the public to be careful around wild animals and to wear protective clothing when gardening or hiking can also help prevent pests from being carried indoors.


Monitoring is a key step in any pest control program. It includes scouting for pests, recording the number of pests found and measuring damage caused by those pests. Monitoring also involves evaluating and adjusting a pest control strategy as needed.

Pests are best kept under control when their populations are kept in check by natural enemies, environmental conditions or other factors. Monitoring allows you to determine when these conditions have deteriorated and prompts action to prevent unacceptable pest numbers or damage.

Often pests are attracted to food or other sources of nutrients in the environment. Physical exclusion involves keeping garbage receptacles tightly closed, sealing cracks or other entry points into structures and using screening over windows or doors to prevent pests from entering a building.

Sanitation consists of keeping food storage areas, waste receptacles and other potential food or harborage sites clean. This includes sanitizing equipment, washing floors and scrubbing counter tops. Physical exclusion can also include installing screens on vent openings and using wire mesh to prevent insects from accessing areas of a structure where they are not wanted.

A flashlight is a critical tool for monitoring, especially when looking behind or underneath equipment. This is where most pests are harborage and can be hard to find. A magnifying glass is also a useful tool for examining traps, bait stations and other trapping devices. Many trapping devices are designed to be a pest control tool as well as a monitor, such as traps with specialized shapes that exploit the behavior of specific pest groups or lures such as pheromones that mimic those used by a particular species of insect.

Monitoring can include sampling for a variety of pests, from fly and mosquitoes to slugs and snails. This can be done using visual inspection, sticky traps or a variety of other methods. Monitoring can also be accomplished by examining pest scats, which provide valuable information about the diet and disease status of pest animals.

Evaluating a pest management program is just as important as developing the program in the first place. If a pest problem persists despite the implementation of an integrated pest management (IPM) program, it is likely that operational circumstances have changed and the program needs to be adjusted.