Tag: pest exterminators

Pest Control – What Are the Different Types of Pest Control?

Pests are more than just a nuisance. They can damage your home or business and pose health hazards. When you have a pest control problem, it is important to hire a professional company like Pest Control Richardson TX.

Scouting and monitoring help identify pests and determine whether their numbers warrant control. Monitoring also lets you know when it is time to use physical or biological controls.

In a nutshell, IPM is a strategy for managing pests without the use of chemical pesticides. Instead, IPM combines biological, cultural and mechanical methods to achieve control of pests without harming people, property or the environment. Using IPM means monitoring and identifying pests, determining the damage they cause and applying an action plan that includes nonchemical controls to prevent or delay their recurrence. IPM also allows the responsible use of the least toxic and most effective pesticides when necessary.

UC researchers have been working on IPM since the 1940s, and their pioneering work helped us develop better ways to prevent pests from damaging crops in the first place. When used properly, IPM can greatly reduce the need for pesticides in homes and gardens.

A key to IPM is understanding that most species are not pests. Instead, they are an important part of the broader ecosystem. Most pests can be controlled by reducing their conditions, such as by growing plants that are resistant to them or blocking access to food, water and shelter. This can be done by careful scouting, monitoring and accurate identification of pest problems on a regular basis.

If pests do occur, the goal is to suppress their numbers below the economic injury level. This may be done through nonchemical methods such as physical traps, removing plant cover or sealing holes in walls or foundations. The choice of action is based on the severity of the problem, environmental costs, and how desirable it is to avoid the use of harmful chemicals.

Biological IPM techniques often involve the deliberate release of beneficial insects that eat or parasitize pests. For example, spiders help control aphids and thrips in the garden; praying mantis are useful in controlling certain cockroaches; and flies and wasps are important in killing ants, beetles and caterpillars in lawns and gardens.

Physical IPM practices include thinning out plants, keeping them at least 3 feet away from buildings and reducing debris that provides cover for pests. Traps and zappers can also be effective in some situations. IPM programs should be continually reevaluated as landscape plants mature, new plantings are added, and weather changes affect the relationship between plants and pests.


Prevention is an important part of pest control. It is much less expensive than suppression or eradication, and it is generally safer for people, pets, and plants. It also reduces the need for chemical sprays. Prevention involves creating barriers that keep pests out of your yard or home, or it might include installing traps for rodents or insects. It can also involve sanitation, such as improved garbage collection and clean food handling areas. Some pest problems can be prevented by adjusting planting times, avoiding over-fertilizing, and practicing crop rotation.

When the goal is prevention, the threshold for action is low, and scouting and monitoring are used to determine when action should be taken. For example, a few flies visiting a garden don’t warrant control measures; however, if the number of flies increases over time, their presence becomes unacceptable.

Preventive methods of pest control might include modifying planting sites, adding shade or wind breaks, or removing old crops from fields. Some chemicals might be used, but they should be carefully selected and applied. Only approved substances should be used, and they must be kept out of the way of workers or animals. Approved bait boxes should be located away from production and processing areas, and electrical insect control devices should be sited so they don’t interfere with these operations.

Many factors affect pests, including weather, host plants, and predators and parasites. For example, a pest’s population may increase or decrease with the growth of its host plant, and drought or rain can kill or suppress it. Many bird, reptile, amphibian, fish, and mammal species eat or parasitize some pests. In addition, certain fungi or nematodes can help control some pest populations.

Eradication is a rare goal in outdoor pest situations, but it can be accomplished with certain organisms such as Mediterranean fruit flies and gypsy moths. It is also a common goal in some enclosed environments, such as health care, food processing, and school buildings. Eradication can also be an important tool in urban and agricultural pest management programs. For example, eradicating a disease-causing pest such as a bacterium can greatly reduce the chance of its recurrence in an area.


The goal of pest suppression is to reduce the number of pests to a level that is acceptable. It may be accomplished through a combination of short- and long-term tactics such as cultural practices, physical barriers, biological controls and pesticides. These control methods are often effective in reducing the numbers of pests and their damage to crops, but only when they are properly implemented. They must take into account the biology and behavior of the pests, limitations placed on the area where they are occurring, tolerance for injury and economics.

A variety of natural forces affect the populations of pests, which rise and fall based on weather conditions, food availability and growth rates of their host plants. These factors can either facilitate or impede pest management, depending on the situation. For example, disease symptoms can be exacerbated or suppressed by weather conditions such as temperature, day length, wind and rainfall. The presence of other organisms in an environment, both living and nonliving, can also influence the pest population. Birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish and mammals feed on many insect pests and may help to regulate their populations. Similarly, many parasitic insects, nematodes and pathogens can control pest populations.

In addition, physical barriers can be used to prevent pests from entering or leaving a field or greenhouse. For instance, hoop houses, screens and sticky bands can be employed to keep out pests. Crop rotation, plowing and crop residue removal are other types of cultural controls that can be used to deny pests a comfortable habitat or to restrict their movement within the field or structure. Managing irrigation schedules to avoid long periods of wet, highly humid conditions can also deprive disease pests of ideal growing conditions.

Biological pest control involves conserving or releasing natural enemies to prevent the emergence of unwanted species. Examples include beneficial mites that prey on mite pests in orchards, parasitic nematodes that attack harmful soil grubs and wasps that parasitize greenhouse whiteflies. Creating habitats that provide food, water and shelter for these organisms is important. This can be accomplished by providing adjacent crops and plantings that supply nectar, pollen and alternative hosts or by establishing areas of native plant species that provide structural protection for these organisms.


The goal of eradication is to completely eliminate a pest from an area, or at least reduce its population to such a low level that the pest’s damage to the environment, plant, or animal no longer occurs. Eradication is a rare goal in outdoor pest situations, although it is often attempted when a foreign, destructive insect or disease invades a region. Eradication also is more common in enclosed areas such as greenhouses and indoor gardens, where control measures are much easier to carry out.

Biological management relies on predator, parasite, or disease organisms that ordinarily occur in nature to reduce a pest population. For example, the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis releases a toxin that kills caterpillars, and several other formulations of this bacteria are available for managing many other types of insects. This type of management is effective, but it can take some time. The bacterium must be ordered, stored, and delivered before the pest arrives, and there is a lag between the time when the pest becomes abundant and when its population is reduced by the natural enemy.

Parasites are organisms that gain nutrients, water, or other necessities from the body of another organism, called a host, and often have a short life cycle. Viruses, nematodes, fleas, and ticks are examples of parasites. Eradicating a parasite is more challenging than eradicating an insect, because parasites often live in or on the bodies of their hosts.

Chemicals that destroy, repel, or control pests are known as pesticides. Some pesticides affect the growth of plants or remove foliage, while others prevent pests from reproducing or consuming plant material.

Pesticides are the fastest way to control pests, but they can be dangerous and must be used carefully. Pesticide failures often are caused by misidentification or the application of a pesticide at a time when it is not effective.

Accurate pest identification is the first step in successful pest control. If a pest is identified, learn as much about its behavior and life cycle as possible. The commodity or industry organization, Cooperative Extension agent, or State land grant university usually can help with this.