Murdeira Village

The Basics of Pest Control

Pest Control means managing pests, and can include preventing their entrance, suppression of their numbers or even their eradication. Control methods are chosen based on the desired outcome, and the potential risk to human health or environmental quality. Pesticides are often used, but alternatives are available. The use of pesticides should always be minimized, and when they are used, the product label instructions must be followed carefully to reduce the chance of off-target damage.

Many people react to the sight of insects or rodents and think “I need Pest Control!” But before reaching for the can of insecticide, consider if a better alternative exists. Most pest problems can be solved with less toxic options, such as barriers or exclusion techniques. The best approach is prevention. When a pest problem is identified, identify the pest and learn about its life cycle and behavior, so you can anticipate when it will be most active and what conditions are necessary for its survival.

In urban and suburban settings, a natural balance between organisms usually exists, and pest populations build up only when food and shelter are abundant and protection from predators is inadequate. These factors limit their growth, but they may not prevent them from entering buildings or other sites where their presence is undesirable. Pests in these environments can cause economic or aesthetic damage, and they can also introduce disease causing agents (e.g., bacteria like salmonella, streptococcus and shigella).

The most effective way to protect against pests is to deny them food, water and shelter. For example, sealing cracks in the walls and roof, repairing window frames and screens, and removing piles of debris can make a building less attractive to rodents, insects and birds seeking roosts or nesting areas. Keeping trash cans tightly closed and removing trash on a regular basis can keep pests from finding their way into the house.

If prevention fails, then a plan for suppression or eradication should be developed. Suppression means reducing the number of pests to an acceptable level, and eradication is the complete destruction of a pest population. In most cases, the goals of prevention and suppression are combined in a management program.

Remember that pests are often more adaptable than we are, and that it can be difficult — if not impossible — to eradicate them completely. If a Pest Control method fails, it is important to identify the pest correctly and select the proper method to address its resistance or other factors that contribute to its success. Pesticide failures are often due to improper application or a treatment site that is not well selected. It is also important to recognize that some pesticides may harm other organisms, especially non-target species such as birds or bees. It is therefore essential to choose the most appropriate pesticide for the target species, apply it according to the manufacturer’s directions and avoid spilling or dripping chemicals where children or pets might come into contact with them.