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Steps in Pest Control

Pests such as flies, fleas and rodents can contaminate food and damage property, while also spreading diseases. They can also chew through wires and destroy insulation in homes and commercial buildings.

The first step in pest control is to prevent them from entering the building or garden. This includes keeping garbage in closed containers and removing weeds and other debris regularly. Contact Pest Control Fort Worth TX now!

Pest Control 101 - Utah Pest Control

Many factors can affect pest populations. These include weather conditions, natural enemies, the availability of food and water, shelter, and space.

Pests can cause significant damage to buildings, equipment and products, as well as people and pets. They can also spread diseases, such as salmonellosis, and contaminate food supplies. In addition, they can destroy plant life and pollute the environment.

Preventive pest control is the most effective way to minimize the presence of unwelcome invaders. This approach involves identifying and eliminating conditions that support pests, such as removing food, water, or shelter sources, improving sanitation practices, and sealing cracks in walls and foundations.

When you practice preventive pest control, you can reduce or even eliminate the need for pesticides and other chemicals in your home. This can save you time, money, and stress. It is a great way to protect your family, your pets, and your plants.

Regularly inspect your home and business for signs of pests. Inspect your outdoor areas as well, including securing trash cans, keeping branches and debris away from homes and businesses, and fixing any leaky pipes or faucets. Clean kitchen counters, floors and tables regularly to remove crumbs and other potential attractants. Place garbage in containers with tight lids, and use odor-blocking trash bags. Wash and sanitize any items that touch the outside, such as towels, bedding, mattresses, pillows and rugs, to keep them free from fleas and bedbugs.

A pest problem is considered controlled when it causes less damage than you are willing to tolerate, so that the pests do not impact your enjoyment of your home or work environment. A good pest control program includes prevention, suppression and eradication to protect your property. Prevention is the best form of pest control, and it requires constant attention and diligence.

Suppression

The second step in pest control is suppression, reducing a pest population to an acceptable level. This is accomplished by applying one of a number of techniques that may include crop rotation, plow-down of infested soil, cultivation, weed removal and greenhouse cleaning to deprive pests of a comfortable habitat or prevent their movement. Chemical insecticides and plant pathogens also provide useful tools in pest control.

Natural enemies, which are predators, parasites and competitors, play an important role in suppressing pests. These living organisms often are adapted to the environment where they live, and their numbers fluctuate with the density of their prey. Therefore, they are not a reliable method for completely controlling a pest problem. Biological control is most often used for invasive pests that threaten crops and natural areas. The classic biological control approach involves the importation and release of new species of natural enemies to suppress pest populations in a crop or natural area where they are not native.

There is a certain time lag between the increase in a natural enemy population and the reduction in the pest population. However, if enough of the population is destroyed or rendered sterile, it can eliminate a pest. This is called eradication, and it usually is not possible without direct human intervention.

The use of resistant varieties of crops, wood and animals, and the management of water to prevent wet, highly humid conditions that encourage disease pests, can all help keep the numbers of some pests below damaging levels. Some natural enemies, such as weaver ants, can be introduced into citrus groves to provide natural pest control.

Other methods for managing pests are mechanical, chemical and genetic controls. UF/IFAS Extension agents can help you evaluate the benefits and risks of each strategy, choose a suitable tactic or combination of tactics, and use it correctly. In addition, you should follow local, State and Federal regulations that apply to your operations. It is best to apply prevention and suppression tactics in an integrated manner, combining them with eradication methods when necessary. Integrated pest management (IPM) seeks to achieve desired results with the least harm to people and the environment.

Monitoring

Monitoring is the first step in a proactive pest control program. It allows you to collect data on pest activity, which can then be used to help determine if any action needs to be taken. It also helps you to track the effectiveness of your control efforts.

The aim of monitoring is to determine when a pest population exceeds an acceptable level and requires control. This threshold level may be based on esthetic, health or economic considerations. Thresholds may be set for continuous pests such as roaches and rodents in homes or for specific facilities, such as operating rooms and sterile areas of health care, food processing or food storage facilities, where zero tolerance is the norm.

In pest control, monitoring may involve trapping or scouting. Traps are designed to capture or kill specific pests while scouting involves searching for and identifying pests and the damage they cause. Monitoring for insect, insect-like and mollusk pests is usually done by trapping; for weed and vertebrate pests, visual inspection is the method of choice.

Ideally, IPM programs include monitoring for both the types and numbers of pests that need to be controlled. This information is critical in determining the most effective and cost-efficient control strategy for a particular situation.

For greenhouses, maps of the facility should be maintained showing where benches, sticky traps and indicator plants are located. This map can be referenced when scouting and can help identify any problem areas that need to be addressed.

Pest image monitoring is a new method of detecting and warning of pest outbreaks. The method combines the traditional warning methods with pest identification and forecasting models. Although it is a promising method, further multi-season verification testing will be needed before it can be fully adopted.

In warehouses and food processing plants, a variety of monitoring methods can be implemented. For example, fly light traps can be inspected on a weekly basis during warmer months to monitor for pests entering the facility. In cooler months, the frequency can be reduced to monthly as flying insects are less active.

Identification

Identifying pests is the first step in any IPM program. It removes the possibility that unnecessary control measures will be taken or that an inappropriate treatment plan will be implemented. It also ensures that pesticides are used as intended and not abused. In some cases, pest identification is required to determine the appropriate type of pesticide to use. For example, the biological insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis works only against caterpillars of certain orders; identification to order is necessary to ensure that this product is used for the correct pest.

Proper pest identification also helps us better understand the life cycle of a particular pest and when it is most susceptible to control. This information can be important for predicting when pests will reach damaging levels and for developing preventative pest management strategies. In addition, accurate identification can help to distinguish between continuous pests, sporadic pests and potential pests (discussed below).

Because many insects look similar as they go through various stages in their life cycles, it is essential to accurately identify a pest before taking any action. For this reason, scouting should be done regularly. A scouting notebook or digital photo album is very helpful in keeping track of pests and their behavior. Scouting records can also be consulted to predict when key pests and beneficial organisms will be present, and which crops or plants will be most affected.

Identification can be challenging because of the many physical characteristics that must be considered when identifying an insect, such as shape of antennae, number of legs, length and color. Many IPM programs provide scouting and identification guides that are available for purchase or free of charge. Additionally, many online resources are also available; however, it is recommended that two or three sources be used to confirm an identification before applying any pest control.

Some pests damage crops and plants by chewing or sucking tissue. Others spread diseases between plants or from infected to healthy plants. Most crop plants are host to several species of pests at different times of the year or under specific environmental conditions. Identifying a pest can often be accomplished by simply looking at it or taking a close-up picture. In some instances, a specimen needs to be brought to a laboratory for more extensive testing and analysis, which may require specialized tools or procedures.