Tag: pest control

The Importance of Pest Control in Integrated Pest Management

A pest control vehicle, equipped with holding tanks and racks for tools, is an essential investment. This helps keep your business organized and enhances professionalism when servicing a customer’s home or office.

Pest Control Columbia MO has three goals: prevention, suppression, and eradication. Preventing a pest problem before it occurs is the best way to minimize damage.

Pests are undesirable organisms (insects, bacteria, fungi, nematodes, weeds, viruses or vertebrate animals) that damage crops, lawns, garden plants, food stores, human structures and clothing. They also can displace native plant species and disrupt terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Pests can also cause human health problems, injury or death.

Prevention is the best way to control pests. It involves keeping them out of buildings, yards or other outdoor areas by eliminating their habitat and food sources. It is a vital component of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies, which minimize the use of pesticides and other toxic substances in order to protect human health, property, and natural resources.

Preventing pests is often easier than controlling an infestation that has already occurred. Regular inspections of homes and businesses can identify potential pest entry points such as cracks in walls, loose siding, open roof eaves and utility line openings. These can be repaired with sealants or filler products. Regularly cleaning counter tops, tables and floors can prevent crumbs or food buildup that attracts pests. Using screens in windows and doors can reduce the need for pesticides. Regularly removing garbage from storage or outside trash cans can eliminate pest breeding sites and keep them from accessing indoor areas.

Some physical controls, such as traps, barriers and fences, are effective for both preventing and controlling pests. Devices that alter the environment, such as radiation or heat, can sometimes be used to control pest populations. Creating sanitary conditions in storage and transportation areas can decrease the opportunity for pest infestation, especially when packing or unpacking valuable artifacts for display or storage.

The most common natural method of pest control is parasitism, which uses living organisms to help remove unwanted organisms. Parasites may be insects, birds or other animals that live on or in a pest and obtain their food from it. Fungi and bacteria can also function as parasites, infecting humans or plants and causing disease. Pheromones can also be used to control pests, as they can be used to direct a pest’s behavior towards a certain area or target organism.


The goal of suppression is to reduce pest numbers or damage to an acceptable level with the least disruption to other living organisms and nonliving environments. This can be done with natural, biological, or chemical control tactics. Natural controls include weather conditions that limit pest populations, natural enemies that injure or consume them, cultural practices that change environmental factors needed to support the pest population, and resistant varieties that are less likely to be seriously damaged. Chemical controls include plant growth regulators, fungicides, insecticides, and herbicides.

A few pest species, such as certain viruses and some weeds, can be controlled by using natural enemies that injure or consume them. Many other pests are controlled by predatory animals, birds, amphibians, and fish that prey on them or by parasitic insects or nematodes that infect them. In some cases, pheromones (mimetic signals that female insects send out) can be used to confuse males and prevent mating, reducing pest populations.

Some features of the environment restrict the movement of some pests, such as mountains or large bodies of water. Other factors such as availability of food, water, shelter, and overwintering sites influence pest population sizes. Some pests can be controlled by removing or changing the supply of water they need, and by preventing them from receiving a steady diet of their preferred host plants.

When prevention and suppression aren’t sufficient, regulatory controls are employed to contain or eliminate pest problems that threaten human health or safety, the productivity of agricultural crops or natural resources, or the viability of human enterprises. Regulatory controls can be applied by government agencies, industry groups, commodity or field associations, Cooperative Extension agents, and State land grant universities.

Before applying any control tactic, it’s important to study the pests and their biology, the potential for unintended consequences (e.g., negative effects on native species that are not pests), and the ability of the control method to achieve a sustainable result. This planning helps ensure that the most suitable pesticide is chosen and that it is applied correctly, according to the label instructions and NMSU guidance documents, to minimize risks to human health, beneficial organisms, nontarget species, and the environment. It’s also necessary to plan for pesticide application timing and consider the need for personal protective equipment and pesticide cleanup supplies, as well as to make sure that any site or facility is suitable for the application of the chosen pesticide.


In some cases, a pest becomes so widespread or damaging that its elimination is required. This might be the case with invasive plants, such as Japanese knotweed or the gypsy moth, or infested buildings and sites. Eradication is accomplished by eliminating all individuals of the targeted species in an area to which recolonization is unlikely. This is often accomplished through the use of biological controls (such as parasitic nematodes), physical methods such as trapping, barriers and exclusion, cultural practices, or chemical treatments such as baits, spot treatments, soil solarization, and heat treatment.

The first step in any eradication program is to identify the target species. It is important to understand the life cycle of the pest and know how it interacts with its environment so that the best management techniques can be applied. This will also help in deciding whether to use preventive or suppressive approaches.

Once the pest is identified, a plan can be developed to eliminate it using whichever method is most appropriate. This will involve considering the cost-benefit of eradication and assessing any potential environmental impacts. It is important to remember that eradication is not a permanent solution and that the target species may re-invade areas in which it has been eliminated. For example, screwworm eradication efforts in North America have been largely unsuccessful, and populations of gypsy moths and medflies are still reoccurring in formerly eradicated areas.

Preventive measures can be a very effective way to control pests and reduce the need for pesticides. These include removing sources of food, water and shelter; storing and disposing of garbage in sealed containers; fixing leaky plumbing; and reducing clutter around the home and worksite.

Another preventive measure is to encourage natural enemies of the pest by planting flowering and nectar-producing plants. This will also reduce the need for insecticides that will harm these beneficial insects. If pesticides are used, it is important to always read and follow the label directions. Also, be sure to record the name and EPA registration number of any chemicals used so that you can find out more about them if needed.


In integrated pest management, monitoring is an important first step. Monitoring provides a picture of the level of pests present within a given area and when control action may be needed. It also allows for trend analysis. Monitoring can be done in a number of ways, depending on the pest and the situation. Visual inspection, trapping, pheromone and volatile oil baits are common methods of pest monitoring.

Regularly checking and servicing monitoring devices is an important part of any pest control program. This includes ensuring traps are clean, properly wound or set, and in the case of rodent bait stations, providing fresh bait. In addition, some mechanical traps now have sensors that provide immediate notifications (via text and/or email) if they capture an insect or are moved. This can be very useful in reducing risk by allowing a designated person to repurpose their time spent on routine device checks to more value-add activities.

Using traps to monitor a food processing facility’s environment for pests can be a valuable tool. In general, pests are attracted to food processing environments for the water, food and shelter available. Their presence can lead to physical contamination of foodstuffs by ingested or excreted organisms, chemical contamination from microbial pathogens and intestinal worms carried in the guts, and damage to equipment or structures.

For a variety of reasons, many food producers use a professional service to manage their pest control needs. Pest monitoring is typically included in their contract, along with the frequency and type of pests to be monitored, reporting structures, agreed methods of treatment and warranty and insurance terms.

Depending on the situation, pest monitoring can be as simple as counting insects caught in sticky boards or as complex as a progressive sampling system that declares a certain level of pest infestation as definitely over/under a threshold and then resuming if counts are below or above the threshold respectively. A healthy dose of common sense is necessary when interpreting pest monitoring data as well. For example, catching many early instar German cockroaches in a trap will provide a clear indication that a harborage point is nearby and requires control measures.