As long as there have been pests, people have been trying to get rid of them. Various types of pest control date back centuries when pests were an issue for farmers. They used to alter their planting dates, or use oil sprays to control pests in the middle ages. Some farmers even planted arsenic to the roots of rice paddies to prevent insects.
The first commercial spraying machine was made in the 1800s. Today, pest control has evolved into a complicated and complex science. Today’s pests reach beyond crops and attack food, furniture, carpets and use people as a food source, as well. There are several ways to rid your home or business of pests and knowing each kind can better equip you to deal with these intruders.
Physical Pest Control
Physical Pest Control is actually creating a physical barrier so the pests can’t get in and cause more disruption.
This type of pest control can include fences, netting, and fire for crops. It can also include things like using cats as a means of preventing mice and even setting up simple fly traps or window screens.
Physical Pest Control doesn’t use any type of chemicals. It is simply getting rid of insects by killing, removing, or setting up barriers that prevent destruction or intrusion. Listed below are just a few of the most popular Physical Pest Control methods that have been used for generations.
For crops, row covers keep insects out of the plants. These are the most popular for horticultural crops, like fruits, vegetables, and flowers. They are made out of either plastic or polyester and are thin enough to allow light, water, and air to the plants while keeping dangerous insects out.
For homes, garages, and sheds, sticky flypaper can be used almost anywhere. This basic pest control barrier is purchased at a home improvement or hardware store and simply hung from the ceiling. Flies are attracted to the sweet scent and then get stuck on the paper and caught for good. Once the paper is full, it’s discarded and replaced with a new sheet.
Ultraviolet light can be used to attract bugs, where they then are met by a high voltage, electrical grid. As the bugs try to get closer to the light, they are caught between the grids and electrocuted, causing them to die instantly.
Similar to flypaper, glue boards are used to capture insects as they land on the surface. This simple trap is covered in a substance that attracts the insects and captures them in one place. Bugs and insects that get caught on glue boards eventually die of starvation.
There are almost as many traps as there are insects. Spring traps, trap kits, lures, and other types of traps can be an effective physical pest control method. Some farmers even create trap strips, which are strips of crops intentionally left untreated so they will attract the bugs and allow the rest of the crop to thrive.
Biological Pest Control
This type of pest control method strategically uses other organisms to control the population of pests. Using cats to control the mice population is one of the most common examples of Biological Pest Control. Because of the circle of life, all pests have a natural enemy. The key to successful Biological Pest Control is to understand the pest you’re dealing with, in order to use its natural predators against it.
Biological Pest Control tends to work best in areas where large-scale pest management is needed and traps or pesticides won’t be effective. These include areas like large farms and bodies of water. There are three broad and somewhat overlapping types of Biological Pest Control. These all focus on the use of natural enemies in distinct ways.
Making a conscious effort to conserve and protect predators of the pest that’s giving you problems is the first step in Biological Pest Control. Every animal and organism plays its part. Without some valuable bugs and beetles, other insects and pests get out of hand quickly. When making pest control decisions, these natural enemies must be conserved and considered. This biological method is the easiest and probably the most important practice to growers.
Introducing needed natural enemies is classic Biological Pest Control, also referred to as Importation. For this method, a natural enemy is imported, and released to control a specific pest in a specific area (i.e. cats for mice). This method is usually practiced against native insect pests. It can take some time to determine the origin of the pest and then collect the right enemies. However, classic Importation is long-lasting and relatively inexpensive. When a natural enemy is successfully established, it continues to kill the pest with no direct help from humans and at no cost.
This method also uses the balance between prey and predator, but instead of importing a new enemy, it simply enhances the number of natural enemies that already exist. This can be done by releasing thousands or millions at a time or modifying the cropping season to take advantage of a natural increase in enemy insects.
Cultural Pest Control
Using this method, you can control pests simply by manipulation of the environment or implementation of preventive practices. This may include things like using plants that are pest-resistant, raising the mowing height of your lawn, and dethatching to remove food sources from pests.
Cultural Pest Control includes most of the best practices that are used by farmers and gardeners on a regular basis. These practices have been around for generations, and for good reason. A strong foundation in these controls is the first step to managing your pest population. Anything you can do to make the environment less favorable to pests is part of Cultural Pest Control. Some of the most common practices for this method include the following:
On a rotating basis, crops that are susceptible to pests are replaced with one that is not. For example, corn larvae can be starved out by rotating a corn crop with something else like soybeans or oats.
Simply cleaning your equipment regularly can cut down on pests. This may include a thorough cleaning of farm equipment or a simple spray down of your spade and shovel after gardening.
This involves creating a trap for insects and bugs by planning to plant a crop knowing it will attract the pests, and then when the plant is destroyed, the insects go with it.
Chemical Pest Control
In the 18th and 19th centuries, farmers found certain plants were toxic to insects or rodents—plants such as chrysanthemums or tobacco. They would grow these plants, create a “soup”, and apply it directly to the crops or the pests. Chemists later discovered that they could extract the toxic compounds from these poisonous plants and apply the compounds as liquid sprays. Thus, the beginning of pesticides.
Today’s chemical market is vast. Sometimes they can be created from natural products, while other times they may be completely synthetic. The most common type of Chemical Pest Control is using pesticides. These range from a can of in-home ant spray to large-scale commercial pesticide applications.
Pesticides are often used both indoors and outdoors to treat pest problems big and small. Three most popular forms of large-scale Chemical Pest Control include the following:
Fumigation uses a highly toxic gas to target specific insects. This is common in food processing plants that may have a pest problem. It can only be used in an enclosed and airtight space.
This is a common chemical method for crawling pests like rats, mice, ants, and cockroaches. Baits vary based on the targeted pest, but the same method is used for all.
A fogging machine creates a fog of insecticide and a carrier agent to reduce flying insects. This is especially effective for mosquitoes. Thermal fogging can also be used, in which only hot water is used. Fogging can be used in an open environment and is less toxic than fumigation techniques.
Electronic Pest Control
Today, pest control is more advanced than ever before. Electronic Pest Control targets the nervous system of mice, ants, and other species. Without the use of chemicals or pesticides, these electronic pest control options may completely eliminate small pests. For larger pests, electronic options aren’t powerful enough to be fatal but may be an effective repellent.
Which Type of Pest Control Is Right For You?
Deciding which type of pest control is best for you and your Lexington, Kentucky home or business depends on your specific needs and the size of your problem. Some methods are geared more towards large commercial jobs and some can be used for small, residential pest management.
The best way to decide what method will be most effective is to consult with a professional. Pest Control Pros will examine your unique situation and work with you to find the best pest control method that will eliminate your pest problem.
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