Pests cause damage to property and threaten human health. From rats gnawing on wires to spread diseases like hantavirus and salmonella, to cockroaches causing allergies and asthma, the problems pests create can be devastating.

Preventive pest control techniques include eliminating places where pests breed and hide. This can include removing clutter, sealing cracks, and reducing moisture. Contact Pest Control Garland TX now!

Identifying pests is an important first step in developing a good pest control strategy. It allows you to determine basic information about the pest such as its life cycle, habitat requirements and time of occurrence. It also helps you differentiate between continuous pests, sporadic pests and potential pests (e.g., larval and adult beetles that may look very similar). Identification is a critical component of integrated pest management, which relies on the combination of pest monitoring, prevention, suppression and eradication tactics.

Observe the pest and note its characteristics such as shape, size, color, number of legs or wings, and whether it has an antenna. Examine the pest’s damage to host plants and the location of the damage. Also note any other evidence of the pest such as a sticky residue, egg masses, discoloration or holes in the plant tissue. Taking digital images of your pests is a valuable tool for future reference. A labelled file of your samples organized by year, season and crop can help you quickly recall and identify pests in the field.

Then, use a pest identification guide to find out what kind of bug you’re dealing with. If you can’t get an accurate ID, contact a pest control professional to discuss treatment options.

Some pests can be controlled with non-chemical methods. Others require the use of chemicals, which should always be used in a manner that minimizes harm to non-target organisms and surfaces. It is also important to use pesticides only when they are needed, and to use them sparingly, in order to reduce resistance by target species.

It is recommended that pests be identified to species level whenever possible, particularly for key insect pests. This is important because insect species within the same order, genus or family can have very different behavior and interaction with their environment. Likewise, some biological pesticides such as Bacillus thuringiensis are species specific and will only work against a target insect, not its other, closely related cousins. Using them on unidentified insects could result in a failure to control the pests, or injury to beneficial insects and other ecosystem components.

Prevention

Preventative pest control focuses on removing the things that attract them in the first place. This includes things like food, water and shelter. Keep outdoor spaces free of debris, weeds and piles of wood where pests might hide or breed. Indoors, be sure to store food in sealed containers and remove garbage regularly. Make sure to fix leaky plumbing and don’t let water collect anywhere, especially under houseplants or inside the refrigerator. These are all good preventive measures but nothing replaces the sharp eye of a professional pest control specialist who knows exactly what to look for and where.

Threshold-based decision making is the most common practice in pest management. For example, noticing a few wasps at dusk might not be cause for concern but observing them every day during the summer would. A pest control strategy is then implemented based on the level of harm the pests are doing. This often involves scouting and monitoring, to detect pest presence and damage.

Prevention is often the most effective course of action, because it avoids the need for corrective or control measures. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an ecosystem-based approach that integrates several tactics for long-term prevention of pests and their damage, including cultural control techniques such as crop rotation and sanitation; biological controls such as predators, parasites or pathogens; and mechanical control methods such as barriers or traps. Pesticides are used sparingly and only when necessary, and they are carefully selected based on their impact on beneficial and nontarget organisms.

It is important to understand the role that a pest can play in an ecosystem, even though it might seem counterintuitive. For instance, a certain type of plant may be beneficial to a farmer because it competes with weeds for soil nutrients. But the same plant might be considered a nuisance to a homeowner because it takes up too much space in the garden or disrupts the natural balance of nature. Eradication is not often the goal in outdoor pest situations, but it is sometimes attempted for invasive species that threaten agriculture or other environmental interests.

Suppression

Once a pest has established itself in an environment, the goals of control often become suppression and prevention. Ideally, pest populations are kept at a low enough level to not cause unacceptable harm and prevented from building up again to an unmanageable level. Suppression can be achieved by a variety of methods, including physical, biological, and chemical controls.

Physical or mechanical control refers to trapping, screens, barriers, and fences used to prevent pests from entering a site. Altering the amount of light, heat, or water can also be a means of pest control. Chemical controls, such as fungicides and herbicides, are sometimes necessary to prevent the spread of certain pests.

Biological control leverages natural enemies (predators, parasites, pathogens, or competitors) to suppress unwanted plants and pests. This can range from releasing predatory insects to eat aphids to providing increased numbers of beneficial nematodes to reduce root disease. This method often requires a degree of human management because there is a lag between the increase in the number of natural enemies and the corresponding decrease in the number of pests.

Research has shown that a diversity of different natural enemy assemblages can lead to strong pest control, with trophic interactions resulting in null, additive, or antagonistic effects. However, the results of research involving field-scale experiments can be difficult to translate to landscape scales. These experiments need to be replicated, and the life history-related temporal dimension of pest control should be taken into consideration in these efforts.

Integrated pest management (IPM) is an ecosystem-based approach that combines multiple techniques such as habitat manipulation, cultural practices, crop selection, and the use of resistant varieties to manage pests and minimize the need for chemicals. Chemicals are generally only used when monitoring indicates that they are needed according to predetermined guidelines and in a manner that minimizes risks to humans, beneficial organisms, or the environment. This is often the most effective and least expensive method of pest control.

Eradication

Ultimately, the goal of pest control is to eradicate a species or to reduce its population below the threshold at which it becomes economically justifiable to continue controlling it (Breman and Arita 1980). The process of eradication requires that efforts be sustained for a very long time. It also requires that costs and benefits be evaluated on a global scale. Such evaluations involve weighing private versus social net benefits and short-term versus long-term net benefits, as well as local versus international net benefits.

Eradication is a rare goal in outdoor pest situations, and usually only attempted when a foreign plant insect has been accidentally introduced but not yet established (Mediterranean fruit fly, gypsy moth, fire ants). However, it is often the objective of indoor pest control programs. Biological, chemical and physical/mechanical methods may all be used to achieve this objective.

In the case of biological pest control, measures are taken to conserve or enhance a species’ natural enemies, which can limit its growth. This can be done through the importation of natural enemies from a pest’s area of origin to be released in a target region (e.g., vedalia bettles to control cottony cushion scale in California citrus orchards), the application of certain hormones to prevent mating (e.g., releasing large numbers of sterile males to reduce pest numbers), or the use of certain synthetic pheromones (e.g., a manufactured copy of the pheromone that female insects release to attract males).

The physical/mechanical and chemical methods of pest control are generally less likely to be successful at eliminating entire species, but they can still be useful in reducing pest numbers and preventing significant economic damage. When employing these methods, be sure to select a professional pest control company that is properly certified and licensed for the types of chemicals they are using. Ask them for the name and EPA registration number of each product they apply, and always read and follow all label directions.

In addition to the economic damage caused by pests, they can cause serious health problems. For example, rats gnawing on electrical wires can cause circuit breakers to trip and lose power, while cockroaches can spread diseases that require expensive medical care and treatment. Pests can also damage structures by chewing and burrowing into wood, which can result in costly repairs.