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The Basics of Pest Control

Pest control involves managing the presence of pests to reduce their damage and risk to humans and property. This can be achieved by prevention, suppression or eradication.

Chemical treatments are one of the most common methods for controlling pests, but they should be used carefully and only when necessary. Pesticides can cause health problems or harm the environment when not used correctly or in combination with other controls. Contact Exceed Pest Control now!

There are many preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the number of pests in a home or business. For example, a homeowner can use screens in their windows and keep exterior doors shut. They can also perform regular interior and exterior inspections to look for cracks, gaps, and openings that could allow pests into the home. When found, they can be patched or filled to stop pests from entering.

Other preventative measures include storing food in sealed containers and properly removing trash from the property on a regular basis. Regular cleaning of counters, shelves and drawers will remove crumbs that attract pests. Keeping garbage cans closed and moving them to the curb for trash pickup on a scheduled basis prevents pests from getting access to old food scraps. Drains should be cleaned regularly to avoid the buildup of odors and food particles that can attract insects.

Businesses should follow a strict sanitation schedule and perform regular, thorough inspections to ensure that pests do not gain access to food production areas. Performing these inspections and taking corrective action based on findings in traps, pheromone monitors or other monitoring equipment can help to limit the need for more aggressive treatments.

The landscape of a business or residence should be kept free from wood piles, brush and debris that provide rodents, birds, squirrels and other pests with places to hide. Trimming shrubs and removing limbs that hang over the roofline can also limit pest entry into the home or business.

Pest Identification

Whether the pest is an insect, weed, disease or microbe, correct identification makes managing it much easier and less expensive. Many pests look different at different stages in their life cycle, and many species undergo significant changes during the larval or immature phases. Taking the time to identify pests accurately can help you develop management tactics that target the specific pest stage and prevent the development of resistance.

Keeping a file of labelled digital images can help you to easily compare the current pest with the reference image, which may include its size, color, antennae, body segmentation and other distinctive features. You can also check the pest’s habitat to determine the conditions that favor its development and other important information. Observing the environment around your customer’s home can also give you clues to preventing infestations. For example, removing leaf debris from a home’s yard, placing tight screens over windows and caulking cracks can all reduce the attractiveness of a home to mosquitoes.

When pests invade a home, they usually seek out warm, moist places to lay their eggs or hide from predators. Scouting and monitoring can help you to find these locations, which can be as simple as walking around a customer’s home on a regular basis, checking under leaves, along the foundation or at bait stations for signs of pest activity. Keeping notes on a pest’s activities can help you to determine the best prevention methods, which may include sealing an access point or using a trap.

If you are unsure of what you’re seeing, contact a professional pest control expert. Most of them will be happy to provide assistance with identifying pests, especially if you can email them photos. You can also ask your local County Extension Office or a university entomology department for help with identification.

Once you know what kind of pest is invading a property, an integrated pest management (IPM) expert can develop a plan to eradicate it and keep it from returning. The plan may include preventative measures, such as reducing the number of food sources by reorganizing the kitchen or clearing clutter; physical treatment, including installing tight screens on windows and caulking cracks; or chemical treatments.

Chemical Treatments

Chemical treatments are a quick solution to pest infestations and are often effective. They can include a wide variety of solutions that use chemicals to kill or repel pests, from pyrethroid sprays to rodenticides and insect growth regulators. The key to chemical pest control is to always read and follow the product instructions carefully and never apply more than the recommended amount. Most chemical pesticides are toxic to humans and the environment, so they should be used sparingly and with extreme caution.

Pesticides are often applied in the form of sprays, dusts or granules. They contain active ingredients that are lethal to harmful pests and may also be used to protect crops and gardens from diseases caused by viruses or fungi. Pesticides can be synthetic or naturally derived. Some common chemical pesticides include pyrethroids, carbamates, organophosphates and neonicotinoids.

Among these, the most popular are the neonicotinoid class of pesticides. These are relatively new chemical pesticides that mimic nicotine (the addictive substance in tobacco) to be highly attractive to bees, which then carry the pesticides to other plants and insects. Neonicotinoids are commonly used in residential and commercial pest control as well as in agriculture. They are especially useful for control of mites, nematodes and beetles, but they can also be effective against certain plant diseases such as brown rot, mildew and powdery mildew.

Other pesticides include rodenticides, which are designed to eliminate mice and rats, and herbicides, which are designed to kill weeds. Rodenticides work by interfering with blood clotting, causing internal hemorrhaging, while herbicides kill by disrupting cell membranes.

Another popular chemical pesticide is nematicide, which is sprayed on soil to kill nematodes that parasitize and feed upon plants. However, nematicides can also harm humans and other animals if ingested or touched.

A popular alternative to chemical treatments is natural pest control. These can involve using animals, plants or organic compounds to keep pests away from homes and businesses. They are often cheaper and more environmentally friendly than synthetic chemical solutions. However, they can be less effective and take longer to work.

Termite Treatments

Termites feed on wood lumber, floorboards and carpeting, leaving structural damage behind. If left untreated, these pests can eat their way through a home or office, causing costly repair bills and disruption to daily life. A thorough termite inspection by a qualified pest control expert can help you prevent an infestation and avoid costly repairs.

Several treatment methods are available, including soil treatments, bait systems and tenting. Your termite exterminator will recommend the best solution for your specific situation, based on the type and severity of the infestation. Tenting is often necessary for large termite infestations, and involves sealing the house under tarps and releasing the lethal gas vikane into the space. During the fumigation process, the pests in the house are killed along with their nests. Before tenting, technicians will prep the area by removing food, medication and valuable items.

For localized ground termite infestations, liquid or foam treatments offer a quick and effective option. Liquid barrier treatments contain ingredients like fipronil and imicloprid, which are designed to create a chemical shield around the foundation of the building. Alternatively, dry foam or Orkinfoam expands to fill cracks and crevices, protecting areas that are hard for termites to reach. There are also dust agents that can be applied to wood surfaces in hard-to-reach places, killing termites upon contact.

If you spot the telltale signs of a termite infestation, such as exposed shelter tubes or damaged wood, contact your termite expert right away. Professionals understand the nuances of termite biology and behavior, and can pinpoint the location of the colony with ease. They will also be able to advise you on preventative measures, such as fixing plumbing leaks and making sure wood is not in contact with the ground, to keep future infestations at bay.

For drywood and dampwood termite infestations, bait systems and monitoring can be very effective. The bait systems use cellulose-based attractants to lure the pests in, then releases an insecticide that disrupts the termites’ molting process. This treatment is usually applied to locations at high risk of termite infestation, such as moist soil or mulch, old tree stumps and irrigation sprinkler heads.