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.