Pest control involves removing pests from structures or areas, preventing them from damaging property or posing health risks. Methods of control may include physical exclusion, chemical applications, or biological controls. When choosing a pest control strategy, it is important to consider the type of pest, the environment, and the desired outcome of control. Ideally, a pest control method should be less toxic to people and non-target organisms (plants, animals, and soil).
The first step in pest control is prevention. There are several ways to prevent pests from entering the home or business:
Look under, around, and on top of everything to find where pests hide. Many pests enter through small cracks and crevices. Look for these areas around doors and windows, under eaves, behind siding, and in attics or basements. Sealing these areas with caulk, copper mesh, coarse steel wool, or mortar will keep pests out.
Preventing pests from obtaining food, water, or shelter will also deter them. Store food in tightly closed containers, and remove garbage on a regular basis. Fix leaky pipes, and clean up standing water in the yard or around the house to prevent mosquitoes, gnats, and other pests from breeding.
Some pests, such as certain spiders and ants, carry pathogens that can cause human disease. Others, such as cockroaches and rats, spread waste products throughout the home, contaminating food and creating unsanitary conditions. In these cases, pest control is necessary to protect the health and well being of humans and pets.
There are three basic goals of pest control: prevention, suppression pest control astoria ny, and eradication. Prevention is the most desirable goal, as it allows for a greater degree of freedom from pests than any other control technique. In outdoor settings, prevention is usually achieved by regularly scouting and monitoring for pests, and controlling them before they cause damage. Suppression is the goal of reducing the number of pests to an acceptable level through regular treatment, and causing as little harm as possible to other plants and animals in the area.
Eradication is rarely attempted in outdoor settings, but it is a viable option when it is possible, as in the case of certain invasive plant species or the Mediterranean fruit fly. In enclosed spaces, such as homes, offices, schools, and hospitals, eradication is often the only feasible option.
Biological pest control uses living organisms, such as predators and parasites, to control unwanted pests without harmful chemicals or radiation. It is effective for both sporadic and continuous pests, and can be used in addition to or instead of chemical treatments. Examples of biological pest control include planting flowers that attract natural predators of mosquitoes; placing sticky traps in prone areas for cockroaches; spraying vinegar solutions on ant trails; or spreading diatomaceous earth around entry points to repel ants. This method of pest control is also more environmentally friendly than chemical treatments, and does not leave harmful residues in the environment after application. It is also safe for beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies that pollinate our crops.